John Edwards

Campaign 2008: Empty Gestures Edition

|

– Gov. Mitt Romney, who leaves his job in about 48 hours, is managing to keep his coif up even as he's pulled away kicking and screaming.

Romney may refuse to move ahead on automatic pay raises for lawmakers unless they vote next week on a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages, a top administration official said yesterday.

The state's 200 House and Senate members are entitled to a raise on Jan. 1, but it is up to the governor to decide the exact amount and give final approval. Romney could act on the pay raises before he leaves office on Jan. 4, or leave the responsibility to Governor-elect Deval Patrick.

Patrick is a liberal Democrat (the first Dem governor of the Bay State since Mike Dukakis' tiny shadow left Beacon Hill) who supports gay marriage and pay raises in equal measure. Romney fan Kathryn Jean Lopez thinks this will turn the tide for marriage ban boosters; I think white evangelicals are even less impressed by blackmail than they are by Mormonism.

UPDATE: It looks like the blackmail/bribe ploy worked out. The Constitutional Convention voted against the ban 132-61, but because there were more than 50 "no" votes it gets to survive to the next Constitutional Convention.

– John Edwards is calling out Sen. John McCain and looking handsome doing it.

"I actually believe that this idea of surging troops, and escalating the war, what Senator McCain has been talking about, what I would call now the McCain doctrine it's …"

"McCain doctrine?" interrupted host George Stephanopoulos.

"McCain doctrine," Edwards responded. "He's been the most prominent spokesperson for this for some time."

If the trend-happiest pundits are right, and making liberal bloggers ooh and aah is going to prove vital for 2008, stuff like this may prove more important for Edwards than actual substance. (It's at least a more winning gesture than Hillary Clinton's ill-advised buddying up to McCain.)

NEXT: Please Nancy Don't Hurt 'Em

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. “The state’s 200 House and Senate members are entitled to a raise on Jan. 1”

    Given that it has to be approved, they aren’t really entitled, are they? I actually hope to see this ban voted down, but how is it blackmail for Romney to not approve a pay raise should they refuse to hold a vote. When my boss tells me I’m not getting a raise unless I do my job (note, he’s not saying it is contigent on them voting a certain way, just voting), I don’t get to call that blackmail. Or has the definition now changed?

  2. Let me get this straight: if I stand pat, we get to keep gay marriage, and the legislators don’t get a pay raise.

    Cripes, that’s an ace and a queen right there. I’m in!

  3. When my boss tells me I’m not getting a raise unless I do my job (note, he’s not saying it is contigent on them voting a certain way, just voting), I don’t get to call that blackmail.

    You’re misunderstanding the vote. The amendment needs to pass twice to make it onto the state’s ballot in 2008. Romney thinks it has the votes to pass. He is not merely asking for their votes; he’s asking for them to move a gay marriage ban down the conveyer belt, after voters resoundingly elected a pro-gay marriage governor and legislature.

    Look at it this way: Your boss has been fired, and he leaves on Friday to be replaced by a boss who favors Project X. Your old boss opposed Project X, and he has the power to give you or deny you a raise before he leaves. So he tells you “vote no on Project X or I won’t give you a raise.” I think you can characterize that as blackmail, if not as bad as the “or I’ll kill your family” kind of blackmail.

  4. Fair enough, I’m not in MA and having been paying attention to the finer details. Nonetheless, I think I’m with joe in that seeing the failure of a pay raise to occur isn’t a bad thing. Once again, I don’t know all the details of their pay scale, maybe they’re severely underpaid public servants, but living in B’more, Jessamy’s 60% pay raise has left me a little sour on the automatic rubber stamp these things seem to get.

  5. Has the definition of blackmail changed, or am I just retarded?

    Look at it this way: Your boss has been fired, and he leaves on Friday to be replaced by a boss who favors Project X. Your old boss opposed Project X, and he has the power to give you or deny you a raise before he leaves. So he tells you “vote no on Project X or I won’t give you a raise.” I think you can characterize that as blackmail, if not as bad as the “or I’ll kill your family” kind of blackmail.

    Still doesn’t seem like blackmail…more like just a threat or perhaps a “dick move”.

  6. When my boss tells me I’m not getting a raise unless I do my job (note, he’s not saying it is contigent on them voting a certain way, just voting), I don’t get to call that blackmail.

    1. The governor is not “the boss” of the legislature, the voters are.

    2. Their “job” isn’t to vote on any and every thing under the sun. Part of it is to decide what to vote on and what not to vote on.

    3. A lame duck governor is trying to force the legislature to vote (something it doesn’t in fact HAVE TO DO) by threatening to withhold a pay raise — sounds like a form of blackmail to me

    4. I think the country as a whole would be better if more legislators decided to not vote on things.

  7. BTW, there’s a backstory to the “let the people vote” line.

    For about six years starting in the late 90s, there were civil union bills filed in both houses of the Massachusetts state legislature, with enough co-sponsors to pass the bill. Not just enough support – the bill were cosponsored by a majority of each house.

    Every single year, the Senate passed its bill. And every single year, the House Speaker sent the bill to the Ways and Means Committee, where the chairman refused to bring it to a vote.

    Where were the noble, totally-not-homophobic advocates for a vote then? They were giving Speaker Finneran and Chairman Rogers awards for their vigilant efforts to save marriage from gay people.

    At least now the public has a chance to vote out the relevant legislators if they don’t like the outcome of the convention. When the state was eager to pass a civil unions bill, two reactionaries in safe seats were allowed to thwart the expressed (as opposed to merely assumed) will of a democratic majority.

  8. cinnabob – I thought that O’Malley was supporting Jessamy’s pay raise in the hopes of attracting somebody else to run for her job. That’s the spin I heard; did you hear otherwise?

  9. Ctom,

    1. True, but he does have approval power over their pay raise, which is the same power my boss has in my analogy.

    2. True, and here I conceded to Dave that I didn’t fully understand what some of the finer details were on the vote.

    3. Lame duck or not, he’s been granted the authority to approve or not the pay raise. If he’s legally not allowed to do this for certain reasons, I’d need to see that they apply in this case before I think blackmail is an applicable term.

    4. I agree, but I also think that legislators are generally overcompensated for the job they do and are too easily granted pay raises.

  10. RRIII,

    I’ve heard that mentioned before, but it doesn’t seem to add up. He’s married into far too connected a political/legal family to have to try such a long shot rather than privately help pick, groom and then approve some one.

    The one thing that explanation has going for it is that he and Jessamy have had some trouble in the past, but I think he’s put his local petty squabbles behind him along with his onstage Guinness chugging.

  11. I think you can characterize that as blackmail, if not as bad as the “or I’ll kill your family” kind of blackmail.

    BLACKMAIL is threatening to reveal information about a person unless the threatened party fulfills certain demands.

    EXTORTION is when a person obtains money or property through coercion or intimidation or threats of physical harm.

    BRIBERY is the offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of any item of value to influence the actions as an official or other person in discharge of a public or legal duty.

    GRAFT is where someone profits personally from the public budget

    Sounds like bribery or graft to me.

  12. Well, if that new boss happens to be named “Cuffy Meigs” I’m voting against Project X no matter what.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.