Friday, September 25, 2009

GOP Fussbudgets Blow It Again

Let us sing a song, a silly song, to the Massachusetts Republican Party. Like a small animal caught by a larger one, it has figuratively rolled on its back in a defensive posture, ready to scratch and hoping to inflict a little discouraging damage.

The current expression of impotence and triviality has been fighting the interim appointment of a U.S. Senator to cast any necessary ballots between now and when a special election replaces Ted Kennedy on January 19th. While clothed in defending the commonwealth constitution, the effort really is another because-we-can one. In fact, it clearly in an admission that we are so weak, this is the only thing we can do, and so we shall.

This week has seen:
  • Slowing passage of a new version of the appointment law to permit the governor to name an interim, using a single-state-senator can stop debate for one day procedure.
  • Delayed debate a second day before backing off to prevent Senate President Therese Murray from forcing a public airing (again by rules).
  • Appealed by letter to our secretary of state to call the interim appointment unconstitutional on the moot point of whether this fits in the governor's power to claim a legislative emergency.
  • Requested an injunction hearing today at 8:00 a.m. today to spin its tiny little web and just maybe halt the appointment.

Friday p.m. update: Suffolk Superior Court Judge Thomas Connolly ruled as BMG's David supposed Gov. Patrick was within his powers to appoint the interim U.S. Senator after the legislature altered the law to allow it. He dismissed the GOP niggle.

Lawyerly David at Blue Mass Group lays out the nits and grits of the fragility of the GOP argument. Moreover, at Red Mass Group, Peter Porcupine splashes some reality in the comments. She and I generally disagree, but she's spot on here, recognizing both that this is a loser by the GOP and how utterly silly it makes the party officials look.

In reality. the local elephants have queered democracy several ways. Most obviously, the maneuvers in the senate delayed debate, which is what the process is really about.

Meanwhile, Gov. Deval Patrick appointed Paul Kirk to fill the interim spot. The latter hopped in and fired up his little ship of state to conduct business. Our local GOP is calling down the track for the train to come back. His official swearing in is on tap for 3:30 this afternoon, assuming the injunction try misses.

The Dems surely are guilty of expedience and corner cutting. They have been doing the situation-ethics thing and justifying the end of having full representation in the U.S. Senate by the means of re-changing this law to suit themselves.

Unfortunately for the local Republicans, the high dudgeon they think they are showing is low-brow and will surely not play well, even in the conservative hustings. They are happy to think they can screw the Dems and seem to forget the whole commonwealth and all its voters are actually the victims if we are underrepresented for four crucial months of key votes.

Playing the constitution card again and again and again will never turn it into a trump card.

For the many of us who would like a more robust two-party or multi-party system here, this speaks to the poverty of intellect and judgment as well as power in the GOP here. It seems most of their ilk are disguised as DINOs and are not likely to reveal themselves as crypo-Republicans and lose their General Court seats.

The state GOP is decidedly in a fix. Pulling tricks and picking nits though is certainly not the way to more members or influence. Alas, the current parliamentary maneuvering and injunction ploy end up in Emerson's classification of foolish consistency. Like a Randist who halts a public debate to niggle what he shouts is a false premise that ruins the whole argument, the local elephants here are missing the abstracts and reality in the name of precision. Put another way, they just end up looking stupid.

The proper course of action or discourse is not as clear as the failed tack they have sailed. Leading this party or even being an active member must be tough.

We should hope that as they heal from this latest battle that they examine the ideas and drop the niggling. There will be other chances to gain political advantage and there must be effective ways to benefit.

As it is, yes, the Dems can be made to wear the hypocrite hat. They changed the interim rule a few years ago to keep a Republican governor from having a chance to replace a U.S. Senator and now they re-changed it to let a Dem counterpart do it. Yet, that's not a huge boon and it's not shocking to voters that a majority party would seek political advantage by altering the rules or procedures.

Surely the Republicans can do better. Coming off as the nit pickers, they end up looking like gleaners trying to make a meal out of the field leavings. Can't they grow their own crops and convince people their meal would be better?

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1 comment:

leslie brown said...

I hope he can be as honest and loyal to the American people as our previous Senator, Kennedy!!!

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