Greg Roach's Berkshires Blog
Thursday, August 20, 2009
  What Else is New?
The GOP opposes the idea of ensuring that Massachusetts has two senators until a special election. They a crying 'Hypocrisy!"

I don't suppose Republicans see the irony in that particular charge since the GOP also opposed the current law in 1994 because it took the power to appoint someone for up to a year from then Gov. Romney.
you're missing the point here. kennedy is the author of the bill that created the special election. he did it stop a republican governor from appointing a republican if, and this was a stretch, kerry won the presidency. now he wants it his way again so that when he kicks, this democratic hack we call our governor will appoint a shill who will advance the democrats agenda. so now who is the hypocrite?

I get the politics. That's the obvious part. It is very clear why Kennedy is doing what he is doing.

What I find amusing is the State GOP's knee jerk opposition to Kennedy's proposal, when what he is suggesting is pretty much what they were defending as sacrosanct in 2004.
kennedy wrote the law to strip the authority! now that it could go the other way he wants that power back....there's no knee jerk reaction....why was it ok to take from the republicans and "give the power to the people" and now it's imparative that the state have 2 voices? fat teddy didn't think it was too important in '04 but now it of the utmost as i say not as i do.....
What surprises me the most is that anyone would believe what any politician on the national level says.

The argument can be made that each of the parties were/are doing what they feel is in the best interest of those they represent, but instead of being honest and saying "Hey, why wouldn't we want to pick up another seat", they come up with all these fabrications with the end result being one never knows what is the real reason for any position a politician takes.

In my opinion MOST politicians have 3 driving factors - power, money, and sex. If what they are advocating for in the pursuit of these 3 happens to match the needs of those they represent - it's a bonus and photo-op.
Chris - I guess I wasn't clear enough - Yes, the move is transparently self serving. My point is that the GOP is trying to have it both ways, too, but nobody will remember that.

Politics is more often about getting elected than it is about doing the right thing. And that is a shame.

CJ - You forgot what drives my political motivations. Neither money sex or power. All I need is - Fermented grain beverages.

"Will Work for Beer!"

(Regardless of the fact that I am kidding, that WOULD make a great campaign sign!)
Isn't there a difference when "having it both ways" means objecting to changes in the law, versus when "having it both ways" means changing the law? The respectable way (as opposed to the let's make the law a cynical joke way) to change an election law is to make it apply in the future, not to an obvious case at hand, let alone two such opposite cases.

When Congress (especially Republicans) didn't like the 4-election example set by FDR, it passed the 22nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution setting Presidential Term Limits, while Truman was in office (3/21/1947; ratified by the states 2/27/1951). The Amendment explicitly says:

"But this Article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President, when this Article was proposed by the Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this Article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term."

It would have been disgraceful for the Republicans in Congress to make this Amendment apply to Truman (as the Democrats changed state law to apply to Romney in 2004). It would have been even more disgraceful if the Republicans in Congress changed their mind while Eisenhower was in office, and acted to repeal the Amendment (as Democrats aim to change state law now).

Kennedy is of course free to announce he is resigning in 5 months or as soon as a special election has occurred.
I'm constantly amused by the shouts of how one act or another is--gasp--"injecting politics" or is "politically motivated".

Well, of course it is. Goodness gracious, folks, this is politics. These guys can't even fart without it being political. The only reasons people even act vaguely surprised by the sanctimonious cover-up words that pols use to try to sugarcoat it are political as well.

Why can't Republicans just say, "We don't like this move cuz we don't want healthcare to pass"?

Why couldn't Teddy say, "I'm going to kick the bucket soon and if we're down a senator it may not."

Greg, you started fingerpointing on this one, but there are plenty of fingers to be pointed all around.

It's more productive, in a larger sense, to look at the sausage, or at least predict what the sausage is going to look like at the end of the day, rather than carp about the process of it being made. At the end of the day, how is it at all unfair that Massachusetts gets both of the votes to which it is entitled in the Senate?
The question isn't whether getting two Senators is fair or unfair. Even if you believe fairness is the key way to see the issue, the question is whether getting two Senators is more or less fair than some alternative. Neither law nor practice has said two Senators is the overriding concern, trumping any other legal or process factor. For example, after the contested Senate election, Minnesota had only one Senator once the new Congress sat. This was "fair" because it was in accordance with the law to that date. If a Republican Governor decided to pick an interim Republican Senator just to get "two Senators" while the contest was continuing in the courts, this would have been outrageous -- Greg would certainly have decried its unfairness, as would I -- even if he had a Republican state legislature to write a new law immediately giving him this power.

Yet, there would be nothing unfair about writing such a law now prospectively, or of following such a law if it had been written prior to that election controversy. (I am speaking of fairness here, under the perhaps unwarranted assumption that there are no constitutional complications to this last, prospective action.) As in 1947, even the law's opponents would not be outraged by such a prospective law, because it would not in fact be an unfair or sleazy move to gain partisan advantage at the expense of the rule of law, as is the case now in Massachusetts.
Hi Dave!

Anyway, it should be pretty obvious here that "fair" and "legal" are divergent concepts. I think it was terribly unfair to deprive the people of Minnesota a voice in the Senate for that whole buncha months.

I know you know how recent popular election of Senators is. The fathers staffed the Senate the way they did for a reason. The Great Unwashed got a whole bunch of reps to look after their local concerns, while the Senate--a more august body--got to think about the bigger picture, outside the restrictions of elections and intramural games of grab-ass. I still think the Senate should fill that role, and have absolutely no problem with governors appointing Senators (on advice and consent of the state senate) for an interim time period while an election is contested or a Senator dies or is otherwise removed from office.

Still, the law is the law; it's not etched in stone and can be changed if enough people want it, although in this instance I don't see it happnin.

Besides, if you were Teddy, you'd at least ask, too, right? Believe me, he's not going to see any benefit from having his bill pass once his address has "Arlington National Cemetery" in it.
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