Saturday, August 22, 2009

Okay, New Rule

Sometimes, you really have to wonder if politicians actually give a rip.

Once upon a time, the Governor of Massachusetts had the power to immediately appoint a new Senator to fill a vacant seat. Nothing out of the ordinary there.

But then, two things happened. Mitt Romney became Governor, and John Kerry ran for President. If Senator Kerry had won, he would have had to resign his seat. Massachusetts Democrats, fearing that the Republican Romney would appoint another Republican to the now-vacant Senate seat, changed the rules, so that a vacant Senate seat would be filled by a special election, to be held within 145 to 160 days after the seat becomes vacant.

But then, two more things happened. Deval Patrick, a Democrat, was elected to become Governor, and Senator Edward Kennedy was diagnosed with cancer. Perhaps coming to terms with his own mortality, Kennedy realized that if he died, Senate Democrats would be down a vote - and that one vote might make all the difference. So rather than leave the Democratic caucus down a vote, potentially for several months, Kennedy is asking for the law to be changed back to the way it was.

I've got a better idea - just pass a law that says vacant seats shall be filled in whatever way is most politically beneficial to Democrats, and leave it at that. It's simpler and more honest.