I Supported that Bill Before I Wanted to Change It

I wish Sen. Ted Kennedy the best in his fight against cancer. While I philosophically disagree with most he stands for, as a fellow human I hope he beats the odds and lives for many years to come.

In 2004 when John Kerry was running for President the Democrats in Massachusetts realized that if Kerry were elected, then Gov. Romney would appoint his replacement to the Senate. As Romney was a Republican this wasn’t good, so Sen. Kennedy led the charge to change the law in Massachusetts to one that would require an election within 5 months of a Senator leaving office. The law passed but it turned out Kerry’s seat was safe.

Now, after strongly supporting the change just 5 years ago, Sen. Kennedy has written a letter to Mass. Governor Deval Patrick(D) and other state Democratic leaders asking that the governor be allowed to appoint an interim Senator until an election can be held. Sensing his own mortality Sen. Kennedy wants to change the same law again he just changed five years ago for partisan political reasons. He knows one vote in Washington may be critical for Obamacare that is in certain trouble. Politics as usual in the country’s most liberal state.

Comments

  1. The Lorax says:

    Politics as usual? Yes. Certainly.

    But there’s also a case to be made to have an interim appointment as to not have to be short a senator for up to 6 months.

    Norm Coleman played politics for the longest time to keep Franken out of the senate, and I think a law providing for an interim senator is just downright good policy.

  2. Lorax,

    It’s not good policy. The people didn’t elect the interim senator, and therefore the representation they are receiving isn’t truly theirs.

    It is better to lack representation in congress for a transitional period than to get representation not elected by the people.

    When governors are allowed to choose representatives for the people, it demonstrates an aristocracy, not a democracy.

  3. The Lorax says:

    Therein is the difference between a republic and a democracy.

    An aristocracy this would not be. Governors in almost every state (save 4, including MA to my knowledge) allow interim appointments. It’s not undemocratic or even lousy policy.

    Why? Because the Governor, elected by the people, is vested with certain powers and this is one of those powers. That’s the consequence of having multiple branches of government working in tandem.

    EDIT: And I would add further that this measure would bring Massachusetts law in line with the majority of states.

  4. Man, Lorax, it’s so annoying watching you masterfully ignore the obvious.

    That’s how it was, and that wasn’t good enough, so Kennedy led the charge to change it, which now that tides have turned, is no longer good enough.

    Forget all your babble about republics and democracies. This is a spoiled brat maneuver to favor Democrats. Just like it was five years ago.

  5. The Lorax says:

    “Politics as usual? Yes. Certainly.” = Me setting aside the obvious because it’s, well, obvious.

    Of course it’s meant to favor Democrats. But at the same time, we can pretty reliably say that anyone elected to the Senate in MA would be a Democrat anyhow, right?

  6. Which is why they once had a Republican Governor. Not as safe as you’d think.

  7. Randy in Richmond says:

    Lorax
    Which law did Norm Coleman have changed to play politics?

  8. The Lorax says:

    Just as safe as i’d think. “Pretty reliably.”

    Randy, your question does not compute… can you remind me when I said Norm changed a law? He played politics for his side just like Ted is with his.

    The politics don’t really concern me–it’s a trifling subject, really. But what does fascinate me is the way in which we deal with resignations etc. from the Senate. I’ve long been an advocate of these reforms.

    Guess this still isn’t a forum for discussion.

  9. Oh, you can discuss it all you’d like. You’ll simply have to admit when you’re wrong. 😉

  10. The Lorax says:

    Remind me again?

  11. An aristocracy this would not be. Governors in almost every state (save 4, including MA to my knowledge) allow interim appointments. It’s not undemocratic or even lousy policy.

    I don’t think it matters much how other states allow for this to happen. Why is it appropriate for the executive branch of a state to have its fingers in the legislative pot? If it’s good enough to elect a representative by vote when there are no vacancies, then it’s good enough when there are vacancies.

    Why? Because the Governor, elected by the people, is vested with certain powers and this is one of those powers. That’s the consequence of having multiple branches of government working in tandem.

    I understand. It doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be changed.

  12. The Lorax says:

    I think you might be confused by my stance here and by what the proposed change is. Currently, under the changes made in 2004, if the seat is vacated, it remains vacant until a special election is held and a new representative is elected.

    Under the changes, which I support, when a seat is vacated, a special election would be scheduled and an interim appointment would be made by the governor. This way, at least there is some representative (who not only votes on legislation but also provides very important constituent services and makes nominations to the page program and military academies) who serves for a short period of time.

    Also to note, the Executive and Legislative branches already have their ‘fingers in each branch’s pots.’ For example, governors decide when to hold the special elections. So this really isn’t anything that drastic.

    Again, is it politically motivated? Most assuredly. But if it improves the process in the long-term, why not?