My guess is this will be an acceptable option that will cut down most of the current whining:
Sen. Bill Clinton? Sen. Mario Cuomo? Don’t completely rule it out. The former president and the former New York governor are among several boldface names being touted as possible “caretakers” for New York’s Senate seat — people who would serve until the 2010 elections but wouldn’t be interested in running to keep the job.
As the process of picking Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s replacement gets messier, the option may become increasingly attractive to Gov. David Paterson, who has sole authority to name a successor.
A spokesman for Bill Clinton, Matt McKenna, said Wednesday that the former chief executive isn’t interested in the job and plans to continue the work of his foundation. Cuomo declined through a spokesman to discuss the Senate seat.
If you ask me, the real problem here is the power of incumbency. If it were routine and normal for people to be elected and then kicked out of office every couple of elections, we would not be witnessing this freak-out about the replacement for Senator Clinton, because EVERY seat would be a caretaker seat. Instead of the sturm and drang about coronations and heirs to Clinton and all this other nonsense, we would have someone appointed for two years, and it would just be assumed they would have a tough election ahead of them in 2010. But, as it is now, once you get into office in the United States, you have to be pretty terrible at an almost epic level (think Liddy Dole, and even then it was dicey until her idiotic last minute commercial) to lose an election once you have the power of the incumbency.
It is just assumed that whoever takes Clinton’s seat will be there for the next three decades, and that changes all the calculations. That, to me, is the real problem, and it isn’t supposed to be like that. The point of elections every two years in the House and every six in the Senate is that if you screw one of them up, in a relatively short time, you get a do-over. When you just assume someone will be there for the next thirty years instead of six, it really makes the decisions much more important and… much more acrimonious.
kommrade reproductive vigor
Maybe, all though
1. I can’t believe the level of hyperventilating there’s been over HRC’s replacement. (Full disclosure, I’ve been lurking at PUMA sites so my view is slanted so hard I’m surprised my eyes don’t read TILT.)
2. More importantly, the linked article of the variety writers pulls out of their ass when they’re on tight deadline. I mean, you’ve got a hypothesis, back up from two anonymous sources and a lot of comments from "experts."
All this story will do is start people hyperventilating about who Patterson should pick. When he doesn’t go the caretaker route, they’ll scream because they read somewhere that he said he was going to do it. Or, he’ll do it and whoever he picks will instantly become the sworn enemy of half the people who think they give a shit.
In other words, if you’re looking for a respite for whining, I suggest ear plugs.
Or go to Hawaii, like Obama did. He’s a great role-model. :)
Besides, its more fun than earplugs. Even with earplugs, the whiners are still in your… sphere. In Hawaii, there is a nice body of water between you and them.
Blame the American people, who seem to take pride in their utter fucking cluelessness about politics. As someone who grew up in Europe, I find it appalling that politics is not considered a topic for polite conversation. At first I thought it was because people didn’t want conflict in social get-togethers, but now I think it’s because people don’t want to be embarrassed by their obvious ignorance in any discussion of politics.
On second thoughts, blame the American media, who have degenerated beyond the worst predictions of satires like Network and Broadcast News.
And there you have summed up pretty much the problem with our governing process. When Congress passed a bill granting pensions for serving in that body, the founding fathers started spinning in their graves.
As a Jets fan, I have the obvious solution — Brett Favre for Hill’s seat! Solves two problems for the price of one.
maxbaer (not the original)
As a New Yorker, I’m not crazy about the idea of Bill Clinton as my senator, nothing against him personally.
On the other hand, I loved Mario when he was governor and would be thrilled to see him as senator for a couple of years, especially with no pressure of running for re-election.
This seems like an elegant solution to the whole mess.
Mario on Hardball.
@Bill H: no. read the comment above (no. 3); it’s dead on. the white guys who wrote the constitution were quite aware of human frailty, especially in the realm of politics. but what they did envision was a country where the people who cast ballots had an inkling of a clue, not a place where tens of millions of idiots (in the sense of not thinking one whit) cast ballots for elective offices.
Screw this caretaker crap. They should seat The Undertaker. He’d give Washington the biggest smackdown it’s received since Mr. Smith.
So riddle me this: how many Americans can name their Representative? How many can name both of their Senators? We’ll stop now without asking how many could name their Reps and Senators in the state legislature. Congressional districts are drawn largely by state legislatures who, oddly enough, always seem to draw them so as to provide safe seats – it’s no accident that the re-election rate for incumbents is still north of 90%. Voters generally have no idea what their Congresspeople stand for or how they voted, they know instead that they have either an "R" or a "D" next to their name and that’s good enough. A prospective Abe Lincoln wouldn’t stand a chance if he was from the "wrong" party. On second thought, Honest Abe wouldn’t have the money to run anyway.
There shall be no Senator named after a video game. Period. Full Stop.
No Sonic, no Crash, and no Mario.
Well, it’s not the same problem as in the Senate, but the convolutions of gerrymandering districts for the House (and at the state level) are one of the greatest impediments to vigorous democracy.
You end up with elected officials who are answerable to no one and who basically have to be caught with $$$ in their freezer or with a hooker to lose their seats.
I can’t remember where I read this, about a week ago, but supposedly appointed Senators actually have a strikingly low rate of [not-re-]election.
Aside from the general "power of incumbency" factor, the Republic Party in New York is in absolute shambles. At the statewide level, it’s almost at the Old South point where the Democratic primary is the election, and the November vote is merely a formality.
The problem with this seat is the special election in 2010 followed immediately by the regular election in 2012. That’s a lot of money to raise in a short timespan, especially with Schumer running one of those years.
@DonBoy: Nate Silver at 538 wrote about it.
Lawdy. The rich possibilities of a Sen. Mario Cuomo. even if only for the educational possibilities such a thing would hold for a lot of the clowns presently serving in that august chamber, gives me chillbones.
And not just educational possibilities on being a sitting Senator, but the education some would receive on simply being human.
So riddle me this: how many Americans can name their Representative?
Mine is Rahm. Until tomorrow at least.
No Sonic, no Crash, and no Mario.
What about his evil doppelganger Wario Cuomo?
So riddle me this: how many Americans can name their Representative? How many can name both of their Senators? We’ll stop now without asking how many could name their Reps and Senators in the state legislature.
Bobby Scott, Webb and Warner, but you’ve got me on the state reps. I used to know who it was, but that was because the guy was also my veterinarian. This is a very safe district for Scott – it’s freakishly gerrymandered to guarantee an African American congressman.
This year, we’re buying a house, almost certainly in Eric Cantor’s district. I intend to be a very noisy constituent for Mr. Cantor.
I guess I view the Illinois pick as a caretaker choice and I think the Senate Democrats are making a huge mistake hyperventilating on this issue. He’s like 72 and he might run in 2 years but he certainly looks like he could be beat in a primary.
I used to live in western New York and I would certainly like Rep Louise Slaughter to get the post. Great representative and one of the best names in politics.
@Reverend Dennis: Hi, My representative is Tom Price, Senators are Chambliss and Isakson and local representative is Jan Jones. I did not know who the GA state senator was so I looked that one up. This question should be requirement for high school grads.
The other problem is seniority. The reason governors don’t nominate caretakers is the value in committee assignments and other powers of that extra 2 years.
That aside, I love the idea of Cuomo. He’ll vote sensibly and make some great speeches.
My question about knowing who our Reps and Senators was incomplete. I should have asked "How many Americans, outside of these pages,…" Most of the commenters are here because they do care about politics – even in the years when there are no elections.
cuomo hardly seems like a fair selection if his son is considered a frontrunner for the runoff election.
I’m still laughing about Caroline. For years she was always the "good Kennedy", laying low, not trading on her name much. But I guess she got the gene, because she is sure acting like an aristocratic tool now. I hope she cries more; her tears are delicious.
I’d be happy with Clinton, Cuomo, Maloney. I fantasized about my own Rep., the odious & eternal Edolphus Towns, getting bumped up, so we would have some shot at getting a decent Rep., but he’s an idiot with a narrow constituency, & Paterson would probably then appoint his son to the House seat.
I think your concerns about incumbency are a tad overblown. The Dems beat six Republican incumbent Senators in 2006, and it’s looking like they beat five more this time around. And that’s not even counting the scumbags who retired because they knew they’d lose if they ran again.
Garrigus – house seats aren’t appointed.
My Governor – Ritter – also has an appointment to make (Salazar is being kicked upstairs). He is also talking about a caretaker appointment for two years. Per John’s point, Colorado is not a state where it can be taken for granted that a Senator keeps his/her seat, so it doesn’t bother me much either way. I’m glad to get rid of Salazar, though; the torture coddling Gonzales lover.
There goes Marcus Fenix’s chance at a seat.
@Emma Anne: Ah. Well, maybe I send Rev. Ed a note, then.
CIRCVS MAXIMVS MMIX
I have a serious problem with Mr. Clinton taking over Mrs. Clinton’s seat, but I’m not from NY, so I’ll sit down and shut up now.
Leaving aside the issue of incumbency for a moment, this seems like the best route for New Yorkers but especially for our governor. He hasn’t been in office for a full year, and already the budget problems and this threaten to make him a short-lived executive.
Now, while it might be stupid to assume that whomever is selected will be a senator for a long time, it’s not necessarily the state. New York is a Democratic state, and as long as the person is acceptable to the majority of down state voters, I’d say reelection should be pretty easy. Whether or not that is a good thing isn’t entirely clear. For one thing, you sort of have to assume that if voters in any district really wanted a change in government, they’d vote for it. In other words, if the people of New York aren’t going to elect a Republican to the Senate, it’s probably because they don’t want one. But perhaps that’s influenced by people not having much of a choice, because their options are somewhat limited if they can’t compete in the resource race. You could argue that’s a reflection of voter preference, and to some extent, it is. But why not set up a system that allows a Democrat in Utah as well as a Republican in West Hollywood to try to compete if they feel their ideas are strong enough but lack sufficient funds? This can’t cost that much money compared to the enormity of the federal budget, and if all elected officials were forced to defend their ideas and records, it might be healthy for our government.