Specter Fun Factoids

--Once the defeat of Norm Coleman is official, the Republican Party will be without a Jewish US Senator for the first time in a half-century. (There haven't been many, but the ones who get there -- like Jacob Javits, and of course Specter, seem to stay a long time.) I guess if you keep insisting it's a Christian Nation, my people start to look for other options. To be fair, the 40 GOP Senators are a fairly diverse group, religiously: 9 Presbyterians, 9 Roman Catholics, 7 Baptists, 5 Methodists, 3 Mormons, 2 Episcopalians, and five other various Christian strains, by my count. There remains a single Jewish Republican in the House: the ubiquitous Eric Cantor of Virginia.

--At 79, Specter was the oldest GOP Senator -- but is now merely the fifth oldest Democrat. The Dems also take the lead in Senators over 70, by a 13-12 margin. The new oldest GOP Senator is Kentucky's Jim Bunning who, coincidentally, is also heading for near-certain defeat in his 2010 re-election, prompting a primary challenge and attempts by the Republican leadership to get rid of the old coot. Don't worry, no chance of Bunning becoming a Democrat.

--In my opinion, the single greatest thing in Specter's long, strange career was at the end of the Clinton impeachment saga, when he cast a vote of "not proven," a term from Scottish law with no meaning or legitimacy in the US Senate. It was like in the Monty Python sketch, when the overbearing executive is demanding a response from his terrified employee, who knows there is no answer that won't get him fired... so in a panic he says: "splunge!" To me, Specter's last-minute "splunge!" vote was the seminal, douchebaggy, cowardly, nonsensical, theater-of-the-absurd moment of the entire douchebaggy, cowardly, nonsensical, theater-of-the-absurd impeachment, and I've always appreciated Specter for providing that.


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