If Judd Gregg (R-NH) leaves the Senate to become Secretary of Commerce, Gov. John Lynch (D)will appoint a replacement to serve until the 2010 elections. If the parties were switched around, is there any Republican governor who would appoint a Democrat to fill the empty seat? Remember, this would be the 60th vote for cloture on party-line votes, which will be frequent over the next two years.
Once upon a time, there were moderate Republicans. But that was a long time ago.* The Republican Party is now united behind the project of making Barack Obama’s Presidency a failure, even though that means disaster for the country. For Lynch to maintain that party’s capacity to obstruct would be a deeply irresponsible action.
Everyone with any capacity to do so should make it clear to Lynch that appointing a Democrat to the seat would make him a hero, and give him a big deposit in the Favor Bank. Conversely, Lynch should also know that appointing a Republican will make him a pariah, with no future career in Democratic politics.
* Update Nate Silver points to an exception, who might actually be Gregg’s replacement: Liz Hagar, who was booted from her seat in the NH legislature by a conservative primary opponent and then endorsed Obama.