Say goodnight, Arlen. The Washington incumbency racket takes one on the chin today. Arlen Specter was the worst kind of centrist, one whose position on any given bill was determined almost exclusively by political expediency, whose every move was calculated to appeal to as many voters as possible. Specter was easily cowed by Bush into voting consistently with the hard right, and cowed by primary voters into voting consistently Democratic (for a time). If his erratic voting patterns had been the product of compromise, I would understand and perhaps even applaud, but I remember all attempts to compromise with Specter during the Bush years, and they always concluded with a quick visit from the president and a sullen looking Specter voting the party line. He was utterly without principle and without backbone, not even a centrist so much as a cipher.