Simply electing Kerry will not be enough to end the long national nightmare of Bush's reign of error. The division of power in both houses of congress will likely remain close, with a very good possibility that the Republicans will still control both. Naturally, it would be easier to roll back the damage of the last four years if we controlled one or both houses. So every seat counts. One of the ironies of this race is that Massachutsetts has a Republican Governor, Mitt Rommney, and he will be appointing Kerry's replacement—no doubt a fellow Republican. Or would have been.
If John Kerry is elected president, his seat in the U.S. Senate would be filled by the winner of a special election rather than a successor hand-picked by Republican Gov. Mitt Romney, under a bill approved Wednesday by the Massachusetts Senate.
The Senate voted along party lines, 32-8, after a sometimes testy debate pitting the badly outnumbered Republicans, who opposed the change, against Democrats.
This is clearly a case of a legislature passing a law for the special benefit of one person, something that is usually considered unethical. For the record, I am usually opposed to that sort of behavior.
The main mitigating circumstance I can suggest is that there has been a national movement building for a while to change the form of replacement from governors’ appointments to special elections. There have been enough abuses of this gubernatorial power in the—appointments from the other party seen as defying the will of the people and nepotism—that many states would rather hold immediate special elections. Appointments made sense when communication was slow and it would have taken some time to organize an election, especially in some of the larger states. That is no longer the case. Thus a law passed primarily to benefit Kerry will have wider positive effects in the future. The second, and more petty, mitigating circumstance is that the Republicans have doing a lot of special legislation lately for the benefit of their party and candidate—think Texas re-redistricting and all the states that moved their filing deadlines so Bush could exploit 9/11 at his nomination. Turnabout is fair play.
Whether or not it makes me a hypocrite, I’m celebrating this gain for our side.