Thursday, August 27, 2009

Massachusetts: Just say No!!!!

Yesterday an Icon in the political landscape succumbed to the illness that had kept him from performing his duties as the Senator of Massachusetts. Sen. Ted Kennedy who had been battling a tumor took his last breath and will be buried Saturday in Arlington National Cemetery alongside his two brothers. The vacuum left by Sen. Kennedy will be missed by the left as he was often dubbed the "Liberal Lion". Once Minnesota's Senate race was decided the Democrats held a 60-seat filibuster proof Senate majority. With the death of Sen. Kennedy and the law in Massachusetts the filibuster proof hold for Democrats is no longer. Or is it? The Massachusetts state law stipulates that in cases when a Senate seat becomes vacant during term a special election will take place 5 months after the seat become vacant.

A push in Massachusetts, both locally and nationally, is being made to pressure the state to change the law to give Democrat Gov. Deval Patrick to power to appoint an interim Senator until a special election can be had. Several weeks back Sen. Kennedy sent a letter to the Democrat hierarchy of the state to make a case to change the law and give power to the governor to appoint an interim Senator. Up until yesterday the major players in Massachusetts Democrat hierarchy had remained silent when Gov. Patrick broke that silence by saying to the Boston Globe, "I'd like the Legislature to take up the bill quickly and get it to my desk and I will sign it." While I recognize that having both Senate seats is critical to keeping ones state's voice heard in the Senate, it is the political game that is being played out that sickens me.

Back in 2004 the Democrats in Massachusetts legislature rejected the very legislation that is being discussed right now. At that time it appeared likely that Sen. Kerry would be elected President of the United States and to ensure that Massachusetts had equal representation in the Senate a bill was proposed to give the governor the power to appoint an interim Senator. The bill was voted down because the governor at the time was Rep. Gov. Mitt Romney. It appears that hypocrisy is seeping into the political game once again.

The health care debate is an important one and having all voices equally represented is important. That being said, perhaps Massachusetts should stay the course to allow the debate on how to reform health care rage on. President Obama has an ambitious goal of getting reform done by year end. While I commend the president for setting a goal, I do not see it as realistic especially in light of recent deficit reports. The current tab is outrageous and it doesn't even include $1.2T health care reform or the "Cap and Tax" program.

If Massachusetts reverses course to appease the Democrats it will be an abuse of political power. The citizens of Massachusetts ought to be ashamed of themselves if they allow their politicians to entertain legislation to change the process for filing vacant Senate seats. We in Minnesota saw the abuse of political power during the Franken and Coleman debacle. Citizens of Massachusetts learn from the mistakes of Minnesota and demand your state legislature leave the status quo alone.