Hey, how about appointing an impeached ex-President to the Senate?
posted at 10:48 am on November 26, 2008 by Ed Morrissey
Nothing says Hope and Change like the return of the Clintons to Washington, does it? Apparently, if you really want change, we need to go beyond appointing Hillary to run the State Department — we need to give Bill an official job as well. Karl Meyer and Shareen Blair Brysac make their argument that New York Governor David Paterson should appoint Bill as Hillary’s replacement without bothering to mention the little detail of Bill serving in same body that debated whether to convict him after his impeachment :
Amid the blizzard of résumés blanketing Washington as the Obama era dawns, there is a superbly qualified candidate for full employment whose name has been overlooked. We refer, of course, to William Jefferson Clinton, America’s 42nd chief executive and commander in chief. Yet now, by a wonderful combination of circumstances, comes an opportunity to harness his unquestioned political talents to benefit his country, the Democratic Party, New York state and his spouse. If, as is expected, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton becomes secretary of state, New York Gov. David Paterson could send her husband to the U.S. Senate.
Doing so would spare the governor the agonizing dilemma of choosing from the 20 or so Democrats already named as contenders for the junior senator’s seat. Those mentioned include six sitting members of the House of Representatives (three of each sex), Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, Caroline Kennedy and her cousin Robert Kennedy Jr., Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown (an African American), and Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión Jr. (who is Hispanic). In this no-win competition, Paterson has to balance claims of gender, race, ethnicity and geography. He could wind up gaining one grateful ally while alienating not only all the losers but also millions of members of the disparate constituencies that each represents.
Hence the appeal of Bill Clinton. Who in his party could question so historic and dazzling a choice? In a stroke, the appointment would provide Sen. Clinton’s indefatigable husband with a fitting day job, serve the interests of a state beset by a meltdown in its most vital economic sector and offer a refreshing reverse twist on a tradition whereby deceased male senators, representatives or governors are succeeded by their widows.
Who could question such a “dazzling choice”? The same people who just got done trying to shelve the Clintons for good in the primaries, that’s who. Millions of people made it clear that they didn’t want to include the Clintons as part of the party’s future, and it’s not hard to understand why after watching Hillary blow the coronation, thanks in no small part to Bill’s tone-deaf politicking during the campaign.
In fact, Meyer and Brysac fail to come up with any compelling reason to select Bill, other than the supposed “dazzle” that Meyer and Brysac feel. It’s the print version of a thrill up the leg, and it’s even less supportable than Chris Matthews’ crush on Barack Obama. Instead of lining up Bill’s actual merits and comparing them to potential selections with actual futures in the party like Andrew Cuomo, Caroline and Robert Kennedy, or current members of Congress, the pair seem more enamored of gender-bending for gender-bending’s sake.
How can any analysis of a plan to send Bill Clinton to Congress fail to mention his impeachment and trial in 1998? Whether one believes the impeachment and trial to be appropriate — and the impeachment was an impressively bipartisan affair — the fact is that Congress heavily penalized this president for transgressions that cost him his bar membership. Should Paterson overlook relatively clean alternatives to give an impeached former President a seat in that same body? The deliberate oversight of this rather large defect renders this little more than mindless cheerleading for the Clinton brand.
Furthermore, do the Democrats have anyone worthwhile not named Clinton? And do actual New Yorkers exist, or will the Empire State continue to import its Senators from Arkansas?
Please, no more Clinton Restorations. Find a real New Yorker for the Senate seat.
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