Thursday, January 14, 2010

Debunking a Scott Brown myth

"Scott Brown is the only person who can stop ObamaCare by being the 41st vote against cloture."

That, or some variant of it, is the latest excuse I'm hearing from the usual suspects who come up with a MOST IMPORTANT REASON EVAH! to vote for "the lesser evil" just this one time ... every time.

There are three kinds of lies right now: Lies, damn lies, and reasons to vote for Scott Brown in next week's special election to fill the US Senate vacancy created by Ted Kennedy's death. This whole "he can stop ObamaCare" schtick fits into all three categories. Here's why:

- Democrats in Congress are already pushing hard to get the conference/reconciliation process done with and move to a final vote on ObamaCare:

The health care legislation is now expected to move forward quickly, toward a possible vote in the next two weeks. According to a Congress Daily interview (subscription required) with Rep. George Miller (D-CA), chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, a deal could be pending that would allow the final conference committee-approved legislation to be scored in the next few days.

A Scott Brown victory in Massachusetts would simply make them move faster.

- The election is scheduled for January 19th.

- The earliest the governor of Massachusetts can certify the results of a special election is on the seventh day following the vote, or January 26th (General Laws of Massachusetts, Chapter 54, section 116).

- Of course, he can't certify those results until he receives the local certifications of Massachusetts's cities and towns. Those election authorities have 15 days to certify their own totals and forward them to the Secretary of State (op. cit., Chapter 54, Section 112), who in turn conveys them to him.

- In other words, it could be February 3rd before the certifications even reach Governor Deval Patrick's desk, and it could be later than that before he acts on them.

But let's just suppose that every last city and town in Massachusetts has an election clerk who's dedicated to getting the results in absolutely ASAP, even if the candidate they like lost, even if the candidate they hate won, and even if there's an important Senate vote riding on the outcome. Let's suppose that all those results get to the Secretary of State and are forwarded to the governor by the earliest possible certification date, January 26th, and that he acts upon them promptly. That's a lot to suppose, but let's suppose it.

Oh, wait ... there's also Article I, Section 5 of the US Constitution: "Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members."

The Democrat-controlled US Senate held up Democratic Senate appointee Roland Burris of Illinois for ten days after receiving certification of his appointment before seating him. Does anyone believe that that same Democrat-controlled US Senate can't hold up Scott Brown for as long as it damn well pleases?

If the day ever comes when Scott Brown's ass warms a seat in the US Senate chamber, that day will come after the reconciled ObamaCare bill has been passed and sent to the White House for signature.

Even if he wanted to stop Obamacare (and the evidence that he does is might thin -- he was a supporter of its prototype, RomneyCare, and odds are he's more interested in getting a kickback for his state inserted into the bill a la Nelson or Landrieu than in actually stopping the bill), he couldn't.

If you're supporting Scott Brown because you think he'll stop ObamaCare, you're supporting Scott Brown for the wrong reason.

And frankly, there is no right reason. The only candidate worthy of your support in this race is Joe Kennedy, a Libertarian running as an independent (due to discrimination against the Libertarian Party written into Massachusetts's ballot access laws).

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