The Law of Unintended Consequences

In the Law of Unintended Consequences, the results of an action are the opposite of what was wanted.  Today, we are seeing the Law of Unintended Consequences being played out in Massachusetts.

When John Kerry was running for president, Mitt Romney was the governor of Massachusetts.  The governor had the right and the responsibility to appoint an interim senator should there be a vacancy.  If Senator Kerry won the presidency, the Republican governor would have been able to replace Democrat Kerry with a Republican.  The Massachusetts legislature didn’t want to take the chance, so they took the appointment power away from the governor and gave it to the people in the form of a special election.  This was done over the veto of Governor Romney.  Senator Kenny lost the election, so there was no immediate need for the change.

With the death of Senator Teddy Kennedy, the interim special election process is now taking place.  Today, the people of Massachusetts will elect Senator’s Kennedy’s replacement.  However, the law of unintended consequences is in full force.  State senator Scott Brown has come from a no-chance candidate to a serious challenger to Attorney General Martha Coakley.  As the voters of Massachusetts go to the polls today, Brown lead Coakley by 5 to 10%.

The Law of Unintended Consequences.  As a policy issue, it is always important to consider “What If.”  Perhaps if the Massachusetts legislature had considered “what if,”  they would have just let things be.  Massachusetts’ Democratic governor would have appointed a good Democrat to replace Senator Kennedy and the Democrats super majority in the U. S. Senate would have been preserved.  As things look now, State Senator Brown will soon be U. S. Senator Brown and the Law of Unintended Consequences will have struck again.


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