Why is Arlen Specter jetting around on the taxpayers’ dime?

(Welcome, Best of the Web readers!  James Taranto is correct that nobody’s asking this question, and my readers are correct that Specter’s doing this “because he can,” but it still drives me nuts that, as a taxpayer, I’m funding this old duck’s last political hurrah.)

We all know who Arlen Specter is.  He’s a career Senator (30 years!), who started out as a Republican.  In 2009, however, because of overwhelming RINO tendencies, plus the imminent risk of losing his — and believe me, he thought of it as “his” — seat, Specter switched to the Democratic Party.

Specter’s gamble failed spectacularly.  Not only did he manage to end his career looking like a rank opportunist, he lost the Democratic primary too.  This year marks the end of Specter’s career.  He’s not a lame duck, he’s a dead duck, who isn’t even going to be on the ballot in November.

Apparently ducks, even dead ducks, can fly.  And fly.  And fly.  How else does one explain the fact that, in a week, Specter, using a combination of commercial and military aircraft, is jetting to a variety of colorful destinations.  Starting in Newark, he heads for London, Vienna, Tel Aviv, Damascus, Cairo, Paris and Philadelphia:

I confess that I am confused.  I’m simply unable to come up with a logical explanation for why a dead duck Senator would need to use “Milair” to travel to locations both scenic and, when it comes to the Middle East, politically sensitive.

If you understand Specter’s frenetic travel schedule, and if you know why American taxpayers are funding some part of it (no matter how small), please let me know.  I’ve searched Specter’s home page for information about the upcoming trip, but cannot find anything.

The one thing I know with certainty, however, is Specter’s new theme song:

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  • Danny Lemieux

    Speaking of Arlen Spectre (no, that’s not misspelled), does it bring to mind that traveling dwarf featured in that delightful French movie The Fabulous Destiny of Amelie Poulain?  Yup! It’s probably Nancy Pelosi’s that’s receiving the “wish you were here” cards.

  • Spartacus

    For a little extra spending cash, I sometimes like to moonlight as the Devil’s advocate.  (Rulebreaker that he is, he lets me practice without a license.)
    Exceptionally flawed human being though he may be, Arlen is still an elected US Senator until January, and enjoys all the priviledges thereof.  Wasteful though it may be of USAF resources, it is an utterly insignificant cost in the grand scheme of the overall budget.  And although those of us who generally pay more attention to politics, history, current events, and the personalities therein may reasonably assume that in these travels, he is up to no good, this is too long an argument to make to the average bloke for the paltry political points to be scored.  In legal complaints and in formal, structured debate tournaments, it is productive to throw in all arguments great and small; in politics, the first appearance of a small argument is often interpreted to mean that the arguing side is running low on substance.
    I am not, Mrs. Bookworm, suggesting that you are suggesting that this little gem is the key to a Republican sweep of the 2010 elections or any such thing, but as a poor, country pedant, I subsist on a diet of peas and caveats, so I hope you will forgive my foraging.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    The rich get richer and the poor get poorer, as they say. They just didn’t mention that they were going to be the rich and you were going to be the poor.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    I heard from social groups that it wasn’t Arlen Specter, but Arlene Sphincter, the new porn actress. Perhaps hat is the Good Senator’s second career and mid life crisis all rolled into one?

  • http://ruminationsroom.wordpress.com Don Quixote

    Because he can.


    Arlen ‘Maxwell House’ Specter – good to the last drop …. of money.

  • suek

    Heh.  DQ…that was my first response as well.
    And Sadie…love it!  Sometimes those old ad lines just _fit_, don’t they!

  • Jose

    “Because he can” – also my first thought.

    Or maybe because the USAF doesn’t require body scans.  Those are for the rest of us.

  • Zhombre

    Because later he can’t. Last hurrah for the fossil.  Frankly, I’d like to see Specter mummified and stored in the bowels of the Smithsonian.

  • Tonestaple

    I keep thinking I remember something I read somewhere (and no, I can’t make that any more vague) about Congressional pay being exempt from taxes if the member is out of the country for a certain period of time.  Or maybe it was a per diem applying if they were out of the country for some number of days, and how lucrative that was.  I think maybe Mr. Spectre is taking last-minute advantage of some rule here.

  • flamingomama

    As an ex Washingtonian I ask why is Norm Dicks (Washington Rep, D) spending so much time down in Southern California?  I guess he thinks his seat (too many terms to count) is safe if he continues to pander to the defense contractor votes and money.

  • Gringo

    I guessed wrong on the Sinatra song. I was thinking of “Fly Me to the Moon.”
    Come to think of it, I would pay for a one way ticket to the moon for Spector and a whole bunch of pols. Sell it as a trip for political information. The junket trip to end all junket trips.