Keep Senator’s office closed!

Kennedy staff members will stay on the payroll until Oct. 25, but all work is supposed to be centered on closing the office.

I can’t find the figures anywhere, but I’d imagine that Senator Kennedy’s office budget and staff payroll was at least a million bucks, if not two or three, or even ten or twenty.  The Boston Globe article quoted above is about how bad it is that Kennedy’s office has been ordered to shut down, “stranding constituents” in the middle of their “case.”

The move is tough to swallow for Kennedy’s staff, which is legendary for helping people cut through red tape to get recognition and various benefits from the famously thick bureaucracy of the federal government.

Is helping people get through the red tape really the role of a Senator?  No!  He would do those favors to win votes, pure and simple.  Every story about how Senator Kennedy helped my aunt become a citizen, or got my brother home from Afghanistan, would generate scores of votes from that person’s friends and family.  So that multimillion dollar staff is nothing more than a huge campaign team, paid for by tax dollars.

So I say, not only should we shut down the office as directed by the secretary of the Senate, but we shouldn’t even start one up again, at least not until 2012.  What about the people who need help getting through the red tape?  Well, they can either stand in line like everybody else, or if they really need to cut ahead, they can call Senator Kerry’s office, I’m sure he’ll gladly take over Kennedy’s racket.  

The fact is, New England is swimming in Senators.  We have 12 seats in the Senate, and only one football team, one baseball team, etc.  California has the Raiders, the 49ers, and the Chargers, five baseball teams, four basketball teams, and only two Senators.  We can’t complain about representation in the Senate.  The California band Pavement had a song on Slanted and Enchanted called “Two States”, “We want two states, north and south!”  Well, at least they don’t have to pay for 6 state governments and 12 Senators and their bloated staffs.

If I am elected, I pledge to keep the office closed for the remainder of my term and have zero staff, and save the taxpayers millions.  I pledge to limit my “constituent services” to serving the interests of all Massachusetts residents, and indeed all Americans, not only those that write me an obsequious letter.  The job of Senator is to deal with the big issues: international treaties, federal laws, nominations, impeachments, things like that, not hand out favors to people by imposing their clout on other agencies.

I am even toying with the idea of pledging not to vote on any other issue except the three laws that compose the Egg and Sperm Civil Union Compromise.  That way, at least you know I won’t be voting wrong, or mucking up the smooth flow of legislation by getting involved.  I’ll be one less Senator all the other Senators have to contact to try to get my vote, saving all their staffs 1% of their time.  Some say you have to trade votes in Washington, and no one will vote for my issue if I don’t support theirs.  But I think that’s wrong, and the voters of other states will hold their Senators accountable for how they vote and elect new ones if their current ones turn out to support genetic engineering of children or don’t protect marriage and procreation rights.

All the other candidates in this race undoubtedly eagerly plan on creating five-million dollar fiefdoms of sycophantic staffers and cultivating servile voters with special favors, I vow to introduce my bill, then come back home to watch the Celtics win a couple more championships, spending all $174,000 a year in Massachusetts.

About John Howard