Brief of the Week February 2

Benedict ‘Arlen’ Rides Again: Conservatives in and out of Pennsylvania are still smarting over the back-flip by Sen. Arlen Specter (R.-Pa.) last week on the nomination of Eric Holder to be attorney general. After weeks of calling for a full probe by the Senate Judiciary Committee into controversies surrounding Holder, ranking Republican Specter announced on the eve of the panel’s vote that he would support the controversial nominee after all. (The former Clinton Administration official was finally confirmed by the committee late last week.). “This is very perplexing,” former Rep. Pat Toomey (R.-Pa.), Specter’s conservative primary opponent in 2004, told HUMAN EVENTS Political Editor John Gizzi on the day after the five-term senator’s vote. “He was asking all these important questions that deserved answers [Specter had raised the issue of Holder’s involvement in Bill Clinton’s last-minute pardons of expatriate swindler Marc Rich and others] and he got none. So he votes to confirm him.” Coupled with Specter being the only Republican Senator two years ago to vote for the “card-check” proposal to end the secret ballot in union elections, Toomey told Gizzi, “His latest behavior regarding Holder means that Specter should definitely face a primary challenge next year.” In ’04, Toomey mobilized conservatives and drew 48% of the GOP vote against Specter. The former congressman and current head of the conservative Club for Growth has already signaled he is exploring a bid for governor of Pennsylvania in 2010, when incumbent Democrat Ed Rendell must step down. But two other conservatives — former gubernatorial candidate Peg Luksik and businessman Frank Ryan — are reportedly eyeing a challenge to Specter, who turns 79 in February. 


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