22 September 2009

Oh, We Were Just Kidding

Every time you turn around, it seems that politicians are breaking promises or going back on their word.  But today, a new low was reached in political hypocrisy.

Today, the Massachusetts Senate voted to allow Governor Deval Patrick to appoint someone to fill the late Sen. Edward Kennedy’s seat until the special election on 19 January 2010.  Now, I have no issue with this application of gubernatorial power, since many states allow similar appointments.

But here’s where the blatant hypocrisy comes in.

In 2004, the Massachusetts legislative branch, controlled then as now by the Democrats, voted to remove the Governor’s power to appoint an interim Senator in the case of an early vacancy of a seat.  This gubernatorial prerogative in the succession law had been in place for decades.  However, the Massachusetts Democrats, expecting that Senator John Kerry would win the presidential election, were afraid that then-Governor Mitt Romney (a Republican) would appoint a Republican to fill Kerry’s seat.  So they changed the law to block Romney from appointing an interim replacement, thus requiring the seat to remain empty until a special election.  Well, alright – political maneuvering, but that’s to be expected.

Now, following Senator Kennedy’s death, the seat is open and the Democrats no longer have a filibuster-proof majority in the U.S. Senate.  So since the Democrat’s health care plan is expected to come up for a vote in the U.S. Senate prior the Massachusetts special election, the Massachusetts Senate has voted to change the Succession Law AGAIN, in their favor.  And the Massachusetts House is expected to act in the same manner.

One might ask why would they do this, as if it wasn’t obvious.  It’s because the Governor of Massachusetts is now a Democrat, and they know that he will appoint a Democrat to temporarily fill the seat.  This person will allow them to do an end run around the Republican Senators, as he/she will undoubtedly vote to cut off debate and vote in favor of the Democrat health care bill.

Frightened that they would be unable to ramrod their unpopular health care bill through the U.S. Senate, the Democrats see no problem with changing laws as they see fit, to benefit their agenda.  Political hypocrisy at it’s finest.

And lest we think this is a new development, we should note that the idea of changing the law was floated last month by none other than Senator Kennedy, himself.  He said that he did support the 2004 law and the principle behind it, but nonetheless, saw no problem with changing the law he “supports” in order to maintain a partisan advantage.

One more tidbit in this farcical play.  A month ago, when this clutching to power was discussed in anticipation of Senator Kennedy’s impending death, the White House said that they would treat this as purely a state matter.  Yet at Kennedy’s funeral, Pres. Obama personally talked with Gov. Patrick to encourage him to push for a change in the law, so Obama’s health care goals wouldn’t be impeded.  This info came directly from Gov. Patrick, last Friday.

So President Obama not only went back on his word to stay out of it, but didn’t have the common decency to avoid playing backroom politics at Senator Kennedy’s funeral.  That’s not only sad; it gives us a little bit of insight into Barack Obama’s character.

People who don’t agree with me might say that the Republicans would do the same thing in the same situation.  Maybe so, but hypothetical scenarios don’t matter.  Reality matters.

So there it is, my friends.  Another example of why the American population doesn’t trust politicians.  Time and again, their actions can be summed up with the phrase, “Oh, we were just kidding.”