Why Did Sen. Kennedy Remain in the Senate Until his Death? - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Why Did Sen. Kennedy Remain in the Senate Until his Death?

The papers are filled with stories on Sen. Ted Kennedy.  Even the Washington Times devotes its entire front page to the “Liberal Lion.”

Yet politics can’t wait.  Democrats are in a hurry to fill Sen. Kennedy’s seat.  That comes as no surprise in Washington.  Whatever his colleagues in the Democratic caucus really think of him, they can count votes.  And they want that 60th Democratic seat filled.

But would it be too churlish to note that the reason the seat is presently vacant is because Sen. Kennedy insisted on remaining in office until his death?  He was diagnosed with brain cancer 15 months ago.  Although he made a few celebrated public appearances, most dramatically at the Democratic National Convention, he has essentially been absent from the Senate, and his duties, for more than a year.  If he, and his colleagues, had been truly concerned about maintaining representation for the people of Massachusetts, he could have quit months ago, allowing the special election to already have been run.

I’m not begrudging him his decision to hang on.  He’s not the first nor will he be the last legislator to do so.  And the majority of his constituents probably supported his decision.  But elected office is not personal property, something that is yours irrespective of circumstances.  When your illness prevents you from carrying out the minimal duties of the office, and your diagnosis is terminal, shouldn’t you resign?

I know, I know, it seems crass to ask.  But I wouldn’t bring it up had not Sen. Kennedy himself urged Massachusetts legislators to replace special election–the very “reform” he successfully advocated in 2004 to prevent then Gov. Mitt Romney from filling Sen. John Kerry’s seat if Sen. Kerry had defeated George W. Bush in the presidential race–with gubernatorial appointment in the name of maintaining Senate representation for the people of Massachusetts.  The hypocrisy is glaring, but not at all unusual in Washington.  But the fact that Sen. Kennedy’s actions are what deprived his constituents of representation at this time is unusual.

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