The Wall Street Journal exposes one more scurrilous act being attempted by Teddy before this old socialist kicks the bucket.
Senator Ted Kennedy, who is gravely ill with brain cancer, has sent a letter to Massachusetts lawmakers requesting a change in the state law that determines how his Senate seat would be filled if it became vacant before his eighth full term ends in 2012. Current law mandates that a special election be held at least 145 days after the seat becomes available. Mr. Kennedy is concerned that such a delay could leave his fellow Democrats in the Senate one vote short of a filibuster-proof majority for months while a special election takes place.
“I therefore am writing to urge you to work together to amend the law through the normal legislative process to provide for a temporary gubernatorial appointment until the special election occurs,” writes the Senator.
What Mr. Kennedy doesn’t volunteer is that he orchestrated the 2004 succession law revision that now requires a special election, and for similarly partisan reasons. John Kerry, the other Senator from the state, was running for President in 2004, and Mr. Kennedy wanted the law changed so the Republican Governor at the time, Mitt Romney, could not name Mr. Kerry’s replacement. “Prodded by a personal appeal from Senator Edward M. Kennedy,” reported the Boston Globe in 2004, “Democratic legislative leaders have agreed to take up a stalled bill creating a special election process to replace U.S. Senator John F. Kerry if he wins the presidency.” Now that the state has a Democratic Governor, Mr. Kennedy wants to revert to gubernatorial appointments.
Beacon Hill has long sported heavy Democratic majorities, so the state legislature has the votes to grant Mr. Kennedy’s wish. But does it have the chutzpah? An election is the more democratic option. After witnessing recent attempts by incompetent Governors in Illinois and New York to fill Senate vacancies, Massachusetts voters may have soured on such appointments. Especially when Mr. Kennedy’s motivation for changing the law is so obviously born of partisan interest, not principle.