Rick Santorum supported Arlen Specter, the notorious Benedict Arnold of the Republican party, over Pat Toomey in the 2004 Pennsylvania Senate race. At the time of the race, Specter was still a Republican, although only in the loosest interpretation of the party’s ideology. And Pat Toomey is, and was, vastly more conservative. The Republicans were in danger of losing their Senate majority in the 2004 election. Santorum’s reasoning for supporting Specter over Toomey was Specter’s position as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Specter guaranteed to support any candidate for the Supreme Court that Republicans put forward. Keeping a conservative majority on the Supreme Court was crucial in the eyes of the Republicans at the time. Santorum has said that he does not believe staunch conservative Justice Samuel Alito would have been confirmed without the aid of Specter.
Whether you agree with Santorum’s reasoning or not, the accusation that ObamaCare was passed solely because of Arlen Specter’s vote, at the hands of Rick Santorum, is absurd. First of all, Congress is made up of 535 individuals. Arlen Specter is one person. The Senate passed the bill 60 votes to 39. Notice that’s more than a one vote majority. Arlen Specter did vote for the bill, as a member of the Democratic party. However, had he voted no, the vote would have been 59 to 40. The Yea vote count of 59 in this hypothetical situation is still 9 more votes than the 50 needed for a simple majority for the passage of the bill. In other words, the passing of ObamaCare in the Senate did not hinge on Arlen Specter’s Yea vote. Romney also seems to conveniently forget that there is another body of Congress that passed the bill 219 to 212. President Obama also had to sign the bill into law.
The point- the passing of ObamaCare did not hinge on the vote of one person. This is a gross oversimplification of the American political system. ObamaCare was the product of a massive collaboration of the Democratic machine. It was plugged by Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton and President Obama, just to name a few. Romney’s accusation that ObamaCare was passed solely because of Arlen Specter’s vote, and by extension, the endorsement of Rick Santorum is divisive party politics at his worst. The people of Pennsylvania voted for Arlen Specter. Specter is accountable to them. Not Rick Santorum. Specter does not vote based on the directions of Rick Santorum. Mitt Romney knows better than this. This kind of rhetoric is the calling card of the left, and if Romney expects to beat Obama in the election, he needs to present a clear distinction between the tactics of the left and the right. The American people deserve better than this.