Published: PolicyMic (April 1, 2012)
When I first heard that Arlen Specter was going to hit the stand-up comedy circuit, I was pretty excited. If nothing else, such a decision from an ex-Senator shows cojones, a commodity that is in distressingly short supply among most of those associated with public life. Beyond that, Specter is in a valuable position to offer sharp commentary about how our government is run. After spending thirty years as one of the Senate’s leading moderates, as well as serving as District Attorney for Philadelphia and assistant counsel on the Warren Commission, his vast personal experience has given him an authority on politics and politicians that even his fiercest detractors can’t dispute. While it’s unlikely that this alone could have ever been enough to put him in the same league as today’s leading comic luminaries — it takes deep artistic skill to be a Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Trey Parker, or Matt Stone, to say nothing of joining the ranks of American satiric legends like Mark Twain, H. L. Mencken, Will Rogers, and Groucho Marx — it could have at least made his act a particularly insightful one.