Skip to comments.Specter: Profile in Hypocrisy: Flip Flopping Specter now favors choice cut
Posted on 10/24/2003 11:45:36 AM PDT by GeneralHavoc
When I called Sen. Arlen Specter's office to get his most recent position on school choice legislation proposed to help thousands of Washington D.C.'c poorest children escape that citiy's worst public schools, I was quickly corrected. I asked about "school choice".
"You mean 'vouchers'", said one of Specter's press officers.
I say tomato, they say tomotto, and they want to call the whole thing off.
A few years ago, when Bill Clinton was president and vowed to veto any legislation to fund school choice for D.C. school chilcren, Sen. Specter was only too happy to vote for the D.C. voucher program.
Now, that George Bush is president and is eager to sign such legislation, Sen. Specter has changed his mind. Why?
His office e-mailed me a statement.
"The voucher issue is one where I believe there are very serious constitutional considerations. Where the program has openings for the curriculum to teach religious subjects and when hiring is based upon religious affiliation, I believe that is clearly violative of church and state. There is a Supreme Court decision, 5-4, coming out of Ohio not too long ago but, I do not believe that the D.C. voucher will pass constitutional muster and that is why I have opposed it."
This is an odd argument for him to make. If Sen. Specter has real constitutional concerns about the legislation why didn't he have them back in 1997? That was long before the Supreme Court ruled definitively on the matter - in favor of vouchers. Now that the court has formally declared vouchers constitutional, Sen. Specter has doubts?
Well, it has always been said that Sen. Specter marches to the beat of his own drummer. But some critics have pointed out Specter's percussion man is awfully good at banging the skins while holding up a finger. How else could he know which way the political winds are blowing?
On the voucher issue, Specter has been utterly craven. He votes for it when he knows it can't become law, and against it when it will. Why? Maybe because he doesn't want to incur the wrath of the teachers' unions.
Sen. Specter is running for re-election next year and is facing a primary challenge from conservative Congressman Pat Toomey. He is betting that his vote against vouchers for D.C.'s poorest children won't hurt him much with suburban voters in a Pennsylvania Republican primary. And it probably won't. Then, in the general election, no Democrat will be able to to the left of him on the issue. It is perfect political strategy and it may turn out to be as effective as it is unprincipled.
Former Delaware Governor Pete Du Pont recently pointed out, "Of all the children attending public schools in America, none need more help than children in Washington."
Which is why the head of the D.C. school board and Mayor Anthony Williams, both Democrats, are strongly in favor of the proposed program, along with a strong majority of D.C. voters. It takes some guts for national Democrats to support school choice programs like this one because of their dependence on teachers' union donations.
But senators Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., and Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., have broken ranks with their party to support the D.C. program. West Virginia's Robert Byrd and Georgia's Zell Miller joined them. However, Sen. Ted Kennedy is threatening to filibuster the legislation, possibly with the help of Sen. Specter.
The hypocrisy of politicians who refuse to support school choice programs is now legendary.
Members of congress choose private schools for their own children at four times the rate of regular Americans. Public school teachers whose members fight every voucher program that comes down the pike, are more than twice as likely to send their own children to private schools.
When Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana) why she too had flip-flopped her vote on vouchers she said the $7,500 would not be enough for anyone to go to the wonderful school (Georgetown Day) she sends her own child to. Her explanation did not go down well with the young black girl who asked her the question or the girl's mother, who happens to know that there are a lot of decent private schools in D.C. she could afford if she had that voucher.
Sen. Specter, who sent his own children to private school, has been smart enough to avoid such questions. Instead, he hangs his newfound opposition on a phony constitutional concern.
I say if Arlen Specter thought it would get him re-elected, he would find the "Emancipation Proclamation" constitutionally suspect. And don't tell me that is an unfair analogy.
What we have here are a lot of black parents whose children are trapped in failed and failing schools. They are asking Congress for a little help. They are asking to be set free.
And what does Simon Legree Specter say?
He says, "No!"
Arlen Specter is in line to become the next chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee!
They did already. 1996 and 2002.
What a dimwitted, elitist, coonass bitch she is. Did Landru really say that to a young black girl or her mother????? So she is a pure racist, dimwitted, elitist coonass bitch, as it were.
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