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Thanks for the memories, Arlen

The conventional wisdom -- which is sometimes correct -- is that Arlen Specter lost the Democratic Senate nomination in Pennsylvania because he switched parties -- an act of opportunism exploited by his opponent Joe Sestak in a devasating TV ad.

But as someone who covered Specter  for 20 years  as an editorial writer in Pittsburgh, I can say with some authority that the switch-not-in-time was the culmination of a career of playing the angles.

If you're interested in a trip down memory lane, here's a column I wrote about Specter in 2007. The peg was Specter's advice to Sen. Larry Craig after Craig's men's-room embarrassment. (No, it wasn't "Switch parties," but "hang in there.") But I also traced the zigzagging that characterized Specter's fascinating time in public life.

-- Michael McGough



Comments () | Archives (3)

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Tim Bowman

All the more reason for this man to be retired. Arlen Specter is clearly a shameless opportunist whose only principle is how he looks at the moment.


And the dominoes will continue to fall.


Career politicians be gone!



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The Opinion L.A. blog is the work of Los Angeles Times Editorial Board membersNicholas Goldberg, Robert Greene, Carla Hall, Jon Healey, Sandra Hernandez, Karin Klein, Michael McGough, Jim Newton and Dan Turner. Columnists Patt Morrison and Doyle McManus also write for the blog, as do Letters editor Paul Thornton, copy chief Paul Whitefield and senior web producer Alexandra Le Tellier.

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