Friday, May 08, 2009

Specter's Cancer Charity Is Really A Fundraising Tool

If you've ever been personally affected by cancer, this story about Arlen Specter might make you sick. Now Specter is a two-time survivor of Hodgkins disease and yes, a great supporter of cancer research. However, his website "" is not exactly what you might think it is. Getting baseline funding for the NIH is a wonderful idea, but the website's motives are not made clear to those that visit it.

From TPM:

The idea is pretty simple. Specter is an advocate in the Senate for setting a $40 billion annual funding baseline for the National Institutes of Health--and if he's defeated at the polls, that bill will lose one of its most storied and influential sponsors. But if he wins, then the money raised by Specter for the Cure will, de facto, also support Specter's various other, eclectic legislative priorities.

But that's not how he sells it. According to the website, "Arlen Specter will seek re-election to the United States Senate. Without Arlen Specter back in the Senate to see it through, Specter for the Cure could be lost to the ordinary politics of Washington that kills real change." Some of the money he uses in that re-election bid will surely come from people who think they're giving to a cancer charity.

If Specter is defeated at the polls he will be replaced by a strong, progressively-minded Democratic challenger. Since there is no way that the right-wing Pat Toomey will win in a general election, Specter can only be tossed out by an actual Democrat. All we'd have to do is ask Joe Sestak or Joe Torsella about their views on cancer research and that would be that.