Crawl Before You Walk
Those of you watching this story probably know that Arlen Specter seems to have passed whatever hellish test his Senate GOP colleagues laid out for him before letting the Pennsylvanian ascend to the chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee. There's no way of knowing what abject acts of submission he had to perform to achieve this "victory," but his public statement's pretty sweeping. There are a goodly number of words in this statement, but they all add up to a public promise that Specter will do absolutely nothing to annoy or inconvenience the administration or the Republican Right on any subject whatsoever, whether it's judges or constitutional amendments or tort reform.
Specter said one particular thing that will seem especially perverse to anyone to the left of Jimmy Dean Sausage: "I have long objected to the tactic used in bottling up civil rights legislation in the Judiciary Committee when it should have gone to the floor for an up-or-down vote. Accordingly I would not support committee action to bottle up legislation or a constitutional amendment, even one which I personally opposed, reserving my own position for the floor."
What he's talking about, of course, is a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages. It's just wonderful of him to analogize a constitutional amendment denying Americans rights to "civil rights legislation."
Let's all hope Specter really enjoys that chairmanship, now that he's stripped it of much of anything meaningful other than preserving the pleasure of browbeating witnesses hostile to the will of his new masters.