Back in 2004, the Democrats who own Massachusetts got a rude shock, on the eve of what could have been their greatest triumph. One of their own, Senator John Kerry, was looking more and more like the next president of the United States.
But then someone actually read the laws governing the state and saw a red shadow over their blue fantasies: should Kerry win that November, his Senate seat would be vacant — and under the current law, the governor would appoint his successor. And that governor was Mitt Romney, a Republican. The odds that he would “respect” the party’s “right” to that seat were somewhere between “fat chance” and “slim chance.”
So the law got changed. Not much of a surprise; while the governor was a Republican, the Democrats held the legislature to an obscene degree: over 85% in each House. So the law was changed to “special election” should a Senate seat become vacant.
All the drama came to nought; Kerry, naturally, lost, and held on to his Senate seat.
But then a few years later Kerry’s colleague, Ted Kennedy, announced that he had terminal brain cancer. And in the meantime, the governorship had shifted back to Democratic hands (the astonishingly weak and inept Deval Patrick). That meant that the best chance of keeping a Senate seat in Democratic hands wasn’t in a special election, but in a gubernatorial appointment — so they started changing the law back. If that meant suddenly abandoning all the arguments they made in 2004 and adopting those of their opponents, so what?
The rank hypocrisy was almost too much, even for Massachusetts. They struck a few copromises. Yes, the governor got to appoint a Senator to fill a vacancy, but only until a special election could be held. That appointee was not only not eligible to run, but couldn’t campaign for or even endorse a candidate.
And that’s how it played out. Longtime Kennedy apparatchik Paul Kirk got tapped for the temporary slot, and the primaries and election were set.
And then it went askew, as the Democrats started to realize that there was a chance they might actually lose the seat. So, of course, they did what Massachusetts Democrats do whenever they might not get their way: they tossed the rulebook.
First up, Kirk defied the (admittedly non-binding) stated position of the legislature and not only endorsed the Democratic nominee, Martha Coakley, but made a few campaign appearances for her. And now they’re saying that should the Republican, Scott Brown, win, they might stall certifying his election for as long as possible to keep him out of the Senate — possibly in time for the health care reform bill to pass.
What would be the legal justification for the delay, you might ask? You naive fool. This is Massachusetts! That barely two years ago Niki Tsongas won a special House election that was certified within 48 hours is irrelevant. You see, she’s a Democrat, and therefore there’s a different standard.
In Massachusetts, the Democrats are showing that they are prepared to do almost anything to keep the Senate seat in their hands.
The one thing they are not prepared to do — the one thing that they simply are incapable of doing — is demonstrating to the voters that they ought to be trusted with the office.
But then again, this is Massachusetts. There’s every single chance that the
subjects voters of Massachusetts will continue to be sheep, guided by the criminally inept Democratic machine.
If only we could keep them from inflicting their damage on the rest of the nation.