Boston's bequeathed hypocrisy

Now that Senator Ted Kennedy’s path in this life has been laid to rest and the laurels have been cast in his memory, it is time to speak plainly both on matters the Senator was involved in and those he set into motion. In his final days, the Senator engaged in, and urged his Democrat colleagues to assist with, one of the more rank examples of hypocrisy you’re likely to find.

In 2004 when fellow Democrat Senator John Kerry was making his run for the White House, Kennedy urged his fellow Democrats in the Massachusetts legislature to make a change to the state’s law. At that time the law stated that should a representative to Congress – such as Senator Kerry – become unable to fulfill the term of his office, the Governor of Massachusetts would appoint a replacement. That replacement would serve the remainder of the representative’s term whereupon the next election would decide the permanent replacement. The Governor at the time was Mitt Romney, a Republican. Concerned that Romney would appoint a Republican to replace Kerry should Kerry win the 2004 election, Kennedy argued that the vacant seat should be decided by a special election. The voters of Massachusetts (presumably solidly Democrat), not the Governor (a Republican) would decide who got to fill Kerry’s seat.

Well, the legislation passed but Kerry didn’t so Kennedy’s doomsday vision never came to pass. But the state law was changed and remained so. The years passed and Kennedy’s diagnosis was discovered. When it became clear that his cancer would not be treatable, however, Kennedy began to take stock of the situation regarding his own seat. With the Massachusetts Governor’s house now in Democrat hands, he knew he could rely on this Governor to pick a Democrat replacement. Voters, however, can be fickle. And that’s when Kennedy made the suggestion – the impassioned plea, in fact – that the state law be changed back to the way it was.

Any honest, serious person must admit that this is the very definition of hypocrisy. Kennedy’s argument before 2004 was that the people deserved to choose their representation, not have it appointed by the Governor. Suddenly, with the Governor being from the same party as Kennedy that’s no longer a problem?

No. If Massachusetts wants to change their laws back to the way they were, fine. But they should do so only after this vacancy is filled by the special election Kennedy fought so hard to enable. Is it clearly obvious that Kennedy and his supporters wanted the laws changed to benefit themselves and it is equally clear that they want them changed back for the same reason. Any of their arguments offered outside of that reason were just so much hot air and they should be forced to live with that decision now that it’s come home to them.

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