Just when you thought it was impossible for the Massachusetts legislature, the Boston Globe or Governor Deval Patrick to be any more corrupt, they descend to new lows. Yesterday the state Senate voted, mostly along party lines, to give Governor Deval Patrick the authority to appoint an interim Senator to fill Ted Kennedy’s seat in Washington until a special election is held in January. The House voted similarly a few days ago.
The corruption lies in the history of this decision. In the fall of 2004, during Senator John Kerry’s failed Presidential bid, with the polls indicating that Kerry might win the Presidency and thus vacate his Senate seat, the overwhelmingly Democratic legislature (mostly the same people still in office today) voted to take appointment power away from then Governor, Republican Mitt Romney. The legislators all got up and spoke of how it was important for the people to have a voice even though anyone being honest with themselves knew full well that if the Governor at the time were a Democrat, their would have been no discussion of such a measure.
Fast forward five years to the passing of Senator Kennedy. Within 48 hours of his death, the talk began that although there would be a special election in just five months, the citizens of Massachusetts simply couldn’t survive without two Senators representing them in the interim. Never mind that during his Presidential run Kerry was almost entirely absent from the Senate for 18 months. Neither does it matter to the pontificators of this drivel that during his illness Kennedy missed more than a year and hundreds of votes. Nope, now that the Commonwealth has a Democrat in the Governor’s mansion, the legislature wants him to have appointment power. Could these pols be any more disingenuous?
In 2004, Senator Kennedy wrote a letter to the legislature stressing that the Democratic process demanded that the people, not the then Republican Governor, be given the power to replace Senator Kerry. Just prior to his death last month, Kennedy wrote another letter completing reversing himself, saying that the now Democratic Governor should be allowed to appoint an interim replacement. He didn’t spell it out, but clearly his fear was that the Democrats in the U.S. Senate might be short the needed votes to ram health care legislation down America’s throat. Not to be outdone, the Boston Globe fails to even point out the hypocrisy, saying nothing of Kennedy’s letter from 2004 or of the legislators who flip-flopped between 2004 and 2009.
Today the story takes an even more stunning ‘only-in-Massachusetts‘ twist. For legislation to take effect immediately, rather than after the normal 90 day review period, there must be an emergency preamble attached and both houses must pass the measure with a two-thirds majority. This bill contained the preamble, but did not pass either house with the required 67%. Now the corrupt Governor and his Democratic cronies in the legislature are ignoring the law and claiming he can simply declare an emergency and appoint someone. Of course, this position will lose in court as it is completely un-Constitutional, but in all likelihood, by then the Governor will have appointed someone and the damage will be done.
Two weeks from now those challenging the Governor’s appointment will look mean-spirited and/or petty to the citizenry, who in all honesty are not paying close enough attention to the corruption on Beacon Hill. Truth be told, the corruption in the Commonwealth is so bad, and has been for so long, that the people have ceased to pay attention entirely. Which, like cockroaches with the kitchen lights turned off, is exactly the environment your Democratic representatives hope for and thrive in.