Monday, January 18, 2010

The Constitution Counts? The Honest Ending to Senator Kennedy's Life

The late Senator Edward Kennedy was a Democrat deeply admired by most of those in power in our federal government. And he was voting with that "60 seat majority" of Democrats in the Senate, to which pundits have ascribed tremendous importance.

When Senator Kennedy died on August 25th, why were we told about that? Would those in power in Washington be better off pretending he was still alive (it happened with Franco, and other powerful politicians)? Maybe having a look-alike come and cast his votes?

Obviously the answer is "no" -- the public was in fact told about the Senator's death. But why, exactly, did those in power judge that honesty was their best policy in this case?

One hypothesis is that, thanks to the U.S. Constitution, those in power would be severely punished for this type of dishonesty (interestingly, the punishment for their other types of dishonesty is often quite mild).

Another hypothesis (and not necessarily contradicting the first) is that the pundits have exaggerated the importance of the 60 seat majority. In reality, 59 seats are almost as good as 60. Congress and the President have accomplished nothing with 60 Democrat seats -- is it so crazy that they would also accomplish nothing with 59?

So even a small punishment for covering up the Senator's death would be enough to prevent such a cover-up, because that 60th vote is not really worth all that much.

It only makes sense that Senator Kennedy's life ended honestly, and his death did not initiate a massive and thoughtful Democratic party expenditure to keep the Massachusetts Senate seat Democrat.

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