Regardless of my admitted disdain for Senator Kennedy’s personal and political record, his health is not a matter to joke about. Compassion must rule in times like this and it is not to be played politics with.
At least that is what I believe.
Senator Kennedy however does not think so.
Faced with his own mortality and being forced to miss most of this legislative session due to his illness, the seven term senator now seeks to play politics and leave that as his final legacy.
Fearful that the senate seat he has safely held for Democrats for over 47 years might become occupied by a Republican once his body is removed from it, Senator Kennedy has written Democrat Massachusetts state legislative leaders and Democrat Governor Deval Patrick and asked that they enact legislation which would change the state’s existing laws which forces a special election to be held to fill any vacancies.
Currently, upon the creation of a vacancy, a special election must be called within five months and the winner of that election fills out the remainder of the unexpired term of the office in question.
Strangely, Massachusetts use to have a system which allowed the Governor to appoint someone to fill vacancies. But in 2004 when Massachusetts Senator John Kerry became the Democrat nominee for President, Ted Kennedy spearheaded an effort to change that to the current statutes that require a special election to fill out unexpired terms.
At the time, Kennedy was concerned that if Kerry was elected President, upon being sworn into office, Kerry’s senate seat would be vacant and the existing laws would have allowed the Governor of Massachusettes to appoint someone to replace Kerry in the Senate.
In 2004 that Governor was Mitt Romney, a Republican.
So with pure partisanship coursing through his veins, Ted Kennedy fought to have the law changed and adopt the current special election requirement. Back then he justified it as good government, an example of true democracy that allowed the people to choose their representative.
The law was changed and Ted Kennedy’s partisan sentiments were eased knowing that once elected President, John Kerry would not be replaced in the senate with the choice made by a Republican Governor.
Only thing is John Kerry failed to win the presidency so the hullabaloo Kennedy made was for naught.
But five years later it is not Kerry’s senate that is in question. It is Teddy’s own seat that there are concerns over. Five years later and Massachusetts also now has a Democrat governor. So Kennedy has flipped-flopped on what he once saw as good government policy and wants to change the law back so that the Governor fills vacancies instead of the people doing that in a special election.
Two things come to mind here. First, as I always assert, Democrats are hypocrites. They demonstrate it every chance they get and Ted Kennedy’s sudden change of mind on this issue helps to reflect that determination.
The other thing that comes to mind is this. If the liberal lion of the senate is so concerned about who will occupy his seat after him and the service that person will provide to the people of his state, why does he not resign now? After all, his condition has already left Massachusetts at a disadvantage. Senator Kennedy has missed countless votes and is incapable of maintaining a full and productive schedule.
I have heard people use the phrase “over my dead my body” but never quite as literally as Ted Kennedy whose dead body will literally have to be removed from his senate seat before it is vacated.
The man has been in the U.S. Senate for longer than my own age. He has been there for more than 47 years, more than the lifetime of many, and now while unable to fully serve the people of his state, he still refuses to retire.
For all of you have a problem with “professional politicians” Ted Kennedy is your poster boy.
But put aside, for a moment, his addiction to power and think about this.
Does Ted Kennedy really want this drive to change the way Massachusetts fills vacancies to be one of his last demonstrations of public service? Does he really want to cap off his career with a self promoting, partisan maneuver that seeks to consolidate partisan political power?
I would hope that in the closing days of my life, my last breaths would convey and promote a message more noble than a call for some slick and sleazy political maneuver.
It is sad to see a man so representative of the Democrat Party act so hypocritically and insincerely as the curtain gets drawn on the twilight of his career. It is sad that as one of his final acts, Ted Kennedy chooses to be manipulative and partisan rather than sincere and patriotic.
Public service is a wonderful thing. Too bad Ted Kennedy is demonstrating characteristics that give it a bad name. It is too bad that he seeks to leave public office by making it seem like a game rather than a respectful effort.