OK, Katie. I hear what you're saying. And in theory, I agree. The current law in Massachusetts─the one that prevents a sitting governor ─
So what to do? Ask the GOP to play nice. As all good U.S. History 101 students know, it requires only a simple majority of votes to pass a bill in the Senate; the Democrats currently have 59. What Dems are afraid of, then, is a Republican filibuster, which takes 60 yeas to defeat. But there's no reason why the GOP has to automatically filibuster. What if Senate Democrats─or, even better, President Obama─went on TV and used the full power of the bully pulpit to pressure some of Kennedy's former Republican chums, the ones who used to work with him regularly on bipartisan legislation, to agree not to support a GOP filibuster if (and only if) exactly 59 Democrats voted to move forward. Oppose us on this, the Dems could say, and we'll make sure everyone knows that you gleefully seized on the death of an old friend as an opportunity to advance your own interests.
Ultimately, I know that my plan is impractical. Revising the flawed Massachusetts law is easier, and it's not like the GOP, which has placed all its chips on obstructionism in recent months, would ever cooperate. That said, the "play nice" solution would preserve the will of the people, avoid the hypocritical spectacle we're seeing up in Massachusetts and manage to restore some measure of dignity to Washington in the process.
A boy can dream, no?
Looks like I'm not the only blogger to think along these lines. Great minds...