Republican senators who support Sen. Arlen Specter’s bid to chair the Judiciary Committee could face retribution from disgruntled conservative and Christian voters, warned Dr. James Dobson in an interview Monday with HUMAN EVENTS.
Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family Action, a political group he organized to help re-elect President Bush, said Specter is frantically trying to save his spot atop the Judiciary Committee after suggesting Bush shouldn’t bother nominating pro-life judges.
Specter has since distanced himself from his November 3 comments, but the protests against him haven’t diminished. For the second straight weekend, he appeared on Sunday morning news programs trying to allay fears voiced by activists like Dobson.
“It may not be possible to derail Senator Specter,” Dobson conceded to HUMAN EVENTS, “but if they [Republican senators] don’t do that, I think it ought to be very clear that when the senator reneges on his promise to do the right thing, it’s going to be remembered.”
Republican senators on the Judiciary Committee are expected to meet with Specter this week, which will be followed by a secret vote taken in January to elect a chairman. Their offices have been inundated with phone calls protesting Specter’s possible promotion.
GOP-imposed term limits are forcing Sen. Orrin Hatch (R.-Utah) to step down as the committee’s chairman. Next in line is Sen. Chuck Grassley (R.-Iowa), who would rather lead the Finance Committee than Judiciary, leaving Specter with the most seniority.
“He’s been out there for the last week on every show that would invite him,” Dobson said of the Pennsylvania senator. “He’s been trying to save his chairmanship by bobbing and weaving and telling us that he didn’t mean what he said when he said what he meant.”
Dobson has used his radio program, which reaches 7 million listeners per week, to rail against Specter’s possible ascension. Other conservative and Christian interest groups are protesting as well, including a scheduled demonstration Tuesday at the office of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R.-Tenn.).
“We’re certainly going to do everything we can to let people know that Senator Specter not only threatens the court, but he is also the champion of stem-cell research and he is opposed to protection of marriage within the Constitution,” Dobson said. “This man is going to be in an extremely powerful position to oppose most of what President Bush was elected to do. That is irritating a large number of people.”
Dobson said Specter owes his victory to Bush, who chose to campaign with him instead of his more conservative Republican primary opponent, Rep. Pat Toomey. Specter narrowly beat Toomey by a little more than 17,000 votes in the April primary.
“He was very clear about what his intentions are,” Dobson said in reference to Specter’s November 3 remarks. “It’s not only the court, he stands in opposition to just about everything the President ran on in terms of the moral and social agenda. How arrogant is that?”