When Scott Brown won the Senate seat formerly held by Ted Kennedy on 19 January he provided the substance for a last laugh at Kennedy, who orchestrated the 2004 succession law revision in Massachusetts that required a special election, for a very partisan reason. John Kerry, the other Senator from the state, was running for President in 2004 (apparently thought by Kennedy to be a shoo-in?), and Kennedy wanted the law changed so the Republican Governor at the time, Mitt Romney, could not name Mr. Kerry's replacement. The law was changed to satisfy Kennedy, but Kerry didn’t win anyway, so it didn’t matter.
The 2004 revision of the law mandated that a special election be held at least 145 days after the seat becomes available, if vacated by death or whatever. Kennedy was concerned last year that such a delay could leave his fellow Democrats in the Senate one vote short of a filibuster-proof majority for months while a special election takes place. So, the Massachusetts Legislature changed the law last year to satisfy Kennedy again. Result: The Health-Care bill, Kennedy’s baby, is probably headed for oblivion, at least for a long time. Political chicanery sometimes reaps its just rewards.
The Kennedy grip on politics has been slipping for some time and perhaps now the coup de grace has been administered, at least In Massachusetts, leaving gadfly Kerry to carry whatever torch there is left, at least when he isn’t falling off his skis in Switzerland. It could be that part of the reason for Brown’s victory simply lay in the fact that even in Massachusetts folks were getting tired of the “Kennedy Legacy.”
Kennedy was capable of mean-spirited and spiteful conduct, not unusual in hordes of politicians but particularly pronounced in his case. One remembers the number he did on Bush’s nomination back in 2007 regarding the post of surgeon-general. Kennedy was the new chairman (Congress lost to democrats in 2006) of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, on which also sat Senators Clinton, Dodd, and Obama, all three running hard for the presidency.
In his opening remarks, Kennedy tore into the nominee, Dr. James Holsinger, like a wild man and stopped just short of announcing to the world that Holsinger was a liar and a bigot. In the process, he made it clear that the only thing that mattered in Holsinger's job was homosexuality – not surprising from the senator from a state where men could marry each other. Obama and Holsinger had already issued statements pronouncing judgment on the nominee before the hearing was even held. The supreme irony lay in the fact that both Kennedy and Dodd were Roman Catholics, in which denomination homosexuality is considered not only unacceptable but immoral as well.
Dr. Holsinger, a prominent cardiologist, was a member of the faculty at the Lexington, Ky., University of Kentucky Medical School, a seminary graduate, a member of the United Methodist Judicial Council since 2000 and its president since 2004 at the time. He had also served as secretary of the Commonwealth of Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services for two years and had taught at several medical schools and spent more than three decades in the Army Reserve, retiring in 1993 as a major general. In other words, his qualifications were numerous and his conduct impeccable.
Dr. Holsinger had prepared a paper entitled "Pathophysiology of Male Homosexuality” for a Methodist group in 1991. Even though plain common sense dictates that the jamming of an instrument – most any instrument – into the rectum can be extremely harmful, not just in the destruction of tissue but in the spreading of various diseases in a very sensitive area, Dr. Holsinger outlined the makeup of bodily orifices from the biological and physiological standpoint, as well as the ease/violence with which they are violated physically, and also outlined how male and female reproductive organs complement each other, while male organs do just the opposite. The paper was a scholarly approach to the matter.
That was too much for Kennedy and his committee, desperate for the gay/lesbian/transgender vote. In the hearing, Senator Mikulski (who may hate all men) appeared as a large frog about to clomp on a poor, defenseless Junebug, this one being Holsinger, whom she let it be known from the outset was deaf and dumb with respect to sexual harassment (are these democrat women-senators obsessed with sex and deviancy?). Senator Murray seemed to want Holsinger to approve fornication in the high schools (that condom/abstinence/hormone-uprising thing), but he disappointed her and said he would mention (gasp) condoms.
In any case, the nomination was never brought to the Senate floor, and the position was still vacant when Bush left office in 2009. Just part of the “Kennedy Legacy!”