Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania was the kind of politician who did what was in his heart. Love him or hate him (and a lot of people did both), one has to admire the way he lived his convictions. He died Sunday at the age of 82.
Specter is famous for his vehement participation in many Senate legal battles, like Supreme Court nominations and the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. In 2010, the Republican lost his seat after becoming a Democrat, a move that made many furious, but also impressed those who loved him. No one can say it wasn't a move from the heart.
Sadly, he is dead. But his legacy lives on. Here are 10 of Arlen Specter's best quotes:
More from The Stir: Bill Clinton's Brilliant Convention Speech: 9 Quotes to Remember (VIDEO)
- "If you are going to have to play defense all the time, you cannot have the kind of ingenuity, assertiveness, independence, and intelligence which is what has made our country strong."
- "Voting is fundamental in our democracy. It has yielded enormous returns."
- "I must say I am not pleased to have to arrange the Senate schedule around the availability of Senators who are running for President."
- "Remember Popeye, who used to say, ‘I am what I am’? I don’t think anyone could dress me in different attire. I am what I am."
- "I wasn’t sent to Washington to play it safe. I have something to show for what I’ve done."
- "There will be questions about the assassination of President Kennedy for centuries. I’m not reticent about discussing the subject. I have inside knowledge. And being in public life, I have a duty to speak out."
- I have found myself increasingly at odds with the Republican philosophy and more in line with the philosophy of the Democratic Party.
- "President Bush's mantra is 'follow the law, don't make the law.' Well, if you're going to follow the law, you have a very strong doctrine of stare decisis to deal with on Roe v. Wade."
- "Politics is routinely described as the art of the possible or the art of compromise. When one party insists on ideological purity, compromise is thwarted, and the two-party system fails to function."
- "When the students are occupied, they're not juvenile delinquents. I believe that education is a capital investment."
Say what you want about the man, he was a strong leader and lived his truth. One has to respect that.
What did you think of Arlen Specter?
Image via iLoveMountains.org/Flickr