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.
Want to add to this story? Let us know in comments
or send an email to the author at
mfisher at theatlantic dot com.
You can share ideas for stories on the Open Wire.