Sunday, December 7, 2008


Needless to say, the promotions of Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton will leave open seats in the Senate, very valuable positions to be sure. The way the system works is that the State Governor's get to choose who to appoint to the seats on an interim basis, until the seat comes up for re-election.
Biden's seat will eventually go to his son, who is currently serving abroad as a National Guardsman. Until that time, Biden's long time number one aide will assume the position. The other two seats are a scramble with speculation over short lists, and applicants publicly lobbying for their appointments (see post below).
The talking point is; should the Obama seat go to a person of color and the Clinton seat go to a woman to preserve the minority matrix of the senate body? It is no secret that black leaders are lobbying hard for all three to go to qualified black leaders from each state, and without doubt the senate is overwhelmingly made up of gray haired white men in dark suits. In no way does the senate body truly represent a true representation of the population it is responsible to represent.
But should we take advantage of this opportunity to swing the pendulum the other way when we can? Should we have an unspoken quota system / priority towards making up the undeniable inbalance of representatives to the electorate they represent? If a senator is gay, should his / her replacement be gay? Same for race, religion and gender? By electing Obama in Illinois, haven't the electorate expressed their preference of a black to represent them? Or did they vote for the man without taking race into account?
Should the Governors in each state be the ones to appoint, or should it go to national party heads to insure they are replaced with members of the same party? Perhaps a special (and costly) election to replace the seats?
And, does this arcane system of appointing replacements for promoted senators affect the choices of the President-elects when selecting cabinet secretaries? If the most qualified person is a senator in a state with a governor of a different party, would the president-elect be less likely to appoint them?
It seems to me there should be some sort of established protocol, a succession plan that is already established, such as in the replacement of a President. To do anything else would open up everything to cronyism, and quid pro quo possibilities.
Failing this, should a governors replacement pick be subject to the state legislative approvals?

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