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Core Principles

That tremendous gust of wind that swept across the nation yesterday was not your imagination. It was millions of Americans sighing in relief -- Joseph P. Kennedy II will NOT be running for his late uncle's Senate seat.

The reasons why the former Congressman chose to pass are as obvious as they are unspoken. He wasn't ready to give up his job as head of Citizens Energy. The eldest son of the late Robert F. Kennedy now won't have to answer many awkward questions, such as:

  • Why does your non-profit company pay you a salary of over half a million dollars a year?
  • If it's not about promoting yourself, why do they have "1-800-JOE 4 OIL" as their toll-free number?
  • Why does so much of the heating oil they give away come as a gift from Hugo Chavez?
  • What does Chavez get in return for his gifts, and what does he expect besides the satisfaction of irritating the US government?
  • Do you feel like a failure as a Kennedy when, instead of killing a young woman in a car accident, you only left her paralyzed?
  • What were you thinking when you gave your 16-year-old son Michael illegal fireworks, and he burned himself rather badly?

Anyway, with Joe out of the way (and Ted's second wife and widow, Victoria Reggie Kennedy also declining the honor), the scramble is on to see who will fill Ted Kennedy's seat. And it's a two-front war -- while some candidates start the paperwork and raising money for a special election, others curry favor with the sitting governor.

Why the two-pronged approach? That's a story that starts five years ago.

Back in 2004, the Democratic nominee for president was Senator John Forbes Kerry (D-MA), and the powers that be in Massachusetts suddenly realized that, for the first time in almost over two decades, there might be a change in Senators. And that, under current law, the replacement would be chosen by the sitting governor.

That, of course, would be intolerable. A Senator is supposed to represent the people, and the direct election of Senators was such an important principle that it was the subject of its very own Constitutional amendment. So the law was changed to call for a special election.

As most everyone knows, that concern proved moot and John Kerry remained in the Senate.

Fast-forward back to today. With the passing of Ted Kennedy, Massachusetts now faces the reality of that situation that they had concerned themselves with five years ago. And now the concern is not the mandate of the Senator, but the delay -- the election will not be until January, leaving the Bay State underrepresented at a critical time. So it is essential that the law be changed to allow the governor to fill the vacancy as soon as possible.

These two seemingly contradictory arguments are easily reconcilable if you remember the single unifying principle behind both situations:

Under no circumstances should a Republican have even a prayer at elected office.

Massachusetts is the bluest of blue states. The Democrats hold (well, held) both US Senate seats, all ten House seats, every single statewide elected office, and over 85% of each House of the state legislature. The highest-ranking Republican is the Senate Minority Leader, who heads a delegation of five out of 40 seats total.

In 2004, though, the Republicans held the governorship, and under existing law Kerry's replacement would have been named by Mitt Romney. That, obviously, was intolerable, so he was stripped of that power and a procedure for a special election was set up.

Now, however, the governorship is back in the hands of Democrats -- the first time since the days of Michael Dukakis. (That Dukakis was succeeded by 16 years of Republicans is testament to how badly he screwed up the state.) So instead of worrying that they might lose a Senate race, the Democrats want to give the power back to the governor now that he's a Democrat again.

It's quite entertaining, watching the Massachusetts Democratic leadership and the editorial board of the Boston Glob (but I repeat myself) pompously espouse the precise opposite arguments they made five years ago when they change the law, as they push undoing their efforts. Even more entertaining is watching them studiously ignore their previous positions.

After all, this is Massachusetts, the bluest of the blue states. Massachusetts, where the term "sheeple" is almost a mark of honor. Massachusetts, who recently had a legislator who had championed raising the alcohol tax caught buying booze by the case in tax-free New Hampshire. Massachusetts, whose gifts to the nation include the aforementioned Kerry and Kennedy (and hordes of other Kennedys), but Barney Frank, Michael Dukakis, Gerry Studds, and a horde of other reprobates.

It is unclear whether or not the Massachusetts legislators will change the law back, or if the special election (primary right around Christmas, election in freezing January) will go forward.

What is clear, though, is that the Democrats of Massachusetts will continue to stick to their unifying, governing principle: the need to preserve their power and screw the state's Republicans (already on the endangered-species list) above all else.


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Comments (14)

All I can say is "Thank hea... (Below threshold)
freemo:

All I can say is "Thank heavens I don't live there anymore!" My family living there are all Republicans and just shake their heads because they know it's pretty hopeless.

It's so good to have you ba... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

It's so good to have you back. The trolls you endured at Contentions weren't any better a caliber than they are here, are they? What were you thinking?

I hope it wasn't just a welcome mat you got here - I'm thinking a red carpet would have been more appropriate. (Not that I haven't thoroughly enjoyed the newest of the staff here.)

You only have to look at th... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

You only have to look at the mess of Mass. in it's totality to see where democratic leadership gets you. ww

The Massachusetts legislato... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

The Massachusetts legislators should just be honest and write a law that allows a Democrat governor to appoint someone to the Senate, but require non-Democrat governors to call a special election. I'm sure that would be seen as unbiased in Massachusetts and it would save them from having to change the law again in the future.

The answer is simple. ... (Below threshold)

The answer is simple.

Pass a law that says if there is a Republican governor, Senate vacancies are by election, if a Democrat, they are appointed. That would solve the problem of being forced to change the law all the time.

Might not be constitutional, but that doesn't normally bother democrats.

Actually I'm LMAOROTF! The... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Actually I'm LMAOROTF! The hypocrisy is so rich, I'm surprised they don't choke on it. Splash was so "concerned" about the state only having one voice in the senate. A situation he created. Knowing that he was dying, Splash still showed his "concern" by not resigning so that an election could take place. So for about 18 months, except for brief appearances, the state had just one functioning senator. Yeah, Splash was really really "concerned".

Garandfan, re: ...except fo... (Below threshold)
Hank:

Garandfan, re: ...except for brief appearances, the state had just one functioning senator.

Being that's John Kerry, I'm not sure we've had even one functioning senator.

My house is about 1/4 mile from the NH line and I keep hoping an earthquake would move it across the border.

I really really want Hyper,... (Below threshold)
JustRuss:

I really really want Hyper, or BH or anyone of the other usuals to respond to this with a concise and clear argument that doesn't smack of "Well because Democrats are Better than Republicans, Duh".

Periodically I drive thru M... (Below threshold)
moseby:

Periodically I drive thru MA on my way to Portsmouth NH. I try not to buy anything--food, drink, gas, etc. But I always manage to hit a rest stop along the Mass Pike and take a big dump....

Moseby! I'm trying to eat ... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

Moseby! I'm trying to eat lunch!

Of course the Massaidots co... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Of course the Massaidots could pass a law making one Senate seat hereditary for the Kennedy family. They wouldn't have to worry about elections or answering questions. The other seat could be reserved for Democrats only. Again avoiding problems.

At least that way they wouldn't have to worry about Senatorial succession problems any longer.

John Adams is probably spinning in his grave.

There's some noise about Sc... (Below threshold)
sherri:

There's some noise about Scott Brown (R) vying for the seat. I'm unfortunate enough to live here, but at least I live in a republican's district.

"...leaving the Bay Stat... (Below threshold)
John S:

"...leaving the Bay State underrepresented at a critical time..."

They didn't seem concerned during the two years that presidential candidate John Kerry never entered the Senate chambers.

And The People's Republic of Massachusetts was without its senior Senator for the past 15 months while taxpayers paid millions in medical bills in a futile effort to extend a life that should have been deemed too old.

Which reminds me. Teddy's old friend, Robert Alzheimer Bryd: He's someone who should have his feeding tube removed. I vote he be the first one brought up before Obama's Death Panel.

After 3pm and SAUD still ha... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

After 3pm and SAUD still hasn't arrived to take us to task for trashing the SACRED name of KENNEDY. Must be inviting all the local Obamabots over to his place to watch THE ONE speak unto the unwashed masses who refuse to do his bidding.

Wonder if Barry will declare a NATIONAL EMERGENCY!




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