If I remember correctly — and that’s by no means guaranteed — preteen Brian thought they should lower the White House age requirement so he wouldn’t have to wait until the age of 35 to take office. In youth, impatient competitiveness ruled the day: I didn’t want to be JFK; I wanted to beat JFK. Around that time, Arlen Specter entered the discussion as “Guy who accepted that a single bullet felled a president when even history-book-reading kids couldn’t associate magical physics with Camelot’s end.”

Then came his badgering of Anita Hill in ’91. And his authorization of the Iraq War in ’02. Those three points came to comprise my intractable anti-Specter argument. So why do I find myself all pro-Specter this week? It’s not because of a party shift that can’t conceivably change a politician’s heart or mind. It comes down to two words: Michele Bachmann. And, four more: “Act like a lady.”

While on 1210-AM last week, Specter, D-East Falls, said those words to Glenn Beck’s heroine herself. They were entangled in a “debate” over the state of our union’s health care, one during which he apparently felt the representative from Jesse “The Body’s” Ventura’s state showed less courtesy than Ventura did in the ring. That sent the looming-re-election media-and-conservative pile-on into overload, screaming that the disrespectfully arrogant 80-year-old sexist has lost touch. Douse him with tea!

Politics have long been an exploit-the-weak-to-advance kind of game, and who knows — considering the Hill affair, a shrink might find Specter has an actual issue with powerful women. A lot of octogenarians do, and that may very well help Joe Sestak take Specter out in the primary or Pat Toomey in the general. But at the risk of stating the obvious, you fine readers don’t think it’s very ladylike for a Palin-ite to blindly gin up frustration and hatred while standing nobly behind an intangible “less government” platform and something called a “prosperity” bill, right? Didn’t think so.


If you don’t want to vote for Specter, fine, there are plenty of reasons not to. But do me a favor: Don’t let a fringe-movement prop bait you into throwing ballot-box rights away without a moment’s thought beyond “Arlen’s a demeaning lady hater.” Even I can admit that would be as equally bad an idea as electing me president before I understood algebra.

— Brian Hickey is a freelance journalist living in East Falls.

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