Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, announced today that he was removing his hold on the nomination of Eric Holder Jr. to be attorney general.
Funny, Specter had his change of heart just after Barbra Streisand got involved in rallying fans to Holder's side. In an email to supporters recently, Streisand, who sang for Obama at a mega Hollywood fundraiser during the campaign, called Holder "my friend" and urged the Left to get proactive in making sure he is confirmed as the first African-American attorney general in U.S. history.
"I am fearful that this Republican opposition is really about pushing back on the Obama administration" -- duh! "and testing the waters for future judicial confirmation fights," she wrote. "Disturbingly, a good man is caught in the middle of these partisan tactics, someone who will be an excellent Attorney General for all Americans."
Holder has his share of issues. As deputy attorney general in the last days of the Clinton White House, he signed off on a pardon for Marc Rich, the fugitive financier who was wanted for tax evasion.
But Specter is up for re-election in 2010 in Pennsylvania, a hard-fought state that tilts blue Democrat but has deep pockets of Republican red, particularly in a job-crunched recession. We don't know how many fans Streisand has up there, but maybe the senator figured he didn't want to find out.
The committee is now set to vote Wednesday.