"Born On The First of April"--A Film By Oliver Stone
JIM “GATEMOUTH” GARRISON (played by his look-a-like, Kevin Costner): A career speaks a thousand words. Yet sometimes the truth is too simple for some... Arlen Specter thinks he had an open and shut case: a career built on a stubborn dedication to principle over party - but in reality, it is a case of dedication to the principal over party and principles. But, something happened that made that case virtually impossible to prove: the actual trajectory of Specter’s career. The time frame of 45 years since Specter entered politics leaves no possibility of some higher set of values. We are expected to believe that Arlen Specter’s life in politics is like a single bullet which accounts for all the phases of his career. Rather than admit to evidence of this inconsistency, or investigate further, the Press chooses to endorse the theory put forth by an ambitious junior counsellor, turned jaded elderly Senator, Arlen Specter. One of the grossest lies ever forced on the American people, we've come to know it as the "Magic Bullet" theory.
The Magic Bullet called young Arlen Specter had Democratic politics and a legal resume so impressive that Bobby Kennedy asked him to work in the Justice Department on his own pet project, the Jimmy Hoffa investigation, but Specter demurred saying he "wanted to get to Washington on my own steam…not as someone’s bureaucrat." Eventually becoming a top assistant to the Philadelphia DA, the Magic Bullet took a detour to go to Washington as someone else’s bureaucrat, creating from whole cloth the Warren Report’s “Single Bullet Theory” of the JFK assassination.
Returning to the land of cream cheese and cheese steaks, in 1965 the Magic Bullet sought to enter local politics on his own steam, but found the local Democratic Machine had no room for him. He then entered it through a wound he thrust into his former mentor’s back, heading downward at an angle of 17 degrees and becoming a Republican. He then moves upward in order to enter the DA’s Office - where, stopping in mid-air, he waited 1.6 seconds, turned left and ran for Mayor as a Lindsay Republican against a right wing machine Democrat, only to be defeated; wound number one. The Magic Bullet then spun 180 degrees making peace with the machine he'd opposed as a matter of principle. Then, the Magic Bullet headed downward at an angle of 27 degrees, losing his 1973 re-election shattering his career; wound number two. Undaunted, the Magic Bullet heads progressively rightward, and sustain wounds three and four, losing successive Republican Primaries for US Senate and Governor, continuing downward. In 1980, the Magic Bullet is miraculously found in almost "pristine" condition on a stretcher, winning a Republican Primary and general election for US Senate in the year of Reagan.
This is the key shot. Watch it again and again. For thirty years, the Senator faces a potential Republican Primary, and is going back to his right. Then he faces a potentially strong Democrat in the general…back and to the left. Primary, back and to the right; general, back and to the left. Back and to the right; back and to the left. Sink Robert Bork, savage Anita Hill; co-sponsor card check, torpedo it; back the stimulus, oppose the budget... Totally inconsistent, again - ... back and to the left. ... back and to the right... back and to the left. And now, as in 1965, the Magic Bullet finds himself in a party with no room for his ambitions, and decides it is time for another gesture of principal.
That's some bullet. Anyone who's been in combat can tell you never in the history of gunfire has there been a bullet like this. Yet the Press says it can prove that Arlen Specter is a thoughtful man of principle. Of course they can. The New York Times can prove an elephant can hang from a cliff with it's tail tied to a daisy, but use your eyes - your common sense - liberal, moderate, conservative, libertarian, reformer, hack purveyor of pork And once you conclude the Magic Bullet cannot be all of these personae, you have to conclude that it cannot be any of them.
"Treason doth never prosper," wrote an English poet, "What's the reason? For if it prosper, none dare call it treason."
From Kennedy Dem to Lindsay Republican to Ford Republican to Reagan Republican to Lieberman Republican to Lieberman Democrat---Arlen Specter is the living embodiment of that crazy bouncing single bullet for which he takes pride of authorship (there being no prosecutorial version of “Alan Smithee“).
On the other hand, Specter’s switch sends such a devastating message about narrow, Post-Brazilian waxed landing strip which comprises today’s Republican Party‘s political pup-tent. No room for liberals, I can understand, but no room for opportunists? This is truly a party without a future. The Message is that the Republican Party can not tolerate those willing to do whatever is necessary to keep the voters on their side--that their principles are to narrow for the vast majority of the American public.
This is a message we should be happy to embrace.
As such, though Arlen Specter is a slug, we are bound to embrace the messenger, warts and all. To not do so will be sending the American public a message quite similar to the diss they are getting from the Republicans.
Those on the left need not worry, Arlen Specter will do whatever is necessary to attain the nomination of his once and future party, and within a few months will have a record to the left of at least a dozen or more members of his new party’s conference.
If this be treason, let us make the most of it.
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