Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Senator Clinton?

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

Mr. Super wrote about the choices for Hillary Clinton's replacement as junior Senator from New York. In our poll, Andrew Cuomo has a small lead over Caroline Kennedy, who has a lead over her cousin Robert.

But there may be another name thrown in the ring. You're not going to find this information elsewhere because it is a rumour. It's not even a published rumour, it's something I heard from someone who may know something under the radar.

So let's consider the possibilities. Is there any Constitutional reason that Bill could not be a Senator? No. It hasn't happened before, but one ex-President became a member of the House of Representatives.

Trivia question: name him, and cite what issue position he held and argued for, which was used by a later President on an important issue. (Answer this afternoon if no one gets it first.)

One of the reasons cited that Hillary Clinton would want to be Secretary of State is that as the junior Senator from NY, she holds no committee chair, she is low in overall seniority, and she is one of one hundred. Potentially not where she'd want to be.

One of the reasons cited against selecting Hillary for Secretary of State is Bill's business dealings around the world. It may be difficult for her to argue for military and/or geo-political concessions from a head of state who is donating to Bill's charity. Therefore, Bill may be stymied in being able to live the life he's been living since ending his presidential term.

So what is Bill going to do? It's unlikely that he'd be put up as a candidate for the Supreme Court. (The trivia question is too easy, the answer is Taft.) Not that he wouldn't be competent, but my gut says that the impeachment thing wouldn't sell. Plus, the position doesn't seem, um, active enough for him. Sure, the possibility to shape history would appeal, but on a personality level, the position is not a good fit for him. He's not going to run against David Paterson in the 2010 primary. You know that's not going to happen.

So that leaves the Senate as his best option for public service. The "one in one hundred" tag is irrelevant where Bill is concerned. For starters, the Senate is congenial place, and most people are on a first name basis. I'm betting that Bill's first name would be "Mister" and his last name would be "President". That honour never goes away. Plus, there would be absolutely no learning curve for him. Not to mention the fact that being in the club allows him to do all sorts of good work (and good works) and allows him to have an active position working with lots of people, multi-tasking, shaping policy: things he both excels at and greatly enjoys.

Would he be the best choice for the position? My personal feeling is that the seat belongs to the Kennedy's and if they want it, by rights it's theirs. Carolyn, Robert, another cousin: it's their seat. And there is something interesting about the possibilities of a Clinton going up against a Kennedy, with the recent taste of Caroline and Uncle Teddy having passed the Kennedy choice to President-elect Obama. But you never know.

Floor is open.