The Single-Bullet Senator

With all the hub-bub today surrounding Republican Senator Arlen Spector’s support of President Obama’s stimulus package, I was suprised that none of the major news channels or publications mentioned Senator Spector’s other major claim to fame: The “Single Bullet Theory.”

Although his name isn’t particularly well-known, Spector’s theory is perhaps the most contentious supposition in American History. The single bullet theory refers to a bullet fired during the infamous assassination of President Kennedy in Dallas on November 22nd, 1963. According to Spector, (a member of the bi-partisan commission charged by President Lyndon Johnson with investigating the circumstances of the assassination) one bullet from Lee Harvey Oswald’s Manlicher Carcano rifle hit President Jack Kennedy in the throat, and then hit Texas Governor John Connally in the chest and wrist, before finally lodging itself in the Governor’s thigh.wc_vol18_ce903_sbt_alignement

Spector, then a congressman, explains the single bullet theory.

Many considered this theory to be a bold lie foisted upon the American people to obscure the truth about a conspiracy surrounding the assassination. It was ridiculed as the “magic bullet theory” by conspiracy theorists. Over the years, incredulity concerning his theory turned into outright disdain for Spector himself. His aggressive conduct while cross-examining Anita Hill, the woman who accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harrassment, added to this attitude of derision concerning Spector. For years, I counted myself among the ranks of Spector-haters. Even today, when I heard his name on the news, I had a minor tirade in my car. “Arlen Spector?! ARLEN SPECTOR!?!? That asshole is the bi-partisan hero of the stimulus package?!”

But after my temper cooled, I found myself re-evaluating my feelings about Spector. He’s pro-choice, and fairly supportive of same-sex partnerships. And recent ballistics examinations of the single-bullet theory have revealed that it’s at least possible, and certainly not “magic.” Assassination author Gus Russo puts it best:

“The fact that the “single bullet theory” was initially proposed by now-Senator Arlen Spector, considered by some to be exceedingly arrogant, has made it harder for some to accept. It is a classic example of the maxim that someimes one must accept the message, in spite of one’s feelings about the messenger. (No one is more upset than the author [Russo] over the fact that Anita Hill’s basher-in-chief was correct about the single bullet, but in fact he was.)”

While I’m not convinced that Spector was right about the single bullet,  I do think he was right to support this package. So Senator Spector, thank you for helping to pass this bill….but you’re still a stinky douche-bag and I think you suck.