Former Sen. Arlen Specter, who was defeated in his bid for a sixth term in the spring of 2010 shortly after switching parties, is reportedly finishing an autobiography — his third memoir — scheduled for release in late March.
Called “Life Among the Cannibals: A Political Career, a Tea Party Uprising, and the End of Governing as We Know It,” Specter’s deliciously-titled book is being co-authored by Charles Robbins, who also collaborated on the former Senator’s first memoir more than eleven years ago. Their latest book is being published by Thomas Dunne Books, a division of St. Martin’s Press.
In his final speech from the Senate floor last December, Specter, who turned 81 in February, had accused some GOP lawmakers of engaging in political “cannibalism” by supporting Tea Party-backed primary challengers against moderate and conservative Republicans such as Utah’s Bob Bennett and Rep. Mike Castle of Delaware.
Bennett, a three-term veteran of the U.S. Senate, finished third in the second round of balloting at the Republican state convention last year while Castle, who arguably would have been the GOP’s strongest candidate in the general election — some polls showed him defeating the Democratic nominee by more than 20 percentage points — lost his Senate primary in 2010 to controversial Tea Party-favorite Christine O’Donnell, who was soundly defeated by Democrat Chris Coons in November.
Accusing the Senate of crowding out centrists like himself — those who were willing to cross party lines on important issues — Specter said the once-august legislative body in which he had spent 30 years of his life had become too polarized and that civility was a thing of the past.
Specter was reviled by members of his own party for supporting President Obama’s $787 billion federal stimulus package in 2009.
“Collegiality can obviously not be maintained when negotiating with someone out to defeat you, especially in your own party,” lamented Specter in his valedictory address. “In some quarters, compromise has become a dirty word… Politics is no longer the art of the possible when senators are intransigent in their positions.”
Specter, who was particularly critical of the filibuster, particularly the absurd 60-vote requirement to cut off filibusters on judicial and executive branch nominees rather than a simple majority of 51 senators, essentially called the Senate dysfunctional in his final speech.
Specter — the longest-serving member of the U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania history — lost the Democratic primary in May of last year to Rep. Joe Sestak by 81,000 votes shortly after switching parties when it appeared that he couldn’t survive a Republican primary challenge from conservative Pat Toomey.