Monday, March 24, 2014

A Kennedy For Connecticut?

State Senator Edward Meyer of the 12th District has decided, following nine year run in the General Assembly,  to call it a day.

A New Haven paper is reporting that Ted Kennedy Jr. will decide within two weeks whether he wishes to occupy the soon to be vacant seat. Mr. Kennedy is the son of the late Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy.

Following Mr. Meyer’s announcement, Mr. Kennedy praised the departing senator “for his outstanding service … and for the exceptional work that he has done for the entire state of Connecticut. Through dedication, keen intellect and personal commitment to constituent services, Ed has given us a stronger state, especially in the areas of public safety, economic development and environmental protection.”

Among other long term considerations, Mr. Kennedy may be pondering the quickest route to the U.S. Congress. Hillary Clinton, the wife of President Bill Clinton, ran for the U.S. Senate from New York after Daniel Patrick Moynihan retired. She then ran for President, losing to current President Barack Obama, who appointed her Secretary of State, a ramp that some hope may lead to the presidency. In Mrs. Clinton’s case, straight was the gate and narrow the way.

Mr. Kennedy, however, will find his way to higher office blocked by Connecticut’s two newly minted U.S. Senators, Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy. Connecticut’s Senior U.S. Senator Blumenthal is but a babe in swaddling clothes, having been elected to the chamber only four years ago. Mr. Blumenthal replaced a U.S. Senator of  thirty years standing, Chris Dodd, and Mr. Murphy  replaced a Senate fixture of twenty-four years standing, former U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman.

Turnover in the U.S. Senate is infrequent. The advantages of incumbency have made it very difficult for challengers to unhorse any U.S. Congressman. Unless the grim reaper intervenes, Congressional positions do not often open up – even for Kennedy’s. Term limits would solve this problem and, at the same time, recirculate politicians in what has become, for lack of a better word, a closed shop. The possibility that either Mr. Blumenthal or Mr. Murphy might surrender their seats so that Connecticut might become, like Massachusetts, a political nesting place for the large Kennedy brood, is remote.

There will be no room in the all Democratic U.S. Congressional delegation for future House members, and Governor Dannel Malloy very likely will continue in office until Hell freezes over.

So then, Mr. Kennedy probably would do better to plant his flag in some other receptive state – if he has his mind set on national service in Washington D.C.

As a last resort, Mr. Kennedy might consider quietly changing his party affiliation to Republican, in which case the world of Connecticut politics would be his oyster. There are plenty of Republican spots open in Connecticut’s U.S. Congressional delegation, and a change in affiliation is easily done. Mr. Meyer himself served in the Republican Party in New York, and it did not hurt his political prospects a bit.

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