It is unfortunate that Connecticut’s Senatorial election has been steeped in petty squabbling and personal attacks. The consequences of the election are actually far larger than either Chris Murphy or Linda McMahon. In particular, proper functioning of our Constitutional system of checks and balances is at stake.
While nothing is certain in politics, it appears somewhat likely that Barack Obama will be re-elected. Although the majority of Ledger readers will be voting for him, most of them still harbor some doubt or uncertainty about the full extent and nature of the President’s plans and agenda. They would acknowledge that no one knows with a full level of confidence where Mr. Obama seeks to take America over the next four years. Most have even more doubt about the President’s plans for the American-Israeli relationship, but they are still willing to place their faith in him.
With so much uncertainty about the Obama agenda, the system of checks and balances takes on even greater importance. The Senate must be in a position to play its proper role vis a vis the President. For the Senate to do so, it must be comprised of persons who will exercise independent judgment and not be mere “rubber stamps” for the President.
Chris Murphy does not meet the specifications for independence. Beyond his lacking the stature of a Senator Blumenthal, the non-profit, non-partisan OpenCongress website reveals that, during the current 112th Congress, Murphy has voted with his party even more often than the blatantly partisan Barney Frank. Since President Obama is the de facto head of the Democratic Party, it is clear that Murphy will toe the party line and will neither be a check on the President nor provide any balance. Obama, therefore, can proceed unrestrained, possibly far beyond what Connecticut voters contemplate.
Linda McMahon, by contrast, owes nothing to any party and is not beholden to corporate contributors or anyone else. She is a Republican in name only and feels no compunctions about departing from Republican dogma by supporting a woman’s right to choose and recognizing same-sex marriage. Ms. McMahon is well positioned to exercise the independent judgment which is necessary to foster a functioning system of checks and balances during a period when the Senate is controlled by members of the President’s own party.

Mark I. Fishman

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