Honestly, we’re only surprised the votes were that close. In a move state Republicans called “a stunning example of Democrat hypocrisy,” the Massachusetts legislature voted to reverse a 2004 law that permitted filling vacancies in the United States Senate only through a special election. This power play immediately paved the way for Democrat Governor Deval Patrick to name former Ted Kennedy aide Paul Kirk as the former’s successor, thus preserving the Democrats’ 60-seat majority in the United States Senate. Kirk will occupy the seat at least until a Jan. 19 special election.
The 2004 law providing for a special election was hastily passed as a backup plan in the event that John Kerry won the White House because a Republican, then-Gov. Mitt Romney, would have selected his successor. Ironically, Bay State Republicans submitted a similar bill back in 2006, but it was defeated in the Massachusetts House by the overwhelmingly Democrat majority because Romney was still governor. Only when the governor’s chair was safely in Democrat hands could such a bill be considered, despite the current high-minded Democrat rhetoric of maintaining two voices for the state in the United States Senate. Such hypocrisy, unfortunately, will only be rewarded by Massachusetts voters. Republicans have called the move unconstitutional and have taken the matter to court.