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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Who Are You Calling A Hypocrite?

Mathew Yglesias is one of the leading liberal bloggers pushing ObamaCare KennedyCare. Since every Senate vote counts, Yglesias and other KennedyCare promoters need to justify the Massachusetts legislature's pending flip-flop on how to select a successor to Ted Kennedy, to allow the Democratic Governor to appoint a temporary (Democratic) replacement.

Under current Massachusetts law, there must be a special election and the Governor has no power of appointment. The current law is a result of Democrats changing the law in 2004 so that then Republican Governor Mitt Romney would not appoint a replacement for John Kerry in the event Kerry were elected President.

This flip-flop makes clear that those Democrats pushing to change the law once again are rank hypocrites who play games with the law for purely political purposes. These games prove why we should not trust politicians, particularly the current Democratic leadership, with our health care system.

Even the Boston Globe, which supports changing the law again, does not try to excuse what happened in 2004:
Some state lawmakers fear they will look like hypocrites if they change the law to allow for such an appointment. In fact, they will. The shift in 2004 was indeed a naked effort to block former governor Romney from appointing a fellow Republican if Senator John Kerry were to win the presidency. Kennedy himself played a behind-the-scenes role in the political sleight of hand. A Globe editorial in March 2004 took Romney’s side and urged the legislative leadership “to scuttle this undeniably partisan bill.’’ The bill passed, and its dispiriting effects are now in full force. But sticking with a bad position for the sake of consistency or to save face would hardly serve the residents of Massachusetts.
But Yglesias has figured out a way to spin 2004 and 2008 so that people who criticize the Democrats for changing the law are the ones who are hypocritical. In a post titled Strange Hypocrisy, Yglesias proposes that the legislature use whatever process best replaces the existing Senator with a person who best reflects what the voters really want:
This is being described in some quarters as “hypocritical,” which really strikes me as silly. The underlying principle here is that the outcome of senatorial vacancies should reflect the underlying preferences of the people of Massachusetts. You could imagine a different state in which the parties are much more competitive in which this bobbing and weaving really was nothing more than a transient majority in the state legislature entrenching its power. But does anyone seriously dispute that the Massachusetts electorate prefers (a) to be represented in the U.S. Senate and (b) congressional Democrats? It’s been over ten years since the Bay State sent a Republican to Congress, and the last Republican Senator lost in 1978.
But who will determine what are the "underlying preferences" of the voters, if not the voters themselves? What if the voters really want a change? Under Yglesias' theory, the Governor would have to appoint a proxy for the deceased Senator, someone who will channel the deceased Senator in a seance-like manner, regardless of the fact that every Senator -- appointed or elected -- is free to vote his or her conscience regardless of campaign positions and promises.

Yglesias could take the Boston Globe approach, and just admit that the Democrats are being hypocrites, but to allow such an admission would call into question why such hypocrites should be entrusted with our health care system. In trying to find a consistency where none exists, Yglesias unwittingly exposes the pure politics behind much Democratic rhetoric on health care restructuring.

Ezra Klein, another leading pro-KennedyCare blogger, takes Yglesias' concept one step farther, calling on each Senator to have a "living will" containing the name of his or her successor:
It's weird to give governors any autonomous role in this process. If I were writing these laws, every senator would have a "living will" of sorts that names an interim replacement in the event of their incapacitation, and those interim senators would not be able to compete in the subsequent election. And that's what Massachusetts should do. Let Patrick pick the interim senator this year, as Kennedy can't do it, but write the legislation such that it won't need to be changed every few cycles.
The fact is that good arguments can be made for allowing a temporary appointment, or a quick special election, or some combination. There is no right or wrong.

What is wrong, however, is to change the rules mid-game so as to ensure one party's predominance. It is hypocrisy plain and simple. The fact that two leading liberal proponents of KennedyCare refuse to call it as such demonstrates why we cannot trust our most intimate health care decisions to the government in general, to politicians in particular, and most of all, to the liberal intelligentsia.

You may be promised now that you can "keep your doctor" or "keep your health insurance," but who is to prevent the rules from being changed for political purposes after the fact? People who would change the law in 2004 to benefit the Democrats, then propose changing it again in 2008 to benefit the Democrats, cannot be trusted.

UPDATE: I like Jules Crittendon's take on Yglesias' spin:
Also fun is this one from my favorite not-quite-30 deep thinker, Matthew Yglesias. He’s explaining why Kenedy’s effort to prevent a Massachusets GOP governor from being able to appoint John Kerry’s replacement, and Kennedy’s deathbed effort to give appointment power back to the current Democratic governor, is not rank hypocrisy and cynical anti-democratic manipulation. The lefty lad explains that because Massachusetts politics are dominated by Democrats, it’s OK for Democrats to dominate Massachusetts politics. His explanation fails to acount for the 16 consecutive years that a succession of Republicans held the governor’s office .. which is elected statewide, as it happens … and the fact that both Kennedy and Kerry generally have lost about one-third of the votes in this bluest of states.
Related Posts:
Scripted Complaints About Conservatives Being Scripted
Rush Was Right: Dems Call For "The Kennedy Memorial Health Bill"
The Health Care Bills Still Stink

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  1. "Living Wills" to appoint a successor. Did anyone ever tell the libs that their representatives serve the people and that if they die in office they are not kings allowed to appoint a successor but that it is up to the people to decide who THEY want to represent them.
    Sometimes the gall of the left just mystifies. If a consrvative had mentioned something as violative of the Consitution as the "living will" nonsense the left would be screaming fascist all the way to MSNBC.

  2. Liberty, equality and democracy are the iron hoops that bind together the disparate staves of our society. Representing the endearing and austere beauty of sincere belief upon which this country was built. It is not a small hope that some levels of hypocrisy will be left unturned, it is not a small hope that these politicians should leave the legal process alone from the corrupting influence of base politicizing. Yet apparently, that hope is as valuable to the Democrat Party in Massachusetts as the hope the country felt for a brighter future, a future where Machiavellian shallowness would be replaced and never seen again. Which is to say, they hold such hope in the highest form of contempt and give it the lowest possible value.

    To these lawmakers, these so-called 'legislators,' Liberty and Democracy are nothing more than a sorry punch line. A bumper sticker they can pull out when they know, I know, you know and the rest of America knows: they have taken the last deposit from their morality. That there is nothing left to say, nothing left to act on and nothing left except the slowly judging mirror. Staring back at them silently mouthing the denunciations all citizens hear every time they glance over this story.

    These actions represent not a form of political thinking but instead a inconceivable moral bankruptcy. To switch the law one election; in the name of Liberty, Equality, Democracy and to change it back in... In the name of Liberty, Equality, Democracy is such an obvious indication that there are no principles left innocent from their horrific groping, it becomes a statement of reality that I cannot help but shudder at. A mental process inconsiderate to the spiritual basis upon which the entire construct - their existence included - rests upon, is a mental process not worth allowing.

  3. I don't even know why anyone posts on this blog. I have not seen a single guess, hypothesis, observations, suppositions, hunch or probable come true.

    I know that the Internet is not supposed to deal in facts. But when a blog is 0-190 at some point it should quietly go away and the blog die.

    The dishonesty and intellectual hypocrisy of this and other Internet blogs dishonors public discourse.

    Again, one person/party won. By over 9 million votes. Despite all the above comments made on blogs like this, comments and observations about affairs, dubious birthplace, unsavory associations. etcc. Either people don't care or they understood it for what it was...unquestioned/unsubstantiated garbage.

    Mass. has the right to determine how to replace one of their Senators. The wishes of one of their citizens, one who held the Senate post for over 40 years, whose family sacrificed so much for this country, should be taken into consideration.

  4. We'll get right on all that Buck.

    God bless Teddy. God save TeddyCare. Viva Teddychusetts!

    You're right Buck. The state is populated by sheep. Hasn't always been, but sure is now. So, really, there's no need for elections. Just keep it rigged. That's what the sheep prefer.