Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thoughts on that "Other Open Senate Seat"

With the current raging scandal happening in Illinois over Obama's open Senate seat being up for sale, I thought I'd make a comment from the 'other' open senate seat here in Delaware.
In January, Joe Biden's senate seat will be filled for the next two years by one of Biden's close senior policy advisors - Ted Kauffman -- by appointment of the outgoing governor.

In reviewing possible considerations for this seat, the Delaware governor was told by Senator Biden that his son should be taken off the list:

" Beau has made it clear from the moment he entered public life, that any office he sought, he would earn on his own," Biden said. "If he chooses to run for the Senate in the future, he will have to run and win on his own. He wouldn’t have it any other way."

Meanwhile, he is in Kuwait on his way to Iraq to serve with my old unit. In 2010, he and any other potential candidates will be running from a "level playing field" for the vacant spot. Most are elated that the outgoing governor did not appoint herself, as many suspected might happen. She did not do it. Some criticize the governor and Senator Biden for not appointing outgoing Lt. Gov. Carney to position; however, Carney (the political heir apparent to the current governor's seat) lost the primary for governor to a political newcomer, because Delawareans decided to elect a political outsider. The bottom line is that appointing Carney or Biden could have made the voters mad and the politicians look bad, so they tried to "level the playing field" and get this seat right.

A bit underplayed, this is definitley a more honorable way of handling "the other open senate seat," as compared to what we're seeing in Illinois, despite some of the criticism that we Delawareans still read and hear about the Bidens and 'motives' and such.

In many other states, there is a tradition of having a spouse or favored son fill the vacant seat, until a general election can be held in the next cycle. Some have questioned this for a variety of reasons, but the Bidens seem extremely sensitive to matters of propriety and for that I'm somewhat impressed.

Besides, where did that rule ever come from anyway? A spouse or son/daughter automatically stepping into the vacated seat? I mean, does anyone think that Michelle Obama ought to be the next in line for Barack's job? (What about Chelsea in New York?) Anyway, weird tradition, huh?

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