Arlen Specter was forced to issue a four-paragraph "clarification" of his position (a document which was, in fact, a profound deep-sixing of his supposedly "moderate" principles) ... in order to get the backing of his fellow Republicans to become chair of the Senate's Judiciary Committee. (Story in this a.m.'s NYTimes.)
"It's a done deal," said that Grandee of the Right Wing, Orrin Hatch of Utah.
Aside from putting what's left of his testes in a blind trust, Specter significantly offered to side with those Republicans who plan to change the Senate rules to remove the last smidgen of influence left the 45 Democrats ... the filibuster. Specter said he thought there was "sufficient precedent" to change the rules to allow an override of a filibuster with 51 votes.
To complete the truly appalling spectacle of his own collapse as a moral agent, Specter lied. When asked by a reporter if he had been pressured into releasing the statement, he said, "I have not been pressured at all." The whinneying laugh of James Dobson could be heard all the way from Colorado.