So for nearly sixty years, a Kennedy or a Kennedy family flunky has occupied the same seat in the U.S. Senate.
In an epic upset in liberal Massachusetts, Republican Scott Brown rode a wave of voter anger to win the U.S. Senate seat held by the late Edward M. Kennedy for nearly half a century, leaving President Barack Obama's health care overhaul in doubt and marring the end of his first year in office.
The loss by the once-favored Democrat Martha Coakley in the Democratic stronghold was a stunning embarrassment for the White House after Obama rushed to Boston on Sunday to try to save the foundering candidate. Her defeat on Tuesday signaled big political problems for the president's party this fall when House, Senate and gubernatorial candidates are on the ballot nationwide.
I recall all the fawning and delirium that surrounded the inauguration festivities last year and how people would have stooped to touch the hem of Obama's garment had they been able to get close enough. Almost one year later, Obama had to make a campaign stop on behalf of Coakley in a state he won by 26 points in the 2008 Presidential election. Amazingly, said visit actually seemed to be a detriment to the Coakley campaign.
Add it all up: Democrats were defeated last year in gubernatorial races in two states (Virginia and New Jersey) which went for Obama in '08 and now Brown scores a resounding Senate win in Massachusetts. Does the President really need any more evidence of a referendum against his abomination of a health care bill?
But the one aspect I can't stop thinking about is the delicious irony of a special election. It was Ted Kennedy himself who, in 2004, encouraged the Massachusetts legislature to change the law which gave the state's governor the purview to appoint a Senator to a vacated seat. Hence, a special election is now required to fill an open Senate seat in Massachusetts. The motivation behind such a law change was to prevent then Governor Mitt Romney from appointing a fellow Republican to John Kerry's senate seat had he been elected President. But Kerry lost, thus making the law change moot. Had Kennedy just left well enough alone, the authority to fill a vacant Senate seat would have remained with the Governor's office, now occupied by Democrat Deval Patrick. Think about that! It is only because of Kennedy's actions nearly six years ago that something he tried to prevent (a Republican Senator from Massachusetts) has actually come to fruition.