Former U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter had his share of enemies. But that stands as the proof of the principled independence that Specter, who died Sunday, lived by.
We didn't always agree with Specter's political decisions, particularly his vote for President Obama's stimulus package.
But we didn't have to worry about whether Specter was voting on what he believed in. In a political world deeply partisan, Specter was a moderate voice who was not bound by party affiliation when he didn't share its leanings.
That made him one maddening maverick at times, but we are guessing Washington could use a little more of that these days.
Specter, who made his bones as a prosecutor, brought penetrating questioning to an art form during his 30 years as a senator. If an issue was seemingly knotted in deadlock we could count on Specter to ask incisive questions that would help untie the knot. He also was instrumental in appointments of federal judges and a probing questioner on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
True to his spirit, he battled illness for more than a decade before succumbing, maintaining his spirit for life long after many would have despaired.
Tough. Independent. Principled. Arlen Specter left his mark on his terms.