What to do with Specter, then, was explained to me by one of the committee's most politically astute Republicans, who asked that his name not be used: "We have to scare the hell out of Arlen before he gets to be chairman -- scare him so badly he will act properly as chairman."
Frist told Specter he must produce a written statement pledging his cooperation as chairman. What he wrote pledged only that judicial nominations would get out of his committee. That was not good enough, Frist told him Wednesday night. He would have to pledge support for Bush judges and declare himself open to a rules change blocking filibusters of judicial nominations. Specter must have been frightened. He wrote a new four-paragraph statement incorporating the majority leader's demands.
Even so, when Judiciary Committee Republicans assembled behind closed doors Thursday, two conservative Southerners still had their doubts about him: Sens. Jeff Sessions of Alabama and John Cornyn of Texas believe voters across the country on Nov. 2 voted for an end to the tactics that have blocked action in the Senate. Although he never mentions it, Sessions has to remember that Specter helped block his nomination to the appellate court before he ran for the Senate.
In the Thursday meeting, Specter convinced Sessions, Cornyn and everybody else that he meant what he said in his statement. The senator who had told me it was necessary to really scare Specter suddenly contracted amnesia about that tactic. There was no desire to embarrass a senior senator. But everybody will be watching carefully next year to see whether Arlen Specter was frightened sufficiently.
Director of Minnesota's Troubled Obamacare Exchange Resigns Following Tropical Vacation | Guy Benson