Submitted By Todd on September 22nd at 4:50pm
The state Senate passed a bill this afternoon that would allow Governor Deval Patrick to name an interim successor to Edward M. Kennedy, potentially paving the way for appointment of a new US senator later this week.The President is having so much trouble finding enough Democrats to support his health care legislation that he felt the need to put the squeeze on Democrats here to change a law in a gross political manipulation.
The Senate approved the measure by a 24-16 vote, leaving one final procedural hurdle in both chambers before the bill heads to Patrick's desk. The House and Senate are expected to enact the bill on Wednesday, a formality unlikely to derail the effort.The last time they did something this malicious was five years ago, when they created the current law calling for a special election in order to deny then-Governor Mitt Romney the power to appoint a Republican to the seat if John Kerry had won the presidency.
Patrick has pushed for the bill and could sign as early as Wednesday. Administration officials have been considering several possible appointees, but have declined to release the names out of concern that such a step could affect the legislative debate.It would seem appropriate, when they're screwing around with election laws, that changes not go into effect for some period of years. This would take away the incentive to treat them like toys to be played with for political gain, and perhaps result in legislation that can stand the test of time.
Among the names frequently mentioned by observers are Michael S. Dukakis, the former governor; Paul G. Kirk Jr., the former Democratic National Committee chairman and an aide to Kennedy; Charles J. Ogletree, Harvard Law School professor; and Evelyn Murphy, former lieutenant governor.Dems have argued that it's some sort of tragedy to be without a senator for a few months, but nobody seems disturbed over Kennedy missing 97% of the votes before his death, or when John Kerry took a year off to run for President - even while collecting full pay.