Sen. Arlen Specter is scheduled to give his final floor speech this morning, and the Inky's Tom Fitzgerald got an early look at the 2,600-word tome, which he weaves into a fine career retrospective for Snarlin' Arlen:
Specter, 80, will deliver his final floor speech Tuesday morning, decrying a gridlocked Senate that has lost its political center and the sense of collegiality that once kept senators from campaigning against one another.
"Eating or defeating your own is a form of sophisticated cannibalism," Specter, a Democrat, plans to say, according to his prepared remarks, referring to conservative Republican senators - notably Jim DeMint of South Carolina - who helped tea-party insurgents fell three moderate incumbents in the 2010 primaries.
"Collegiality can obviously not be maintained when negotiating with someone out to defeat you, especially in your own party," Specter says in the 2,600-word speech, scheduled for 10:30 a.m. "In some quarters, compromising has become a dirty word. . . . Politics is no longer the art of the possible when senators are intransigent in their positions."
In some ways, Specter's journey over the last 20 months sums up the plight of the homeless centrist: He was all but forced out of the Republican Party and was embraced by the White House and other top Democrats, but could not survive his new party's primary.
The full piece is definitely worth a read, and check back late this morning for more on the speech.