Tag Archives: Fidel Castro

Arlen Specter was his own man

14 Oct

Arlen Specter, who died today, was an intelligent, courageous creature.  What I liked most about him was he spoke his mind. He refused to be one of those pre-programed politicians.

If you are a United States senator, as was Spector, you are supposed to hate – among many things – Fidel Castro. The dictator came up in a conversation I once had with the senator. I was a journalist and he was running for re-election.

“I liked Castro,” he told me. “I had dinner with him in Cuba and we talked all night. He’s a very interesting man. I asked him if he killed Kennedy and he said, ‘I’m many things, but I’m not crazy.’ ”

In America, we tend to paint our enemies as monsters and psychopaths. No one dares entertain the idea – except Specter – that such people often gain power through personality and charisma.

Years ago, I attended a Republican rally at a swank hotel in Philadelphia. A major national candidate was to appear (It might have been Ronald Reagan). This was right before the primary election and the endorsed Republican candidates for high Pennsylvania offices were given seats on the stage. Specter was not endorsed and was without a place of honor. It fazed him not. He took a chair from the hotel ballroom, put it on stage and sat down with the endorsed candidates.

Later, he won the election.

You know a man like that votes his mind and thinks for himself.

There are too few left like Specter.

By Lanny Morgnanesi

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