What Are YOU Smoking, Arlen?

Ancient Senator Arlen Specter was handily defeated the other day over yonder in Pennsylvania. Now, it was probably his stating that the reason that he switched from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party was so that he could be re-elected. I don't doubt that is what he thought. What I can't figure out is why he would be so freaking boneheaded as to actually come out and SAY that's what you were thinking? Does he not quite understand that it makes it sound like it's all about HIM? Apparently not. Because he said it and now he's done.

But I'm pretty sure that it was time for him to go anyway. Look, I don't have anything against people who are old. I don't have anything against people who are ancient. But I do have issues with people who are old and out of touch, but they try and convince you that they're not. Take ol' Robert Byrd. How is that guy still a senator? Seriously. My sources (which are far from trustworthy, as I make them up myself) tell me that Robert Byrd is somewhere around 147 years old and the last coherent thought that he had was midway through the Taft administration. Why do you folks in West Virginia continue to re-elect that man? Not to mention that he used to be a member of the Klan, the man is not fit for civic duty.

But back to Arlen Specter. According to TPM, Arlen Specter did an interview with Andrea Mitchell of MSNBC on May 18. (Side note: Is it just me or does Andrea Mitchell bear an odd resemblance to Barbara Walters? Maybe I wouldn't think it was so odd if they both weren't technically considered to be news reporters/anchors/whatever. Do you think that she's trying to look like that? I have a hard time believing that she naturally looks like that. I'm not implying plastic surgery (but you could make that leap if you wanted to), I'm just sayin'.) She asked him if his opponent was more vigorous than he was. Uh-huh. Remember, Andrea Mitchell is married to Alan Greenspan, so she would know a thing or two about vigor...or a lack thereof.

Arlen Specter is 80. It's fair to say that there are a lot of things more vigorous than Arlen Specter. Puppies and baby ducks, for example. Possibly Abe Vigoda. Definitely Betty White. But I find it unlikely that he is more vigorous than his opponent. Of course that's not what he thinks/thought. His response to Andrea Mitchell's question was...well...it was interesting. He said, "When you talk about Sestak being more vigorous, you must be smoking dutch cleanser." Of course. I must be...wait. What now?

Smoking dutch cleanser? What the heck is that? Dutch cleanser? I did a quick search online to see if I could find out what in the heck he was talking about (and, more importantly, if I should be smoking dutch cleanser, whatever it is). It was not easy. It is a rather obscure reference, apparently. Dutch cleanser is apparently a cleaning product akin to Comet and Bon Ami. It's been around since 1906 (so, almost as long as Arlen Specter). That's just the product. I had to dig deeper to find the meaning behind his asking if someone was smoking it.

I only found one other reference of someone using the phrase "smoking Dutch cleanser" on the Inner Webs. Guess who it was? That's right. Arlen Specter.

It was sometime in early February of 2006. According to Time Magazine he used the phrase when he was "Criticizing then Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez during hearings on the Bush administrations warrantless domestic-wiretapping program, saying Gonzalez's responses defied logic and plain English." Wait. Gonzalez's responses defied logic and plain English? But an obscure reference to smoking some sort of turn of the 20th century cleaning product is completely logical? I don't think it is, sir. I just don't think so.

It really didn't help his case for how vigorous he was when he answered Andrea Mitchell and mispronounced Sestak's name. I'm not sure exactly what he said, but it wasn't Sestak.

But even after the odd Dutch cleanser as a mind altering substance reference, he continued to try and make his point about how vigorous he was. He went on with, "Did you see us on the debate? Did you see us on the debate? If you didn't see it, John Bayer (could be Mayor), the moderator, wrote about it, how strong and vibrant I was and how weak he was. You saw that town meeting. That Tea Party guy rushed up at me with his fists clenched. Security wanted to throw him out. I said no, no. And I fought him right there on the spot. Verbally. Beating. Uh, when you talk about vigor, uhhhh....it's all on Arlen Specter's side."

Again, I don't think that you're helping your case when you have to repeat yourself. It's not like she didn't hear you. She's sitting right there. Perhaps you forgot you had just said that? I don't know. But I do like how he implies for a moment that he all but stripped to the waist and knocked out some Tea Party dude before throwing in that he had fought him "verbally". It also didn't help him that after he said, "When you talk about vigor" he really didn't seem to know where he was going with that. And he was talking about himself!

I don't know that you can really make a good point about how vigorous you are by using some Victorian era reference that no one else knows what you're talking about. You're certainly not helping your case. I wonder what we would be thinking if he had answered the question by saying "Are you on glue?" I'm pretty sure I would have thought that was all sorts of awesome. It wouldn't mean that I would think that he needed to or should be re-elected. But at least I'd know that he knew what year it was. I'd also know that he knew that we knew what he was talking about.