What would you sell in order to have four more years in the White House? What would be the price you would pay in order to have your address be 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? How about compromise your core values and sell out a loyal follower? Most of us would say “no way” but it happened this month. In of all states, Pennsylvania.
In the past few weeks (that paid off this week), President Bush headed for Pennsylvania to campaign for Senator Arlen Specter. The senator was involved in a heated battle to retain the GOP nomination for the US Senate. His opponent was Rep. Pat Toomey, a staunch conservative that walks lock step with the President as if they were in the same pair of pants. Specter, on the other hand has been known to give the Republican President and GOP colleagues in the Senate the flying finger when he disagrees with them on an issue, which is often.
So what is the reason the Bush chose Specter over Toomey? I can only think of 21 reasons. The are called Electoral College votes. Pennsylvania has 21 of them and this fall, Bush is going to need every vote he can get. It works this way: Sen. Specter, 71 and running for a fifth term will be the odds on favorite to win re-election in a state that has gone for the Democrats the last three presidential elections. Rep. Joseph M. Hoeffel III is the Democratic nominee and probably will fall victim to the strength of Specter’s middle of the road positioning. Had Toomey defeated Specter, the general election would have looked different. Democrat Hoeffel could have run towards the moderate label that Specter has claimed for years and been elected by a strong base of Democrats and moderate Republicans. The Senate gets closer by one vote (51-48-1 now) and the president being yoked with the conservative Toomey in a moderate state spells K-E-R-R-Y-V-I-C-T-O-R-Y. Bush had a chance to be true to his beliefs - but chose not to. I don’t even want to go into Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) who also abandoned his beliefs to support his colleague Specter over principles as well.
But what it comes down to for me is that Bush has sold his conservative soul for another 4 years of the White House. Toomey is stabbed in the back for his loyalty to the President and W. has a little better chance to pick up 21 electoral votes because he is running with the moderate Specter as a teammate. But for the president, a guy who claims his soul was purchased by a higher power, he sold out his soul this week for a much lower price.