Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Sal DiMasi: Government by Decree

So, the whole thing about needing a special election should Senator Kennedy resign...House Speaker Sal DiMasi says "never mind":

BOSTON — The leader of the Massachusetts House says he will support giving Gov. Deval Patrick the power to appoint an interim successor to U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy if that becomes necessary.

The Democratic-controlled Legislature stripped Republican Gov. Mitt Romney of that authority in 2004 because of fears he would name a Republican to replace U.S. Sen. John Kerry if he had been elected president.

Instead, state law now requires a special election for the seat no sooner than 145 days and no later than 160 days after the vacancy occurs.

But House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi said yesterday if Kennedy should step aside or have to be replaced because of his brain tumor diagnosis, he'd be in favor of a gubernatorial appointment.

"That was a good political reason (then)," DiMasi said of taking the power away from Romney. "It's a good political reason to change it back."

No, Mr. Speaker, bald-faced politics was not a good reason then, and would not be a good reason now. If one wants to argue that the law needed to be changed in 2004 because it was a bad law, I can get behind that (although I don't think it was necessarily a bad law). But to suggest that the old law was bad because the governor was a Republican, but now that the governor is a Democrat it was a good idea after

It seems to me that if the legislature changes the law each time it suits the Speaker or his party (in this case, my party) our government ceases to be a government of laws, but rather government by decree.

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