Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

Democratic mess of succession law in 2004 brought us Senator Scott Brown

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So much for predictions: analysis is more my game…

Edward Brooke. There’s a name you rarely hear despite his prominent place in political trivia, and recent link to an affair with Barbara Walters. Brooke is the first elected U.S. senator of African descent. For our purposes, Brooke is also the last Republican in the Senate from Massachusetts.

Of course, this will change in a matter of days, since Scott Brown defeated Martha Coakley to finish out the Senate seat for the late Ted Kennedy.

Yes, this make the health care bill — so decrepit even before Tuesday night that it needed repair, preferably not in the United States — much more difficult to pass.

But let’s go back to the reason this happened in the first place. Massachusetts was like many states, where the governor got to pick a replacement for a senator who leaves office or dies. This rule was in place in 2004 when John Kerry was running for president. The Massachusetts governor at the time — Mitt Romney — would likely have picked a Republican replacement for Kerry should Kerry have won the 2004 race (for the moment, never minded that Kerry likely did win that race).

The Democratic Party freaked out and didn’t want that scenario to occur. So they “brilliantly” changed the rules — creating a 5-month stretch where the Bay State wouldn’t have a senator, and then the people would elect someone to fill out the rest of the term.

Given that the 5-month interim stretch with no senator was likely against the U.S. Constitution, the law passed. And the Democrats looked bad when this happened in 2004. Then, of course, Kerry “didn’t win.”

Fast-forward to 2009. Ted Kennedy has died. Massachusetts has no senator, but ironically, has a Democratic governor in Deval Patrick. If the change in law hadn’t occurred, Patrick would have selected an interim senator, possibly Sen. Paul Kirk (the result of a new law passed by Democrats in 2009 to allow for an interim senator until the special election) until January 2013. Again, Democrats in Massachusetts changed the law twice, each time to serve their needs. And the first change was likely unconstitutional.

Combine all this changing of laws to temporarily suit political purposes, and a competent yet not-great candidate in an era of teabagging anger, even in blue states, and now the GOP has 41 senators, filibuster-proof.

Laws are designed to fit all scenarios. Changing laws on a whim looks bad, even if the second changes were designed to fix the first one. Voters see through this masquerade, even if politicians are still behind the mask.

Republicans may be correctly despised for their nefarious activities. But they didn’t do a whole lot in this case; Democratic people did this to themselves.

Scott Brown will be in the U.S. Senate until January 2013. Democrats will have that much time to figure out how that happened. Hope they use a mirror.

NOTE: Democracy Soup will kick up more media criticism coverage as part of the political blog. Let’s start with the alarming lack of coverage over who Scott Brown and Martha Coakley are. Yes, this is a special election. But the MSM focused on all the positives of Brown and the negatives of Coakley on a level that was embarassing, even by MSM standards.

The left-wing media dug up plenty of material on Brown, could have been spoon-fed to the MSM, but the MSM wouldn’t bite. And Coakley’s track record as Attorney General made her a fine candidate for the Senate. Yes, Brown was the better candidate on a superficial basis, and not just in looks. But this was no excuse to not paint the two major rivals in this race with truthful brushes. Let the voting public see who these two really are, and let the voters decide. That is true democracy; what the MSM gave us in this race was a travesty of any sense of democracy.


Written by democracysoup

January 20, 2010 at 11:32 am

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