Cancer is a terrible disease. It is a slow, painful way to die, and the best of modern medicine can only sometimes beat back its advances. Also notable: Cancer is a nonpartisan disease, attacking the Jack Kemps and Ted Kennedys of the world with equal impunity. Only a true cynic could see cancer as a political fundraising opportunity.
Enter the appropriately named Senator Arlen Specter, stage left. The media-beloved Specter has been the subject of much discussion recently, following his decision to switch his party affiliation to Democrat. Some in the mainstream media have painted Specter as a consummate moderate, while others have seen in his party switch the death-knell for the Republican party’s electoral aspirations in the Northeast.
“And one of the items that I’m working on, Bob, is funding for medical research. I’ve been the spear carrier to increase medical research. And I’ve even established a Web site, Specterforthecure.com, to try to get people to put more pressure on Congress to join me in getting more funding.”
Raising money for cancer research is undeniably a wonderful public service, and Specter would deserve credit for such - if he were actually raising money for that research. But a closer look at the Web site reveals the following small-print:
Federal election law requires political committees to use best efforts to report the name, mailing address, occupation, and name of employer of individuals whose contributions exceed $200 during an election cycle. An individual may not contribute more than a total of $2400 per election to the committee. Federal law prohibits contributions to the committee from the general treasury funds of a corporation, labor organizations or national banks (including corporate or other business entity credit cards), from any person contributing another's funds, from a Federal government contractor, or from a foreign national who lacks permanent resident status. Contributions are not deductible for Federal income tax purposes.
And now, the coup de grace:
Paid for by Citizens for Arlen Specter
Now one might wonder if the newly-minted Democrat from Pennsylvania might see a change in the preferred media storyline - a storyline which has trumpeted the death of the Republican party in the Northeast, complete with doomsday-for-conservatism braying. But only a truly cynical media could ignore this, the exploitation of cancer as a fundraising tool.