Sen. Arlen Specter Appeals To Utah Voters Using ‘Cannibals’ Rhetoric
Former Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter, in spite of his previous outburst while attempting to promote his book Life Among the Cannibals, continues going on television to promote his book, Life Among the Cannibals. And it keeps getting weirder.
On Saturday, he went on MSNBC to talk about Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch, a moderate Republican dinosaur who is being challenged in that state’s June 26 GOP primary.
Reminding all three Utah MSNBC viewers of the title of his book, Specter claimed of Hatch: “The cannibals function to cost the Republicans the senate seat in Colorado and Delaware and Nevada, almost in Alaska, and now Orrin Hatch is in jeopardy in Utah…I hope that people in Utah — and I know you have a big listening audience, viewing audience there, Melissa — will read this book and come out and vote to make sure that Orrin Hatch is not cannibalized.”
Specter might be pandering to the wrong crowd. And Hatch’s actions as of late suggest he may not want Specter’s help. According to Salon, “For the past two years, Hatch has embraced – or re-embraced – unrelenting and vitriolic partisan warfare, hurling insults at the White House and Democrats and catering to the conservative base’s siege mentality.”
Writer Steve Kornacki continues: “Hatch is up this year too and was in grave danger of losing his party’s support, but his transformation appears to have saved him; he won the Utah GOP convention by 18 points a few weeks ago.”
Since 2010, Hatch’s American Conservative Union score stands at 100 percent — up from 88 percent throughout his career.
Specter, then, might be a little late to this party. A closer human meal (though still flawed comparison) would have been Indiana Sen. Dick Lugar before that state’s primary earlier this month (Specter mentioned Lugar on Saturday). The Republican from Indiana recently lost after it was claimed he was “Obama’s favorite Republican” (he was). Like Specter, Lugar afterwards blamed the new wave of conservative, ideologically stubborn Republicans for his double-digit trounce at the polls. Lugar claimed that his opponent, Tea Party Republican Richard Mourdock, “has pledged his support to groups whose prime mission is to cleanse the Republican party of those who stray from orthodoxy as they see it.”
Which isn’t wrong. But nowhere did Lugar blame so-called “cannibals” within the party. Lugar was, in fact, backed by Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, a majority of Indiana mayors and most of the rest of the state’s GOP establishment. Like Specter’s mainstream (Democrat) endorsements in 2010, voters just didn’t take to any of that.
Specter’s blame of cannibals for Utah might be a more ideological meal. Hatch’s recent conservative turn shows a willingness to roll with the Tea Party punches and allow your soul to be eaten, rather than your career (Hatch has, since 2010, renounced his support of TARP and claimed he never supported a health care “individual mandate.”) And if he wins, it’ll be because he, unlike Specter, planned ahead for a backlash and didn’t panic in the face of a potential loss at the polls. Blame the cannibals if you want, but they’re just voters. And blaming the voter is no way to sell books.