Friday, November 7, 2008

Brave New Senate

Apart from the six -- maybe seven, if Al Franken is elected in spite of himself -- Democratic pickups, there will be two new senators to replace Obama and Biden. Ted Stevens will presumably be expelled fairly soon, and Ted Kennedy is doubtful to survive very much longer. Robert C. Byrd, the 91-year-old W.Va. senator, is delicately being relieved of most of his responsibilities; while I hope he runs for another term (he's certain to win), he's probably on his way out too. This adds up to a net replacement of 10-12 senators in the near future, which is quite remarkable for such a stodgy institution.

The Times wonders:
The Democratic leadership is also considering who will take the lead on the issue of national health care policy given the precarious state of Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, chairman of the health committee, who has brain cancer.

This seems like a no-brainer to me. Hillary Clinton.


James said...

Everyone seems to think this is the way to go, but I'm not quite sure why. Is the idea that whatever her personal shortcomings, she has the right public image to push this through? Or is she supposed to have learned her lesson, and won't screw things up the way she did the first time around?

Zed said...

Well, she'll probably be a loud voice on this issue anyway, and divided ownership splits responsibility. Therefore you might as well have her do it -- I believe the jargon is "issue ownership." And yes, I'd guess that she learned her lesson.