Originally Posted by Yosemite
I think it is sad to want a man (or woman) booted out of office for being ill. Most private companies would give an extended disability leave so why should the government treat Mr. Kennedy any differently?
I personally would hate to think that if I were diagnosed with a brain tumour and could not perform my job that my company would not kick my butt out the door and replace me with someone else.
Originally Posted by Dusty's Mom
But this is not a "job". And it's not like he is in financial distress. In no way can you compare an elected position to "employment." It is not at all the same.
I can honestly see both sides of the coin on this one.
On one hand, I totally agree with Linda (Yosemite) that extended disability would likely be granted to most employees. However, they also carry insurance to cover that (it isn't the company that continues to pay the ill person), and generally speaking you only get 60% of your income on disability insurance. (Unfortunately, this is also something I have had to do much research on.) Whether or not they would hold the position would be up to the company as once the person goes beyond a certain time frame there is no legal requirement to have the same or similar position for that person. I've seen examples of going both ways, with both large and small companies.
On the other hand, I completely understand where Dusty's Mom is coming from (sorry, I don't recall your name). Being an elected official is certainly more than a paying job. There are only 100 Senators total, so each vote is important. They are serving more than just their "company" in that they are serving the people of their state, and their votes should reflect the will of the people they represent so that the people have a strong voice in the Senate. Sure, there are backdoor deals and all that jazz but the main duty for a member of Congress is to be the voice of their constituents in the National Legislature. If he can't perform those duties then it more than just you or I not showing up to work.
However, seeing as the Democrats have a strong majority in the Senate the only time when Kennedy's vote would truly be "needed" by his party (and presumably to see the will of his constituents enacted into law) would be on a very close vote. Thus far, that situation has been avoided entirely by the Democratic leadership wheeling and dealing with the moderate Republicans on the Stimulus vote, which has been the only close one thus far, and they would have needed to do that with or without Kennedy's vote.
Ultimately, as I said before, Kennedy has to answer to his constituents who voted him into office. They are his "bosses", and they would be the ones who can make the decision. I haven't seen any public outcry about him shirking his duties, and as long as his bosses are happy then I can see no reason to push the issue.
His term will not be up until 2012, however, so we'll see what happens with his decisions after the 2010 mid-term elections. There are 36 Senate seats up for election/re-election in the mid-term elections, so if Ted is a team player (by all accounts he is), if the Democrats lose enough seats that his vote would be influential to legislature I would expect him to retire and let the Democrat Governor of Massachussetts appoint a Senator to serve out his term or hold a special election, whichever is Massachusetts law.