Specter’s TV show premiere: a highlights reel


Former senator Arlen Specter is making his TV-host debut. (CHARLES DHARAPAK/AP)

First, the real star of the show isn’t the former Senate Judiciary chairman from Pennsylvania and his ambling ruminations on money in politics, but rather ...former senator Fred Thompson’s beard.

“The Law and Order”actor from Tennessee --one of Specter’s guests-- sports a hipster-esque, salt-and-pepper goatee that we thought was the most newsworthy feature of the 30-minute talk show.

The snappiest line of the program, which airs on Maryland Public Television, came courtesy of former senator. Evan Bayh of Indiana. “An immaculate contribution,” Bayh dubbed a political donation that doesn’t affect a lawmaker’s vote.

Zing!

Also, look out for folks you know among the viewer audience (oooh, look, it’s Nina Totenberg!) whom Specter periodically questions, Oprah-style (spoiler alert: They don’t all win trips to Australia).

The effect is that of an early PBS talk show, complete with Specter looking at the wrong camera, odd musical interludes, and an Edward R. Murrow-like sign-off.

And if all this doesn’t sound fascinating enough, may we suggest turning the resolutely sober program into a drinking game? Take a sip every time anyone says ”Citizens United,” “money” or"politics.” Do a shot any time Specter cracks a smile or the phrase “stare decisis” is uttered.

Who says this isn’t must-see-TV?

Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.
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