Massachusetts Governor Duval Patrick now has the state legislature's
go-ahead to appoint an interim Senator to fill Ted Kennedy's empty Senate seat. Steve Benen predicts that Kennedy's replacement will be chosen by the end of the week, and Ezra Klein says
he or she will be on hand for a health care vote. So far, the leading
candidate appears to be former Massachusetts governor and 1988
presidential candidate Michael Dukakis. (Sorry, Atul Gawande.) Is The Duke, a seasoned politician, the perfect choice or a risky one?
- Boston Herald Endorses Today's Herald declared Dukakis "the best choice" to fill Kennedy's seat. "The interim senator will have to do more than join the health care debate. He or she will have to represent Massachusetts’s interests in hundreds of funding requests and constituent services. Dukakis, as a former Democratic presidential nominee, knows how politics works and can get his phone calls returned. He is far more likely to deliver tangible returns for Massachusetts residents than a career academic or anyone else who has never held elected office."
- Dukakis Would Be Distraction Chris Cillizza weighed the risks. "There are some in the state, however, who believe that Dukakis' high profile -- and the massive amount of national press his selection would bring -- is the exact opposite of what Patrick and the state legislature are aiming for," he wrote. "And, with a special election already ongoing to fill the remainder of Kennedy's term, there is little interest among the candidates seeking the office to be overshadowed for weeks by the interim pick."
- Why Dukakis Would Be Great Dan Payne gushed in the Daily Beast over Dukakis's qualifications. "He is a trim and fit 75 years old, has started and runs a public-policy program at Northeastern University," Payne wrote. "Last November, more than 1,000 friends and supporters paid from $2,500 to $100,000 to sponsor the launching of the Kitty and Michael Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern. He has national stature and is the policy wonk’s wonk, but his main qualification is being an A-list candidate who is willing to serve only five months. Filling Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat would be a capstone to his career."
- Makes Democratic Sense Dave Weigel, anticipating criticism that appointing a Sentor is un-democratic, pointed out that Dukakis has already received quite a few votes. "If a man who won 42 million votes for president gets to hold Kennedy's seat for 4 months, it will destroy democracy," he joked. Weigel had previously called the possibility an "intriguing idea," noting that Dukakis had been dodging questions about whether he would accept.
- Michael Dukakis Still Alive? Jim Newell seemed surprised the former presidential candidate was still around. "This is big news, because most people had just assumed Michael Dukakis was dead," he wrote, including in his post the infamous "tank video" that some credit with sinking Dukakis's campaign.