Let me take you back to 2004. The Presidential election campaigns (Bush v. Kerry) were at full throttle.
When the polls began showing Massachusetts Senator John Kerry taking a slight lead over George W. Bush, fellow Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy moved into action. If Kerry was elected President, his Senate seat would become vacant thereby allowing then Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, a Republican, to pick a temporary successor so that the State would have representation until the next election when a formal replacement could be elected.
Well, we all know enough about politics to know that a Republican Governor isn’t going to choose a Democratic replacement, regardless of popularity or qualifications. That would be simply unfathomable in today’s political climate of “What can I do to screw the other side today.” Ted Kennedy, serving over four decades as a Senator, and the Democrat cronies of Washington, all being of the same mindset (“who can we screw today”), began secretly bantering around the possibility of promoting the idea that the Governor shouldn’t be allowed to just pick a successor at-will but rather the “people” should be the ones who do that, thus, the end result being that the Senate seat would and should be left vacant until a special election could be completed (in some 4-6 months).
Eric Fehrnstrom, Governor Romney’s communication director, said at the time,
“John Kerry and his supporters are doing everything but measuring for drapes at the White House.”
Fehrnstrom went on to explain that the last time a temporary appointment was done, it was by a Democratic governor, and the Democrats didn’t have a problem with that. Why do they now suddenly have a problem?
As it it turns out, everyone knew but were trying to play coy and pretending that no one realized what was at stake. If the Democrats were to gain just one Senate seat in the upcoming election, they would have a 50-50 dead even split in Senate. But, should Kerry also win the White House and tender his resignation from the Senate, the odds would shift to 50-49 and tip in favor of the Republicans. Even more damaging would be if the Massachusetts Governor appointed a Republican interim replacement for Kerry’s vacant seat making the odds even greater, 51-49, in favor of the Republicans. The Governor would have to be prevented from making such an appointment. But how?
The idea, which was already hatched and in motion, was let loose on the public — that appointing senators willy-nilly was not the job of the governor but rather the people and that the governor shouldn’t be allowed to circumvent the will of the people of Massachusetts. Representative William M. Straus, a local Democrat from Mattapoisett, was tagged as the person who would put his name on the proposed legislative change, all the while insisting that he was not being partisan. Yeah right. Senator Kennedy quickly threw his support behind the change and began pressuring legislative leaders to approve it. Keep in mind, this is all some eight or nine months before the presidential election has even occurred. The Democrats hadn’t even won the White House yet!!
All of this action was put into motion just because the polls showed Kerry-Edwards taking a lead over the Bush-Chenney ticket. The Republicans shouted from the roof tops that the Democrats were acting far too prematurely and that the move was strictly politically motivated — but no one in the State of Massachusetts was listening let alone cared. Consequently, the change was approved and the Governor of Massachusetts was stripped of the power to appoint an interim Senator in case of a vacancy. A special election would be now be required, taking 4-6 months, during which time the seat would remain vacant until filled by the voters of the state. A victory for the Democrats — or so it would seem at the time.
Several things occurred which left the Democrats crying like little children. First, Kerry lost the White House to George W. Bush; and second, taking us to the present day, Ted Kennedy has been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and is not expected to live much longer yet the Democrat Governor cannot appoint a interim successor to fill his Senate seat should he pass away or resign. Why, because the Democrats thought it best to take that power away from the Governor in 2004 for their own selfish motives. Screw the people, this is politics at its finest.
Why does all of this matter in 2009? Because now the Democrats are worried, and rightfully so, that they will not be able to muster enough votes, even among their own party, to pass their proposed health care reform, an issue causing division not only among people in general but among Democrats themselves. So, when a Republican Governor would have appointed an interim Republican Senator in 2004 it was “a bad thing” but now that Massachusetts has a Democrat Governor who will appoint a Democrat interim Senator if the law were to change back, it’s “a good thing.” Hence, the Democrats want the law changed — again. Amazingly, it is Ted Kennedy himself again, or his people most likely because we all know he is a blithering vegetable about now, who sends a letter to the Governor and Legislative Leaders “urging” them to “amend the law,” i.e., undo what he did in 2004, because he miraculously NOW believes that, “it is vital to the Commonwealth to have two voices speaking for the needs of its citizens” between the vacancy and any election. I can’t imagine why it wasn’t “vital” in 2004. Can you? This whole situation brings “annoying” to a new level.