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News Ted Kennedy

  1. Aug 20, 2009 #1

    russ_watters

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    http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2009-08-20-kennedy-senate-replacement_N.htm

    If we assume for the sake of argument that he's not stepping down because he cares about his constituents and considers some of the laws up for vote right now to be very important, isn't it worse to die in the middle of his term and leave his seat unfilled - or to not be able to take part in the shaping of the laws? Isn't he acknowledging a high probability that he will not be able to fulfill the duties he was elected to do (in reality, he hasn't been, for months)? This strikes me as Brett Farve type logic where he says what he's doing is important to him, but the reality is that that's a selfish thing and by not stepping down he's harming his constituency.

    The absence of media commentary about this issue is noteworthy to me, given the large treatment John McCain's age got in the last election. The difference, of course, is that McCain's age issue was all just speculation and gambling, whereas Kennedy is already neglecting his duties.

    Ironically, part of the reason this is a problem is because of a subversion of the democratic process by the Democrats in Mass:
    I can't believe I didn't hear about that before. That sort of subversion of the democratic process is the type of thing we hear about and decry in Russia and Venezuela. I can't believe that was legal (or maybe it wasn't and its just no one chose to challenge it).
     
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  3. Aug 20, 2009 #2

    Ivan Seeking

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    When the entire population of the State is only half of that of metropolitan Los Angeles, it barely amounts to more than dirty city politics. Yeah, they need to get their act together, but Kennedy had nothing to do with laws passed previously by the State legislature, and it doesn't sound like the Dems are exactly leaping at the request. If they don't reverse the law, can you still complain?

     
  4. Aug 20, 2009 #3
    Considering what his agenda has been during his career, I wouldn't say he's neglecting his duties at all. He is honoring his duty to not violate the constitution for the first time in his life, simply by not showing up.
     
  5. Aug 21, 2009 #4

    russ_watters

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    Well in practice, sure, but he's a Senator and a powerful one.
    I know, and that's what's ironic. They "solved" one problem and they and he have created another. Had the law not been changed, his replacement could get into office sooner.
    I think you may be reading my post backwards. The new law is dirty politics. If they reverse it, that could be seen as better insofar as it would get the seat filled quicker. If you step back and think theoretically, both have pros and cons, but the part that is "dirty" is changing a law for the immediate benefit of your party or a single person. So it is dirty either way.

    And actually, I didn't start this thread to talk about Mass politics, I started it to question Kennedy's judgement! I started writing the post before reading the whole article!
     
  6. Aug 22, 2009 #5
    I read that too - it's unbelievable how many political games are played.

    This is just one more case for term limits.
     
  7. Aug 22, 2009 #6

    Vanadium 50

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    Welcome to democracy. 51% of the people can tell the other 49% what to do.

    It seems to me that there is a simple solution to this within Massachusetts law - Kennedy resigns immediately, effective six months from now, which allows a special election to be held before he steps down. There are two problems with that - an election just might have a winner in the wrong party, and Kennedy's ego probably would not permit him to ever be an ex-senator.
     
  8. Aug 22, 2009 #7
    The case for term limits is so well made that one more example has no effect. When you allow the people to vote for whomever they please, they will elect the wrong person 50% of the time.
     
  9. Aug 22, 2009 #8
    To test the limits of their power - maybe Barney Frank should be given a special life long appointment to both the House and Senate - a case could be made that it would save money in the long term?
     
  10. Aug 22, 2009 #9
    Anything but free elections?
     
  11. Aug 22, 2009 #10
    What if the people make the "wrong" decision - nope, too risky.
     
  12. Aug 22, 2009 #11

    russ_watters

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    One of the primary purposes of the (a) constitution is to prevent a "tyranny of the majority" by limiting their ability to circumvent the electoral process. Ie, the 51% can't vote to eliminate Presidential term limits because that's written into the constitution (in the form of an amendment).
    Yes, that's what I was getting at with starting the thread. The responsible thing for him to do would be to do something like that.
    And yes, those are the two reasons why he and the democrats currently in power wouldn't want it.
     
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