April 19, 2016
By Brian Rosenwald Sen. Pat Toomey has won plaudits for his moderation, and to some he might appear to be the latest in Pennsylvania's proud lineage of moderate Republicans senators. But in Toomey's case, the label belies his record. When assessed by Common Space DW-Nominate scores, a scholarly metric that places legislators' voting records along an axis - negative 1 being the farthest left and 1 the farthest right, though Common Space does not assign labels - Toomey amassed the most conservative voting record (.643)
April 12, 2016
Today's topic is political déjà vu. Pennsylvania is known for it. Same kind of stuff over and over. It even shows up in campaigns. Take our April 26 Democratic U.S. Senate primary, featuring Joe Sestak, Katie McGinty and John Fetterman. If you're following at all you might be thinking, hey, wait, this feels familiar. You're right. It's not a total match with a past campaign, and Fetterman is certainly something new, but there are similarities between this race and the 2010 Democratic Senate primary, which also featured and was won by one Joe Sestak.
August 12, 2014 |
The piece hung over the sofa in Arlen Specter's Capitol office: Framed replicas of the failed U.S. Senate resolution to impeach Bill Clinton, personally signed by all 100 senator/jurors, the House members who prosecuted the case, and members of Clinton's defense team. The meticulous U.S. senator was proud that he had created such a historically significant document, but something nagged at him: "There's one signature we don't have," he told his chief of staff, David Urban. Bill Clinton's.
January 29, 2014 |
THE CONTRAST in personalities between the two men seemed impassable. How could these guys get along, one might have been tempted to ask. There was Dan McKenna, the jovial, outgoing Irishman, and there was Arlen Specter, the longtime U.S. senator with a reserved demeanor, always careful with his public utterances. Dan was Specter's press aide for 14 years, and according to everybody who worked with them, their relationship was a mutual admiration society if there ever was one. "I think they balanced each other," said Susan Lamontagne, who also worked as a Specter press aide, much of the time with Dan. "Arlen really loved him. " In fact, it was obvious to everybody who came in contact with the two men that the contrasting personalities had a mutual benefit.
March 6, 2013 |
The voluminous archives of the late U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter are heading west. Philadelphia University, which has custody, has struck a deal with the University of Pittsburgh to process, preserve, and digitize significant portions of Specter's material, officials announced Monday. The job is huge. Imagine 2,700 boxes of papers, photographs, audio and video materials, and memorabilia. That's enough to fill 337 four-drawer filing cabinets, notes Michael Dabrishus, Pitt's assistant university librarian.
March 5, 2013 |
DESPITE HIS penchant for the Boston brogue, Ben Affleck apparently can do a wicked Philly accent. At least according to William Goldenberg , the Philly-born editor who took home an Oscar recently for his work on the best-picture-winning "Argo. " Goldenberg also was nominated for his work on "Zero Dark Thirty. " According to Goldenberg, Affleck does a spot-on impression of him. "He's a great mimic," Goldenberg said. After Goldenberg, a Northeast High and Temple alum, won his Academy Award, he told reporters that his experience working in his father's Philly deli helped to teach him the importance of keeping all of the plates spinning in his professional career.
February 26, 2013
ALLYSON SCHWARTZ used to be known as "Sen. Scarf. " This was during her days in the state Senate, where she served 14 years, and - as you likely figured out - almost always wore a scarf. These days, during her fifth term in Congress, she's wearing something else: a change of heart for a chance to make history. In November, even December, Schwartz seemed certain that she wouldn't challenge Tom Corbett for governor. Now she seems certain that she will. "It is my intention," she tells me, to give up her House seat and take on T.C. Why the change?
October 18, 2012 |
With a mere three weeks before the election, Joe Biden gave up campaigning in the battlegrounds of Colorado and Nevada Tuesday to remember his Senate Judiciary Committee and Amtrak pal, Arlen Specter. "I thought, 'What would Arlen do?' Arlen wouldn't have even thought about it. Arlen would have been there for me," the vice president told almost 1,500 mourners at Penn Valley's Har Zion Temple. Biden recalled how Specter continually pushed him. "I don't know why I did so much for Philadelphia.
October 17, 2012 |
I was thinking of Arlen Specter while watching this year's first presidential debate, reflecting on how rarely these gaffe-avoidance exercises actually change anyone's preconceptions. The most one-sided political debate I've ever seen was during Pennsylvania's Democratic primary for U.S. Senate in 2010. Specter, the longtime incumbent, simply demolished his challenger, that seasoned old salt Joe Sestak. Specter was by turns the folksy Arlen, recalling his reverence during his modest Kansas upbringing for Franklin D. Roosevelt, the inspiration for his public life - well, that and symbolically getting his father the bonus promised for his service in the First World War - and the "snarlin' Arlen" who would reach for the jugular of any opponent, whatever his or her age or gender.