Ruth Marcus, writing in the Washington Post, and defending her earlier column about Caroline Kennedy that dreamed of having “the little princess grow up to be a senator,” forgets some very recent history.
In other words, the original rationale for gubernatorial appointments no longer applies. It’s time for state legislatures to reconsider such arrangements. In addition to the Kennedy kerfuffle and the bigger mess in Illinois, giving governors sole power to make appointments to vacant Senate seats distorts political decision-making; senators from a political party other than the governor’s party are locked into their jobs for fear of affecting the Senate balance of power. Would President-elect Barack Obama have chosen Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar to be his interior secretary if Colorado had a Republican governor?
Considering how Obama appointed Janet Napolitano as secretary of homeland security, and by doing so promoted Republican secretary of state Jan Brewer to be the new governor of Arizona, I don’t think it’s that unthinkable.