CHUCK MUTH'S NEWS & VIEWS

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Chuck Muth is President and CEO of Citizen Outreach and a professional political consultant. Mr. Muth is a professional campaign trainer, a newsletter publisher and talk-show host who regularly appears on political TV and radio programs.

Monday

Brushfire Alert, 11/8/04


BORKING SPECTER UPDATE

The heat is on. I mean, REALLY on.

Although originally thought to be highly unlikely, the possibility that someone other than Sen. Arlen Specter will be tapped to Chair the Judiciary Committee in the next Congress improved dramatically over the weekend. Sen. Specter has been getting pounded by conservatives relentlessly since last Wednesday when he “warned” President Bush not to send up conservative judicial nominees to “his” committee for confirmation.

Conservatives were outraged...and have been saying so, LOUDLY, ever since. Efforts by a number of conservative organizations of every stripe from coast-to-coast have sprung up to block the man who was so instrumental in blocking Reagan judicial appointee Robert Bork back in the 80’s. One excellent website dedicated solely to defeating Sen. Specter on this sprung up practically overnight. GREAT information with ongoing updates. Check it out at: http://www.notspecter.com


And indeed, some 2,000 News & Views readers have already signed our online petition to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist urging him to “bork” Specter and block him from assuming the chairmanship since posting it Sunday morning. If you haven’t signed our “Bork Senator Specter” petition yet, just go to: http://www.chuckmuth.com/petition


While the heat is currently on Majority Leader Frist, Sen. Specter is certainly feeling it, as well. He did the Sunday morning talk-show circuit yesterday in a serious damage-control effort. Of course, he maintains his warning was taken out of context, he has no litmus test, he’ll cooperate with the White House, blah, blah, blah. Pretty standard remove-foot-from-mouth rhetoric.

As part of Sen. Specter’s butt-saving “spin,” his supporters have latched onto a statement made by Bush senior adviser Karl Rove on the brewing brouhaha, claiming the senator has the support and backing of the White House. “Senator Specter is a man of his word,” said Rove on Fox News Sunday, “and we’ll take him at his word if he becomes chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.”

Contrary to the Specter spin, that is decidedly NOT an endorsement of Specter for the position. The key word in Rove’s statement is “if.”

Of COURSE the White House will try to work with Sen. Specter *if* he gets the chairmanship. What other choice would they have? But by saying “if” Sen. Specter becomes chairman, not "when," Rove was clearly indicating that there’s some doubt about that outcome at the moment. Again, this was decidedly NOT an endorsement of Sen. Specter by the White House for the chairmanship slot.

Now, a little warning here. Sen. Specter isn’t called “Snarlin’ Arlen” for nuthin. He’s known to be a vindictive, cantankerous individual...and you can bet he won’t forget that conservatives tried to derail his ambition. If you think he was hostile to conservatives before...HOO-HAA!...you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Which is why conservatives can’t afford anything less than an all-out, full-court press on this one. As the old saying goes, “If you’re gonna kill the king, kill the king,” ‘cause payback’s a…

That being said, there’s another truism in politics: You can’t beat somebody with nobody. So who would be the alternative to Sen. Specter?

Initial speculation centered on Sen. Charles Grassley. Grassley actually has more seniority than Sen. Specter and could take the seat if he so chose. The problem is, Sen. Grassley is already Chairman of the Finance Committee. And the Finance Committee is a very powerful and influential money committee. Sen. Grassley would have to give up Finance to take Judiciary. It ain’t gonna happen.

So the task of challenging Sen. Specter falls on the shoulders of the next most senior Republican on the committee, Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona. And if Sen. Kyl opts not to challenge Sen. Specter...Sen. Specter is going to get his coveted chairmanship.

A little about Sen. Kyl. He was elected to the senate in the Class of 1994 after serving four terms in the House. He currently is a member of the Judiciary Committee and chairs the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology, and Homeland Security. He also heads up the Republican Policy Committee.

Indeed, one of the recent policy papers issued by the RPC under his leadership is a defense of “court-stripping,” the constitutional process where Congress can tell activist federal judges they can’t rule on certain matters, such as taking the words “under God” out of the Pledge of Allegiance. (By the way, you can read this policy statement by going to: http://rpc.senate.gov/_files/Sept2804CourtStrippingSD.pdf
)

Sen. Kyl’s Lifetime ACU conservative rating is a rock solid 97 out of 100.

Sen. Specter’s Lifetime ACU conservative rating is a miserable 43.

Sen. Kyl is the “right” man for the job. But he’s not going to challenge Sen. Specter for the Judiciary Committee chairmanship without being persuasively urged to do so by conservative grassroots activists. If Sen. Kyl doesn’t run for the position, Sen. Specter is going to get it. And Sen. Kyl isn’t going to run for the position unless he hears from YOU...and FAST.

BRUSHFIRE ALERT: In for a penny, in for a pound. Conservatives already started down this path by putting Sen. Specter’s ascendancy to the throne in doubt over the weekend. Now we need to finish the job by persuading Sen. Kyl to run as the conservative alternative. And after that, to persuade your own GOP senators to vote for Sen. Kyl.

Time is of the essence here, folks. So PLEASE take a moment RIGHT NOW to contact Sen. Kyl’s office with a simple request: Challenge Senator Specter. Trust me, that’s all you need to say. They’ll KNOW exactly what you’re talking about.

You can call Sen. Kyl’s office in Washington at (202) 224-4521. Let it ring; they’re getting swamped. I just called myself and was told they’ve already received over a thousand calls this morning and they ARE keeping a tally.

Seriously folks, this is a HUGE thing we’re asking Sen. Kyl to do. Bucking the Senate seniority system like this, while certainly not unprecedented, is usually reserved for very special circumstances. This IS such a special circumstance. So Sen. Kyl will need to know he has our enthusiastic and unqualified support. He needs thousands of more conservatives to call and urge him to save us, and the nation, from “Snarlin’ Arlen.”

Or you can send him an email by using Sen. Kyl's web form found at: http://kyl.senate.gov/contact.cfm
. Just a short message, maybe along the lines of, “Run, Senator, run. We’re with you!”

Actually...do both.

And of course, send this to everyone else in your address book. This is going to be a tough one, folks...but not impossible. Turn up the HEAT!

Chuck Muth
www.chuckmuth.com

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