Holder to stay on as AG "for about a year"

As the New York Post predicted last week, Attorney General Eric Holder will not leave the Obama administration at the start of Barack Obama’s second term — but he won’t be sticking around too much longer than that. The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday and Fox News confirmed last night that Holder will stay “about a year” in order to provide Obama with some continuity for his Cabinet in the transition to his second term.  The list has already begun for Holder’s successor, however:

Attorney General Eric Holder will honor President Obama’s request to stay into the second term and but will remain on the job only “for about a year,” Fox News confirmed Monday.

A senior administration official told Fox News that Obama does not want a mass exodus at the start of his second term, especially with his national security team going through major changes. And Secretary of State Hillary Clinton already has said she will leave soon.

Who has made the short list to run the Department of Justice so far?  With one exception, it’s not a terribly controversial list.  Fox’s report puts Deval Patrick’s name most prominently, followed by Senators Amy Klobuchar and Richard Blumenthal. They also include Janet Napolitano, who has almost zero chance of getting past Republicans in a confirmation fight after her four years at Homeland Security.  That might create more controversy than nominating Susan Rice for Secretary of State after her shameful performance in the aftermath of the Benghazi terrorist attack.

Deval Patrick’s name has come up before, but it doesn’t make a lot of sense.  Patrick has won two terms as governor in Massachusetts, and might harbor presidential aspirations in 2016.  Getting tied to a Cabinet position will spell the end of his upward ascent in electoral politics.  Both Amy Klobuchar and Richard Blumenthal would get an easy ride in the Senate, and both come from states with safe Democratic environments — and Democratic governors to appoint their successors.

The safest choice would be Klobuchar, where no strong Republican candidate for Senator is on the horizon, and no self-funders seem interested in trying out for the job.  Obama would have the opportunity to appoint another woman to his Cabinet, and Klobuchar would have a low risk for embarrassment to the administration, unlike Blumenthal, whose false claims of combat service would almost certainly get mentioned in a confirmation hearing.  If Obama hopes for a more collegial environment and a de-escalation of hostility over decisions at the DoJ, Klobuchar is probably the smart choice.

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