One of the side effects of Senator Kennedy’s death has been the metaphorical pee-pee dance in which the Massachusetts House Democrats have engaged. With Kennedy’s Senate seat unfilled, they’re looking to pass a law that lets the governor pick an interim replacement for the job, so MA won’t have just half its Senate votes in the upcoming health care vote. By state law, there has to be a special election to fill that Senate seat, and that’s unacceptable to the Democrats right now, because it’ll take months for that to take place.
Trouble is, MA’s governor used to have precisely that power. It was taken away by the legislature in 2004, when the MA House (with the majority being Democrats) voted to require special elections instead. What was different in 2004? Well…John Kerry, the junior senator from MA, was running for President, and a win in the 2004 election would have meant a vacant senate seat. The governor of MA at the time was Mitt Romney, a (gasp!) Republican. Not willing to run the risk of letting a Republican governor pick a Senate replacement for one of the most solidly Democrat seats in the U.S. Senate, the legislature removed that clear and present danger by stripping the right of Senatorial appointment from the governor.
Now you have douchebags like MA Rep. Robert Koczera bloviating at length in the Boston Globe on the need for a law that returns the appointment right to the (currently Democrat) governor, to make sure that “MA has two voices and two votes this fall.”
Interesting how the will of the people is all-important when the wrong lizard is in charge, and how a swift executive appointment is only in the interests of the MA electorate when the governor has the right letter after his name…
Legislatures at all levels are prime case studies in unintended consequences, and the only thing more appalling than the blatant partisan self-interest exercised by both parties is the invariable attempt to mask that self-interest as “the will of the people”, and “what’s best for the state/country.”
The ultimate irony is that the law coming back to bite him in the ass posthumously…was spearheaded and supported by Senator Kennedy himself.