When senators become incapacitated and unable to serve, they should resign and allow competent replacements to step in.
It has been months since anyone has seen either hide or hair of two of our country’s most powerful U.S. senators, Edward Kennedy and Robert Byrd. It is unconscionable that they are allowed to continue to serve when they are clearly unable to carry out their duties.
This is not a matter of partisanship; it is a matter of governance. There exists a matter of entitlement and arrogance with members of Congress who believe that rules are for everyone else; after all, they make the rules.
Who outside of Congress would be able to continue in their employment for months and years without being competent to carry out their duties? What other job would allow subordinates to wield the power trusted to the principal? What other job would allow a worker to be fully paid without any obligation that they do any work?
The height of arrogance came this week when Sen. Kennedy sent a letter to the governor of Massachusetts as well as the leadership of the Legislature in which he requests the laws of Massachusetts be changed to allow the governor to appoint a interim replacement until a special election can take place.
He couches his request with the caveat that he is concerned with transition, “should a vacancy occur.” Kennedy is currently under a disability, which makes him unable to serve. If he cared about the people of Massachusetts and our country, he would realize this and allow for a transition now, pursuant to law, as it exists today, not what he would like it to be.
Kennedy’s real intent is to have a say in who replaces him and take away from the people of his state the right to decide who should replace him permanently by voting in a special election.
An appointee becomes a de facto incumbent and gains an unfair advantage over those who seek to fill a vacancy and Kennedy knows this very well.
We should not allow any official to rule from the grave.
Bradley A. Blakeman was deputy assistant to President George W. Bush, 2001-2004.
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