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Teddy Kennedy playing politics

By
August 21, 2009

Like almost every Democrat in Massachusetts I admire Senator Kennedy. However that doesn’t alter the fact that he’s trying to play the same old partisan politics Democrats scream bloody murder over when played by Republicans. 
 
When Senator Kerry was running for president and we had a Republican, Mitt Romney, as governor, our Democratic Party controlled legislature passed a law requiring a special election to replace senators who died or left office before the end of their terms. 
 

This was done to prevent Romney from appointing a Republican if Kerry became president.
 
Not allowing the governor to appoint an interim senator had nothing to do with  respect for the will of the people. Nobody pretended it did. 
 
Senator Kennedy wants to assure that there’s a Democratic vote in the Senate should the health care bill come up and he’s not able to vote. 
 
The leaders of our legislature, House Speaker Robert DeLeo and state Senate President Therese Murray, to their credit seem to be resisting pushing for a change in the law. There response to Kennedy’s request, in a joint statement was  lukewarm: 
 
"We have great respect for the senator and what he continues to do for our commonwealth and our nation. It is our hope that he will continue to be a voice for the people of Massachusetts as long as he is able."
 

According to the Boston Globe, the state senator from Kennedy’s home district on Cape Cod, Robert A. O’Leary said he would be proud to sponsor the new law: “Given his role in health care, it would be tragic if he wasn’t able to have a vote in that and it took one vote to get it done".

He doesn’t get it. This isn’t about one Senate vote.
 
Our Democratic governor, Deval Patrick, seems unlikely to back a change in the law because he can’t do anything to make himself even more unpopular than he already is. Many Democrats, myself included, are very disappointed with him and considering voting for his declared opponent, Democrat turned independent state Treasurer Tim Cahill, in 2010.
 
In the unlikely event the law is changed those who could be appointed among the field of state politicians most of you haven’t ever heard of are a few national figures. These are former labor secretary under President Clinton Robert Reich and Robert Kennedy’s son, former congressman Joseph Kennedy. Another possibility is former governor and 1988 presidential candidate Michael Dukakis. 
 
I don’t see any of these as being interested in running for the seat in the special election so they would be placeholders. The others being mentioned are already members of the U.S. House of Representatives and our state attorney general, all of who may have their eyes on running in a special election.
 
I understand Senator Kennedy’s passion but this isn’t about one vote on health care. 
 
It’s about what’s right and wrong and that transcends political party.
 
UPDATE: 8/27/09
 

 Even as most people here in Massachusetts grieve the loss of Senator Ted Kennedy an active topic of conversation involves what will happen in our legislature regarding his successor. (See Boston Globe article.)

Last week I wrote about Kennedy playing politics by urging that they pass a new law allowing Governor Patrick to appoint an interim Senator. 

Our governor says he’ll sign such a bill and urges one be passed quickly. When asked about the hypocrisy of changing a law the the Democrats passed to prevent Republican Mitt Romney from appointing a new senator if John Kerry won the presidency he sidestepped a substantive answer saying (according to The Globe) that he wasn’t in office in 2004.

I still believe that what is good for the goose is good for the gander (or the elephant and donkey in political terms). 

A special election will be held this winter. If Democrats in the Senate need one vote to pass health care reform they will just have to wait.

I have yet to see the only argument spelled out why this case is different from 2004. This is that when John Kerry ran for president he and the party knew it was likely that if he won  he’d be replaced by a Republican. Now our empty seat is the result of a senator’s death.

I don’t think this is enough of a reason to change the law.  I do think that if a new law is proposed it should differentiate between the two ways a seat becomes vacant.

If a seat becomes vacant because a Senator dies, has to resign for personal reasons, or is removed from office, an interim appointment is made by the governor. If a seat becomes vacant because the Senator takes another political job, be it elected office or a presidential appointment the seat must stay vacant until a special election is held.

 

14 Responses to Teddy Kennedy playing politics

  1. bogofree

    August 21, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    Well said, Hal, but I hold out little hope for anyone “doing the right thing.” I suspect they will eventually bow to his wishes.

    Ted Kennedy would, I assume, want a coat holder to be in office until his own annointed successor can be put in place. After all the same was done for him back in 1961.

  2. Hal Brown

    August 21, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    WARNING TO ALL

    Somebody or something (a robot) has been posting comments which link to questionable or dangerous websites.

    The text has a string of words: sohbet, yonja, kızlarmsn nickleri, Turkish, porno izl, and others. Each is a link. Do not take a chance and click on them on this or any other article or column.

    Steps are being taken to track down the source and stop this.

     

  3. Carl Nemo

    August 22, 2009 at 12:54 am

    Hi Hal Brown et al. …

    It seems to be simply Turkish SPAM…

    Rough translation:

    -chat-chat-rooms-yonja svsdsohbet chat
    chat rooms, chat-chat-girls-chat-chat-chat-yonja
    girls chat-chat-chat-love-english nickleri msn download msn chat-chat-download-porno izle

    ***

    I’ve also noticed a pattern where SPAMSTERS will add a comment to stale CHB posts. They seemingly make a germaine comment to the article, then end up by having an imbedded link to their advertisement.

    Possibly Doug should lockdown posts older than six months so no further comment can be made to the string.

    Recently I’ve noticed he has the scrambled letter scheme to force people to enter the letters when they post links to an article which I thought was a good idea and prevents the auto-uploading of SPAM to websites.

    I haven’t clicked on this Turkish link yet, but I will do so, since I have probably some of the best countermeasures available to detect threats. I’m hoping I detect a virus as I do more forensics on this hot linked comment.

    Carl Nemo **==

  4. Carl Nemo

    August 22, 2009 at 12:55 am

    I’ve evaluated the link, running it through Virus/Malware filters and it’s clean. I guess it’s just a hungry, entrepreneurial Turk looking to make some liras.

    Carl Nemo **==

    p.s. I’d advise not clicking on any of the content body to find out where it leads; ie. to some “dirty peektures” no doubt and possibly some imbedded ruskie created viral nightmare… : |

  5. gazelle1929

    August 22, 2009 at 6:40 am

    I agree, it is politics, but you have to admit that it is not back room political tricks, it’s out in the open, in-your-face politics which we can evaluate on its merits.

  6. RichardKanePA

    August 24, 2009 at 12:38 am

    Harassers sick commercial spam onto sites at times for political reasons, the advertisers may have no idea who is helping them and might not care.

    Giving in to harassers and limiting access can be giving into repression if one is not careful.

    Stale blog posts can, due to changes in current events, suddenly become important again, and worth commenting on.

    RichardKane

  7. bogofree

    August 23, 2009 at 11:13 am

    Hey….the Turkish made more sense than some of my posts.

    Teddy equals Hypocrite.

  8. JudyB

    August 24, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    We all know that Teddy has lived his life as an active Democrat..seems he’s now simply trying to extend his vote beyond that point.
    Long live Teddy!

  9. barak

    August 25, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    I like Ted Kennedy. He became a fine lawmaker over the years since his immature actions on Bridge Night and more than atoned for his failure to rescue the young woman who was in the car with him (MJK) that sad night.

    Despite the tragedies in his life, he became a strong and guiding light in the US Senate, and contributed much to the country’s growth.

    Sadly, his contracting brain cancer is proof that anyone who spends too much time in the Senate, or for that matter, the House of Representatives, will acquire serious brain rot, aka losing his or her mind.

    We need to clean House and Senate too. One and only one, 3 year term for all government legislators and Justices. In for 3 years, out for that lifetime which follows.

  10. gazelle1929

    August 25, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    So Ted Kennedy became a “fine lawmaker” over the years and contributed much to his country’s growth.

    And now you want to throw away all that experience and turn the making of our laws over to the lobbyists and unelected House and Senate staff employees? That makes no sense.

    As the editor said to Dickens, “Was it the best of times or the worst of times. You can scarcely have it both ways.”

  11. almandine

    August 25, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    Outlaw lobbyists. Get new staffers too.

    Executive agencies would need special attention.

    Put it all on an overlapping rotation so that none of them gets too cozy, entrenched, or powerful.

  12. gazelle1929

    August 25, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    Well, hell, why not do that across the board? YOU! Doctor Jones. Your three years are up. Billy Bob boy here has your shift for the next three years. Heck, he ain’t got him no edification atall, but that don’t mean nuthin. We just want to spread the wealth around. It’s the new health insurance format: Give a bubba a break.

    You, Johnny firefighter. Ten years on the job? Get the hell out of here. We want to give equal rights to this quadriplegic here. By the way, is your homeowners insurance up to dat?. You’re gonna damn sight need it.

    You wouldn’t dream of letting Bubba cut you open, would you? But you’d throw out cumulative hundreds of years of valuable experience because the electorate refuses to go to the polls and turn out a crook or two or ten and hold the rest accountable for their actions on our behalf. Thus, because the electorate doesn’t do its job you are going to perpetually saddle us with neophytes in all the policy making jobs in the US. Good luck with that.

  13. almandine

    August 25, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    Gotta start somewhere. No need to go hillbilly, tho.

    We certainly can’t confuse the RESULTS of politicians with those of doctors, firefighters, etc, now, can we? (A couple of real docs aside.) Hundreds of years of valuable experience? In Congress? Their staffs? Valuable to them, maybe.

    Escape from the cost to citizens of the political subterfuge such experience brings would be well worth the temporary inefficiencies that turning a third of them out every 3 or 4 years would bring.

    Exec agencies are another matter, and the reason I chose to address them separately. Your point is taken.

  14. Hal Brown

    August 27, 2009 at 9:34 am

      Even as most people here in Massachusetts grieve the loss of Senator Ted Kennedy an active topic of conversation involves what will happen in our legislature regarding his successor. (See Boston Globe article.)

    Last week I wrote about Kennedy playing politics by urging that they pass a new law allowing Governor Patrick to appoint an interim Senator. 

    Our governor says he’ll sign such a bill and urges one be passed quickly. When asked about the hypocrisy of changing a law the the Democrats passed to prevent Republican Mitt Romney from appointing a new senator if John Kerry won the presidency he sidestepped a substantive answer saying (according to The Globe) that he wasn’t in office in 2004.

    I still believe that what is good for the goose is good for the gander (or the elephant and donkey in political terms). 

    A special election will be held this winter. If Democrats in the Senate need one vote to pass health care reform they will just have to wait.

    I have yet to see the only argument spelled out why this case is different from 2004. This is that when John Kerry ran for president he and the party knew it was likely that if he won  he’d be replaced by a Republican. Now our empty seat is the result of a senator’s death.

    I don’t think this is enough of a reason to change the law.  I do think that if a new law is proposed it should differentiate between the two ways a seat becomes vacant.

    If a seat becomes vacant because a Senator dies, has to resign for personal reasons, or is removed from office, an interim appointment is made by the governor. If a seat becomes vacant because the Senator takes another political job, be it elected office or a presidential appointment the seat must stay vacant until a special election is held.