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February 02, 2009

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It would be nice to see a good rat-fncking here with Lynch appointing a democrat anyway. What's the downside?

There's also the problem that a Republican appointed to a 2-year gig might have an incentive to conform more to the party line in order to preserve eligibility for wingnut welfare after the term is over.

That said, it does help the 2010 outlook to get an incumbent out.

From a Dem political strategist standpoint, this seems like this would be the main upside. IIRC courtesy of Nate Silver, appointed Senators have trouble hanging onto their seats compared with incumbents.

Personally I think the main question should be, will Gregg make a good Commerce Sectry? Let the power balances in the Senate take care of themselves. If the Obama admin. does a lousy job of governing, all the gamesmanship in the world won't preserve Dem. numbers in the Senate.

"It would be nice to see a good rat-fncking here with Lynch appointing a democrat anyway. What's the downside?"

For national Democrats, none. For Governor Lynch, as I pointed out the last time we discussed this here a day or two ago, it's hard to do business if people never trust you again.

(Although I noticed when I read Ambinder earlier today that Lynch's statement does not, in fact, say what Ambinder claims it does; it's entirely weasel-worded.)

I thought cutting deals about who would get appointed Senator was Blagojevichian.

I think Ed nails it. Setting aside personal gain this is promising an appointment for political value. Value is value. Also there is an first amendment [association and speech] and fourteenth amendment equal protection argument regarding partisan discrimination in the appointment process. It feels unconstitutional. Restate the issue slightly differently. What if the governor was promising to appoint a white, or a protestant, or a man?

As I've said at in comments at 538, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool progressive and I *hope* Lynch appoints a Republican. In particular, a liberal Republican. New Hampshire is in New England, the last bastion of actually liberal Republicans. Over here in Massachusetts we even have elected Republicans who've voted in favor of same-sex marriage (against even the local party's official position)! And we needed them for the 3/4 majority required to prevent the local anti-gay constitutional amendment from advancing to the ballott.

Much I would like to think of every political drama in terms of the political advantage for Democrats, if we're going to truly rebuild our nation we can't do that. For a healthy democracy we need at least two, functioning, non-crazy political parties. For the dangers of a one-party state, you can (again) reference Massachusetts.

To me, that means we have two choices:

1. We can try to destroy the Republican party and hope something non-crazy emerges from its ashes.

2. We can try to pull the Republican party back up over the cliff to sanity.

Over 40% of the electorate voted for McCain. Republicans have a strong regional base. I think we *can't* eliminate the Republican part overnight, no matter how hard we try. To me, that says the path that is better for the country is behind door #2, much as I might regret it.

And I do regret it. Because one (of many) weaknesses Democrats have had in recent political debate is that if you make an argument that some crazy, wingnutty idea is actually good for the country, they will often consider the argument before firing back. That's part of what made it startlingly easy for the Bush administration and Congressional Republicans to outmanuever Democrats time and again.

But I don't want to see the Democrats give that up. I want them to fight their enemy without becoming them, because if they don't... we'll be having a conversation like this about the Democrats in a generation or two. And much as we might do wonderful things in the short term with (nearly) absolute power, over the long term rot would set in and the country would be worse off. Since I'm a Tolkien fan... we can't use the Ring, we can only destroy it. I think Obama understands that and I think his approach to politics and governing helped me understand it in this context.

So why do I want Lynch to appoint a liberal Republican? Because someone has to show Republican voters that what their current leadership does is not the only option. Because a visible liberal Republican in the Senate as part of Obama's legislative coalitions might demonstrate productive bipartisanship as an alternative to corrosive bipartianship. Because no matter how intensely I might oppose the Republican party and everything they stand for today... Republican voters are not our enemies. They are our fellow citizens and, unless we want another Civil War, we have to learn to live with them. I'd hope that the right liberal Republican appointment might be a step in that direction.

Yeah, pull my other finger….

"I thought cutting deals about who would get appointed Senator was Blagojevichian."

Politicians cut deals multiple times a day; that's what politics is.

Cutting a deal in return for a bribe is something entirely different.

"Setting aside personal gain this is promising an appointment for political value."

Well, yes, politicians engage in politics all day long; film at 11.

"Also there is an first amendment [association and speech] and fourteenth amendment equal protection argument regarding partisan discrimination in the appointment process. It feels unconstitutional."

Um, wtf?

"What if the governor was promising to appoint a white, or a protestant, or a man?"

What if? So you'd either vote for or against the governor next time the governor runs. (And the governor, as I pointed out, didn't explicitly publically make any promise other than this: "If President Obama does nominate Senator Gregg to serve as Commerce Secretary, I will name a replacement who will put the people of New Hampshire first and represent New Hampshire effectively in the U.S. Senate.")

I think we *can't* eliminate the Republican part overnight, no matter how hard we try.

No. It's going to take years.

"1. We can try to destroy the Republican party and hope something non-crazy emerges from its ashes."

No one outside has to try; they're doing a fine job by themselves.

"2. We can try to pull the Republican party back up over the cliff to sanity."

This is like invading a country to try to make it a democracy; it has to be done by the natives, not by outsiders at gunpoint.

"Because a visible liberal Republican in the Senate as part of Obama's legislative coalitions might demonstrate productive bipartisanship as an alternative to corrosive bipartianship."

Since there's absolutely no sign whatever of previous liberal Republicans having any such effect, I'm at a loss as to what you can point to to support this theory. What the Republicans have done is do their best to drive out liberal Republicans, by running primary challengers against them, funding their opponents, campaigning against them, and so on. On what planet has your fantasy happened?

It'd be very nice if what you suggest could happen is true, but it's pure ponyism.

I don't know, appointing Rudman, an old-school Republican who might be able to be the focus of developing an intelligent opposition, might be what the Dems need. He also has financial chops (Clinton wanted to appoint him to Treasury) as well as an understanding of international terrorism with his work with Gary Hart. Though Rudman is dismissive on the possibility

"Only someone who is totally insane would think I'd ever do that," [Rudman] said. "Anyone who thinks that Warren Rudman would go back to the Senate after serving for 12 great years truly ought to have his head examined."

Since I moved from the Boston area to the hinterlands of RI six years ago, I've kind of lost touch with NH politics.

But its really amazing to me, knowing and having lived the history of New England politics, that Rudman is now considered a "moderate Republican."

I mean, I respect him a lot, because he is the rare GOPer of the last 25 years who buys the proposition that reasonable people can disagree, and didn't demonize his opponents. But when he was elected he was considered a staunch conservative.

To me, Jacob Javits, Ed Brooke and John Volpe were moderate Republicans. You youngsters will have to look them up, I'm afraid.

Overton's window, I'm afraid, efg. I do remember him being a staunch conservatives, but that was before conservative was a swear word.

Looking up some more stuff, he was apparently on Kerry's shortlist of VP candidates. I also thought that his previous service might put him ahead of other senators, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

He's also co-founding chairman of something called the Concord Coalition. Still, not disagreeing, just find him an intriguing choice.

Double checking, the Kerry shortlist is actually from a Slate shopping list.

Well, LJ, you made me do a little research. It seems the window is kind of like moving the goalposts, something at which the GOP has been especially skilled these last couple of decades.

The Concord Coalition were balanced-budget hawks, at least nominally non-partisan. They actually liked Clinton for a while.

Two things.

The first is that from what I understand, Gregg has indicated he will only accept the appointment if a Republican is named to replace him. That is very different from promising to make an appointment in exchange for something.

Secondly, the primary concern should be if Gregg is an approrpiate pick for the position, not what the party of the replacement is. Some states require the replacement Senator to be of the same party as the one leaving, no matter what party the Governor is (NH is not one of those).

A move of political genius? Only Al Giordano could love this....

1. Incumbency gives the office holder a big edge historically.
2. Co-opt the incumbent out of his office.
3. Governor appoints "neutral" non-entity who promises not to run in 2010.
4. GOP base nominates wingnut in 2010, because that's what they do.
5. Presto....another newly minted Democratic Senator from New England.

PS: The Concord Coalition is a bunch of dishonest liars and hacks led by Pete Peterson who are out to destroy Social Security.

As someone who lives in NH, I have to support Gary's point on this. NH is trending bluer, but libertarian-flavored Republicans are still a major force in state politics. If Gov. Lynch and Gregg have an understanding that Gregg's replacement will be an (R), it would destroy Lynch's ability to govern if he goes back on his word.

Eh, what's so great about Gregg that he gets to set the terms of his nomination to the job?

@Model 62: Gregg is no doubt aware of the possible advantages that encourage the Obama circle to be considering him for Commerce (see bobbyp's comment). Most people being considered for a nomination have conditions under which they'll take it.

In Gregg's case, the 'what's so great' is that he already has a perfectly good job. Presumably, the Obama admin "needs" him more than he needs the Commerce gig.

I think there are as many potential drawbacks to a Gregg nomination as there are advantages. I'm with TLTIA in not liking the lack of focus on how Gregg would be as Commerce Secretary.

Turbulence chose to disagree with my comment yesterday attempting to say the same thing by parsing and overreading it to death; Turb, is TLTIA's any more acceptable a formulation?

My most fundamental objection is that in the middle of a fight over the recovery/stimulus bill, I'd rather see Obama and supporters actually making the case on the merits to the American people than playing games with the very people who drove us into this economic ditch.

Oh, the brilliance of this move, the fabulous change we can believe in, it just...
burns.

The Department of Commerce conducts the census that will happen in 2010. How nice to have a right-wing Republican from one of the whitest states in the country organizing the census!

Oh, I'm sure it won't affect anything because superliberalJesus Obama will be making sure that census procedures, which have serious funding and electoral consequences for communities with lots of immigrants and people of color, will be organized to meet the concerns of those communities. Because he has so much extra time to make sure that all his Republican cabinet members aren't running their own agendas...

I've also read that at some point during the Bush years, Judd Gregg voted to eliminate the Commerce Department, but haven't found a documenting link. If that turns out to be true, and I were a member of the committee considering his confirmation, that would settle the issue for me.

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