Outside of Specter’s family, no one in America is sad to see him gone 

Remember when President Obama assured nervous Democrats that “the big difference here and in ‘94 was you’ve got me”? Oops. In the last few months Obama worked to get four high-profile Democrats elected: Creigh Deeds, Jon Corzine, Martha Coakley, and Arlen Specter. Each of them lost, by an average of 8.5 points.

And while we’re on the topic of Arlen Specter, let’s take a stroll down memory lane so as to really savor the moment. Specter was one of those rare birds in politics: a successful elected official who no one actually liked.

Voters certainly never gushed over him. In his five general election victories, Specter took over 56 percent of the vote only once — even in years where he was virtually unopposed.

Even his staff hated him. Several years ago the now-defunct George magazine did a feature on Washington’s worst bosses. Specter was high on the list. Some highlights:

* One office rule was “Never, ever hang up the phone before the boss does.” George reported that Specter took this maxim so seriously that he “called staffers back to berate them for getting off the line first.”

* One former staffer referred to Specter’s office as “white-collar boot camp.”

* When Specter’s apartment was being painted, no one on staff would volunteer to put him up for the night.

* Staffers called Specter “Mr. Burns” behind his back.

Outside of Specter’s family, there’s probably no one in America this morning who is sad to see him go.

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Jonathan V. Last

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