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Author Topic: Ted Kennedy's replacement process
Talltwin
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It appears that Ted Kennedy is asking the Mass. legislature to change the process by which a senator who cannot finish his term (by death or other process (election to other office) BACK to what it was before he asked that it be changed to now (as a result of John Kerry's possible election to higher office).

He has not made a substantive vote in the past 15 months. Should he not retire and let the process take its course?

Just frustrated with the continued gaming of the system.

And I know that a Republican could just a likely "game" the system - and I don't like that either.

talltwin

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Stevarooni
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quote:
Originally posted by Talltwin:
Just frustrated with the continued gaming of the system.

And I know that a Republican could just a likely "game" the system - and I don't like that either.

Ayep. If it wasn't right for a (name a party) governor to be able to choose the next Senator, it shouldn't be right for a (choose a different party) governor to be able to choose the next Senator. Here's a bit of duplicity (CNN):
quote:
Originally posted on CNN.com:
In a letter to Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and other state leaders, Kennedy said he supports the current law, "[ b]ut I also believe it is vital for this Commonwealth to have two voices speaking for the needs of its citizens and two votes in the Senate during the approximately five months between a vacancy and an election."

If I read it right, the intent of the original law was to eliminate the governor's choice of a (temporary) Senator until an election. The original law essentially mandated that there'd be no temporary Senator, but that there'd be a special election held within 6 or 7 month. Senator Kennedy seems to be implying that that's no longer a viable option, that every day counts when it comes to Senate votes, despite apparently not being important for the previous five years. Not entirely a repudiation of the old law, but it's certainly a 180° take on the authority of the governor.

[ August 24, 2009, 11:02 AM: Message edited by: Stevarooni ]

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IrishTD
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I do like how the linked CNN article avoids mentioning that Teddy helped push through the 2004 change.
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Talltwin
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It is also interesting that the "original" structure the state used was changed when Teddy acquired his seat. The law was set so that a "placekeeper" would have the seat until Teddy was old enough to qualify for the seat.

It amazes me how closely the good of the state appears to match the good of TK.

It is my understanding the Mary Jo Kopechne was not asked her opinion about these changes.

talltwin

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cherrypoptart
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This is a great story. I heard it on the radio as well. I doubt you'll see anybody trying to defend this blatant power grab by the dems, sticking their fingers in the eye of democracy as they do whenever democracy is being inconvenient.

CNN: We report (half the story), you decide (not knowing all of the facts).

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hobsen
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The mistake was probably in removing the power to make a temporary appointment from the governor in the first place, for which the Kennedys may have been responsible. Returning to the former practice would be in line with what the law provides in many other states. Obviously the change should be made in such a way that no one gains too much political advantage, but that does not mean it is not a good change in itself. As for the fact that Edward Kennedy has been in effect so disabled as to be unable to carry out his duties, that often occurs in the case of widely respected men with long seniority. Nobody really wants them to go, and nobody may have power to force them to do so, or be willing to risk the political fallout from their outraged friends if that happens.
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Pyrtolin
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Also health care reform has been one of Kennedy's driving goals for most of his time in Congress, if a bill manages to get though, I imagine that he'll probably have himself wheeled in to vote on it, then resign shortly after it's signed.
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Talltwin
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The rumor mill is that he wants to have his wife or nephew appointed to take his place. Nothing like keeping it in the family.

talltwin

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hobsen
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Massachusetts resembles Illinois in that it divides politically between a Democratic metropolitan area and the Republican remainder of the state. In both cases, the Democrats have enough votes to do what they want, provided they can keep their factions together. But the other side of that coin is that any Democratic faction can threaten convincingly to pull out of an election and let the Republicans win, unless it gets what it wants. So the Kennedys could withdraw their support in the next election and probably take away enough votes to make Governor Patrick lose. Thus Patrick has an incentive to resolve this situation in some way Senator Kennedy finds acceptable.

That contrasts with my state of California which is so heavily Democratic no faction has that power. It used to have some Republican districts - the last may be gone now - and individual Republicans like Schwarzenegger may get elected on the basis of their personal popularity. But a couple of powerful politicians, or a single interest group, cannot blackmail their whole party by threatening to throw the election to the Republicans. Politics in states like California requires less trading of favors to put together a coalition, but the perpetual dominance of one party may make it more corrupt, although that does not always happen.

[ August 25, 2009, 01:10 PM: Message edited by: hobsen ]

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IrishTD
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talltwin,

do you read the WSJ's opinion column "best of the web today" by any chance?

[ August 25, 2009, 01:09 PM: Message edited by: IrishTD ]

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Talltwin
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I have today's Best of the Web, but don't see anything specific to the Kennedy issue.

talltwin

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IrishTD
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I had to ask b/c most references to Teddy in Best of the Web refer to Mary Jo in one way or another.
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Talltwin
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I have had an issue with Teddy and his handling of that issue, as well as other alcohol related issues, for many years.

When I would here TK make fun of GWB as a child of priviledge who got where he was because of family connections, I found it hard to control my laughter.

talltwin

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