Should Kerry give up his seat?

No. Next question.

The “Kerry should quit the Senate” meme seemed to me so obviously bogus that I was going to let it pass withou comment, but if Dan Drezner — smart, sensible, and fair-minded — has picked it up, I guess it’s time to bat it down.

The idea is that because Kerry isn’t voting, he’s cheating the people who elected him.

But really, now: Would he serve them better by resigning so Mitt Romney can appoint someone who will vote for everything the Massachusetts electorate is against? (The gay-bashing amendment to the Constitution, for example.)

If Romney promised to appoint a Democrat to fill the seat and Kerry insisted on holding it anyway, there might be an issue. As it is, there’s nothing but a red herring.

Aside from Bob Dole in 1996, I’m not aware of any Senator running for President or Vice-President who gave up his seat to do so: not Truman in ’44, not Nixon or Sparkman in ’52, not Kefauver in ’56, not Kennedy or Johnson in ’60, not Goldwater or Humprey in ’64, not Muskie in ’68, not McGovern or Eagleton in ’72, not Dole or Mondale in ’76, not Bentsen or Quayle in ’88, not Gore in ’92, not Lieberman in 2000.

So where’s the beef?

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: