Friday, August 21, 2009

Hypocrisy run amok

It might come as a surprise to some that there are indeed some liberals I admire. Hubert Humphrey, for example, was an unashamed liberal, but he conducted his political life with a sense of joy and optimism that was hard not to admire.

At the other end of the spectrum is Ted Kennedy. I realize we shouldn't speak ill of the dead, but I'm not sure that rule applies to the near-dead, so I'm going to take another swing. Ted has spent years being one of the most reprehensible humans on the planet. From the time he left Mary Jo Kopchne to drown in the back seat of his car in 1969, to the character assassination of Robert Bork in 1987, right on to the present day, he's been a bastion of hypocrisy and an enemy of decent society.

The "do as I say, not as I do" attitude is all over his life. He calls himself Roman Catholic, but advocates abortion on demand. He considers himself a champion of women's rights, but has been a serial user and abuser of women his entire life. He wants to send the American economy back to the stone age by mandating wind and solar power, but has waged a decade-long fight against wind generators off the cape of Nantucket.

His latest outrage comes in the form of a request to the Massachusetts legislature regarding the rules for replacing a vacant Senate seat. Each state may create its own process for replacing a senator who dies or leaves office, and most states allow the governor to appoint someone until the next election comes around.

In 2004, however, Ted and his Bay State democrats thought Senator John Kerry was going to be the next president of the United States. (That alone says a lot about their judgment.) But if Kerry had won, the law would have allowed Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney to appoint a replacement. Since Romney was a Republican, that outcome was unacceptable to Ted and his cronies, so the (overwhelmingly Democrat) Massachusetts legislature changed the law, prohibiting the governor from appointing an interim senator, and requiring that the seat be left vacant until a special election could be called "145 to 160 days after a vacancy occurs."

Now, with death around the corner and the Democrats holding 60 votes (the filibuster-proof number of seats) in the Senate, Ted's had a change of heart. He wrote a letter to the governor and legislature this week, expressing his concern that, in the event of a vacancy, it "concerns me deeply" that Massachusetts could go 145 days with only one senator.

He even is able to - with a straight face - write “I strongly support that law and the principle that the people should elect their Senator," while at the same time urging the repeal of a law that provides for just that.

It's typical of the entire Kennedy clan: There is no law or principle that can stand in the way of political expedience.

Regardless of who eventually fills this seat, the country will be better off without a Senator Kennedy.

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