Senate Appointments Make Fine Political Theater

If governors can't appoint senators, a vital source of political comedy will be snuffed out forever

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President Obama has assured us a drama-free, efficient, and transparent administration to usher the nation through its worst economic crisis in years. Fortunately, two Democratic governors have stepped into the void to provide us with all the drama, inefficiency, and back-room deals we could possibly want. And instead of thanking Governors Rod Blagojevich and David Paterson for their brave service to the nation, it seems many people would prefer that governors be taken entirely out of the process of filling vacant Senate seats.

This is, of course, a terrible idea.

Rod Blagojevich brightened the darkest days of December with his comically ham-fisted plot to sell Barack Obama's Senate seat, his fantastically weird press conferences, and his eventual triumphant public de-pantsing of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Without Blagojevich, we would never have learned the true meaning of Pearl Harbor. Nor would the nation at large ever have gotten to know the wily old conniver Roland Burris, a man who erected a delusionally grandiose death-monument to himself that named his many accomplishments, such as running for and failing to attain every public office ever invented.

Meanwhile, David Paterson -- the man who is governor of New York only because the Justice Crusader Eliot Spitzer felt honor-bound to patronize the hookers he was always trying to put out of business -- showed the nation just how easy it is to simultaneously enrage three of the most prominent political families in the country. This mild-mannered and affable chump has none of the egomaniacal joie de vivre of a Rod Blagojevich, but he nonetheless managed to make what should have been a very fast, quiet appointment process into an agonizing weeks-long Circus of Shame. Without the New York Senate appointment debacle to distract us, we might have had to pay attention to, oh, more grim economic news or disturbing new reports that Barack Obama is going to take away our killer space robots.

Now Russ Feingold, who never saw a spending initiative he didn't like, would like to amend the Constitution to end special appointments to the Senate by governors. This would require states to put up the money for expensive special elections (boo!) and thwart Democracy, which attains its truest expression when governors are free to put whoever they want into whatever office is available at the moment. Why, special elections would render pointless the careful research the patriots at Conservapedia have put into figuring out which Democratic senators should be killed so that their Republican governors can appoint replacements!

The last thing the American people need is more elections. That's why we should hew to the original intent of the Founders, which was to let the state legislatures elect senators and leave citizens unsullied by the dirty, tawdry spectacle of politics.

Sara K. Smith writes for Wonkette and chairs the Society of Constitutional Originalists.

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