It was pure naked political motivation that led Massachusetts Democrats to strip the state’s governor of the right to appoint an interim US senator in the event of a vacancy. And that same motivation is pushing them to restore it.
The vacancy, of course, was created by the passing of Ted Kennedy. And one of the last political maneuvers in Kennedy’s long career was an attempt to change the succession laws back the way they were prior to the 2004 change.
That event was the presence of Republican Mitt Romney as governor. Democrats did not want him picking a successor to John Kerry (D-MA) in the event he defeated George Bush for the presidency.
Now, with a big agenda ahead of them this fall, prominently featuring Kennedy’s signature issue of health care, they do not want to go five or six months with only one senator from Massachusetts.
Kennedy had asked that a temporary appointee promise not to run for the seat.
Legislators seemed initially cool to the idea, but Gov. Deval Patrick says he would support it and according to the New York Times, the legislature will take the matter up next month.
RBR/TVBR observation: Politics is power. Democrats contol Massachusetts. If they decide they want to do this, they will, much like Tom DeLay (R-TX) redrew Congressional boundaries in Texas unconventionally between censuses. One thing won’t change – there will still be windfall political spending when the matter goes before the voters. And Republican outrage at Democratic maneuvering just might assist their fundraising efforts.