Former Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter is perhaps most notable in the later years of his career for switching teams in a big way, crossing the aisle after 44 years as a Republican.
Specter has most recently been working as an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, but since he lost his 2010 re-election bid as a Dem in Pennsylvania, the longtime GOP party member and dedicated centrist has also penned a book about how Washington has changed in the twilight of his career.
Specter’s memoir is titled “Life Among the Cannibals: A Political Career, a Tea Party Uprising, and the End of Governing As We Know It,” and the longtime lawmaker pulls no punches in describing what he believes has gone wrong in inside the Beltway. After breaking ranks with Republicans over the healthcare debate and the Obama administration’s stimulus package, Specter faced intense scrutiny- and his new book details what he believes is a dangerous rise in “extremists” within both parties.
In Amazon’s description of “Life Among the Cannibals: A Political Career, a Tea Party Uprising, and the End of Governing As We Know It,” the book is described thusly:
“During a storied thirty-year career in the U.S. Senate, Arlen Specter rose to Judiciary Committee chairman, saved and defeated Supreme Court nominees, championed NIH funding, wrote watershed crime laws, always staying defiantly independent, “The Contrarian,” as Time magazine billed him in a package of the nation’s ten-best Senators. It all ended with one vote, for President Obama’s stimulus, when Specter broke with Republicans to provide the margin of victory to prevent another Depression.”
The blurb describes Specter’s eventual political downfall due to his commitment to voting with his brain instead of voting with his party:
“Shunned by the GOP faithful, Specter changed parties, giving Democrats a sixty-vote supermajority and throwing Washington into a tailspin. He kept charging, taking the first bursts of Tea Party fire at public meetings on Obama’s health care–reform plan. Undaunted, Specter cast the key vote for the health plan.”
If that sounds dry, Specter’s aisle-cross isn’t the only topic covered by the book. Have you ever wondered what Ted Kennedy looks like getting into the Senatorial jacuzzi? (How Roman.) Specter dishes the dirt on his fellow senators, and of sharing a gym with Kennedy, he quips:
“…when [people] groused about Senate perks, I’d reply, ‘You wouldn’t say that if you had to see Ted Kennedy naked in the gym.’It was in the whirlpool… in 2008… Ted Kennedy came over and climbed into the bath. Kennedy was one of the Senate’s giants, in many ways. It was as though a giant walrus had plunged into the sea, causing the level to swell.”
It’s not just the legislative branch that gets Specter’s gossip blog treatment- the former senator speaks of dining with Dick Cheney after the then-VP was recovering from one of his heart attacks:
“I worried when he ordered fried chicken, after just suffering his fourth heart attack. But he devoured the bird, even dropping a piece that left a stain on the white carpet.”
Arlen Specter’s “Life Among the Cannibals” hit stores earlier this week.