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Empty “Totalitarianism” Charge of the Day

It’s from the New York Republicans, who are demanding (with no chance of success) a special election to replace Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is President-elect Barack Obama’s nominee for secretary of state.

Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco, a Schenectady Republican, warned that filling vacancies without an election is “diminishing democracy.”

“If you start to diminish democracy, you start going to totalitarianism,” Tedisco said [...] “I’m not equating our governor with the governor of Illinois … but you can see what happens.”

I don’t know. Yes, Gov. David Paterson (D) ascended to office after former Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D) resigned in disgrace. But he’d previously been elected lieutenant governor on Spitzer’s ticket with 70 percent of the vote. Obama won 63 percent of the vote as New York Democrats gained the state senate for the first time in a generation. If voters were that bothered with Democrats selecting a Democratic replacement for Clinton, they could have said so.

But Tedisco has a point that Paterson’s dithering over the Senate pick is ridiculously dramatic and about a month longer than it needed to be. In Delaware and Colorado, less than three weeks passed between the time that Senate seats opened up and the respective governors made their appointments.

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