Re-Rat Awards to Senators Gregg, Specter

Re-Rat Awards to Senators Gregg, Specter

Gregg
Gregg

In Finest Hour 142, Spring 2009, I proud­ly pre­sent­ed the Churchill Re-Rat Award (issued infre­quent­ly) to Sen­a­tor Judd Gregg (R.-NH), who accept­ed nom­i­na­tion as Pres­i­dent Obama’s Sec­re­tary of Com­merce but then with­drew, say­ing he could not bal­ance “being in the Cab­i­net ver­sus myself as an indi­vid­ual doing my job.” Gregg’s nom­i­na­tion had sewn fear among con­ser­v­a­tives who learned that NH’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic Gov­er­nor, John Lynch, would appoint a lib­er­al Repub­li­can in his place. 

On 26 Jan­u­ary 1941 Win­ston Churchill, who had desert­ed the Con­ser­v­a­tive Par­ty for the Lib­er­als in 1904 but oozed back into the Con­ser­v­a­tive Par­ty in 1925 (after being appoint­ed Chan­cel­lor of the Exche­quer the pre­vi­ous year by Con­ser­v­a­tive Prime Min­is­ter Stan­ley Bald­win) remarked to his pri­vate sec­re­tary John Colville: “Any­one can rat, but it takes a cer­tain amount of inge­nu­ity to re-rat.”  He was pre­scient. Re-Rat­ting is a lost art.

Specter
Specter

But not com­plete­ly! Just a few weeks after Gregg, Sen­a­tor Arlen Specter (D.-Pa.) Re-Rat­ted when he switched from the Repub­li­cans to the Democ­rats dur­ing the week of 27 April. Specter, a reg­is­tered Demo­c­rat, had been Philadel­phia Assis­tant Dis­trict Attor­ney under Dis­trict Attor­ney James Crum­lish, but in 1965 he ran and won against Crum­lish, and sub­se­quent­ly Rat­ted by chang­ing his reg­is­tra­tion to Repub­li­can.

laughin1We must now com­mis­sion two copies of the Churchill Re-Rat Award, whose design we are still pon­der­ing. We are inclined to think it should take the shape of the “Fly­ing Fick­le Fin­ger of Fate,” for­mer­ly dis­pensed by the Rowan and Mar­tin TV show “Laugh-In.”

We hope that the fine art of Re-Rat­ting will now wit­ness a revival. Every politi­cian who is think­ing that he no longer agrees with his par­ty should Rat, or bet­ter yet Re-Rat. This will pro­duce a his­toric realign­ment of the par­ties, and per­haps even new Lib­er­al and Con­ser­v­a­tive Par­ties, which will bet­ter define the two very oppo­site philoso­phies and approach­es on issues of the day. Then we can get down to the busi­ness of argu­ing both sides of the debate instead of obfus­cat­ing, dodg­ing and weav­ing in order to toe some imag­ined or semi-offi­cial par­ty line.

As Churchill, who always put prin­ci­ple before par­ty, remarked ear­ly on: “The alter­na­tion of Par­ties in pow­er, like the rota­tion of crops, has ben­e­fi­cial results.” (Churchill by Him­self, House of Com­mons, 25 June 1907, page 110.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *