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The case for Pat Toomey? Why, Arlen Specter, of course

| Sunday, April 19, 2009

Former Pennsylvania Congressman Pat Toomey almost inched out a victory against long-term Washington fixture and faux Republican Arlen Specter in 2004. It was one of the most expensive primary campaigns in U.S. history.

A mere 17,000 votes separated the two out of the 1 million votes cast. That was less than two percentage points.

And here comes the rematch. On Tax Day, Toomey, who just stepped down as president of The Club for Growth, formally announced he'll yet again attempt to unseat the Keystone State's senior U.S. senator.

Specter already is sweating. Just the hint of a Toomey run had Specter running negative campaign ads that skirted, if not outright distorted, the truth. One thing is crystal clear -- Arlen Specter is scared. And he should be.

Let's look at his voting record.

Specter consistently has voted for increased government spending and a liberal agenda on social, labor, immigration and national security policies. In just the past few months, Specter voted in favor of the unprecedented and outrageous Wall Street and auto company bailouts and the massive "stimulus" bill better characterized as "spendulus."

For three decades Specter has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from party political committees like the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the Republican National Committee. These organizations raise money from Republican donors across the country who give to ensure that candidates who will vote to protect and defend Republican principles in Congress are supported.

But Specter, in a repeated exercise of what can only be termed temerarious arrogance, has done just the opposite.

On the most serious and substantive issues of the day, he often has thumbed his nose at the GOP and voted with the Left.

Manic• Yes. A maverick• No.

Toomey, on the other hand, is the model of conservative consistency. He possesses a refreshing depth and common sense on fiscal issues. There isn't a wasteful bone in his body. It's indeed a rare trait on either side of the aisle these days.

Toomey doesn't require public opinion polls to tell him what to say or a focus group to tell him what to feel. A proponent of term limits, Toomey kept his promise to Pennsylvania voters and served only three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.

By virtue of that promise, he never was beholden to special interests or became "institutionalized" in the often spendthrift ways of Washington. The people were his first priority.

In stark contrast, Arlen Specter has drawn a salary from taxpayers for most of his adult life.

Pat Toomey is firmly grounded, reliable and smart -- a role model as a father and a man with a genuine conscience.Working for and among politicians for almost a decade (including Toomey), I've seen the best and the worst and Toomey is one of the good guys.

Specter might boast the support of the Washington establishment in this bout but let's not forget what direction that same crowd has taken the GOP. With Republicans defecting in droves to vote in the Democrats' 2008 presidential primary, the pool has been skimmed of its lukewarm constituency. The current crop of registered Pennsylvania Republicans leans more conservative. And that gives Toomey an advantage in a primary when many on the right are furious at the government's drastic leftward lurch.

As politicians continue to reward companies that have managed themselves poorly, people who have made bad decisions and executives who have abused power, it's time Pennsylvania elected a senator who will put an end to a wasteful Washington full of "leaders" who refuse to listen. They spend the public's money with abandon and rob us of our future by strapping us with crushing debt that will saddle generations to come.

Nobody wants to hear of people losing their jobs in these trying times. But when it comes to Arlen Specter, his political unemployment might just be the greatest boost Pennsylvania has seen in decades.

As the great orator and, yes, Democrat William Jennings Bryan reminded in a Washington speech 110 years ago, "Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved."

Pennsylvania Republicans can choose destiny and achieve a great thing by retiring Arlen Specter in the 2010 spring primary. They're looking for a real leader and Pat Toomey is the go-to guy.

Andrea Tantaros, a Fox News Channel contributor and GOP strategist, once served as Pat Toomey's deputy press secretary. A native of Allentown, Pa., she lives in New York City.

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