Wanker Of The Day

1 comment December 19th, 2008at 07:14am Posted by Eli

Shorter Rick Hertzberg: Democracy is boring.

Governor David Paterson… has been pondering whom to appoint to replace Senator Hillary Clinton… According to press reports, the list of possibilities under consideration is as strikingly unimaginative as if the choice were being made in the usual way—i.e., by the people, as mediated through and manipulated by party primaries, fundraising prowess, non-stop polling, ethnic entitlement, and regional balancing. “Among the governor’s inner circle, there is a desire to pick someone from upstate New York, since the region has no representation in statewide office,” the Times reports. “A woman or a Latino would also be desirable.” The current roster (with accompanying parochial concerns) includes at least three members of Congress (one female and upstate, one female and Hispanic, one just upstate), two city executives (one upstate, one Hispanic), one labor leader (the teachers’ union), and two dynasts (one Cuomo, one Kennedy). The Cuomo is Andrew, the state’s elected attorney general. The Kennedy—and the only choice on the list that qualifies as even marginally adventurous—is Caroline, a reticent and intelligent woman who made a splashy political début this year as a campaigner for Obama.

What if Governor Paterson, prompted by the squalor of his Illinois colleague’s maneuverings, were to put aside mundane calculations and take full advantage of his theoretically unfettered freedom of choice? The Senate was originally conceived as a sort of chamber of notables, but most of its members, over the years, have been notable mainly for their mediocrity.

He then goes on to present a (hopefully) tongue-in-cheek list of personages he considers more interesting, most of whom are even less qualified to be Senators than Caroline Kennedy.  Kareem Abdul-Jabbar?  Lou Reed?  Joe Torre?

Perhaps I’ve missed the point, but I always thought that Senators should be chosen based on their competence rather than their Q Rating.  Sure, appointing another elected official to replace Hillary is an uninspired choice, but it sure beats most of the alternatives.  Also, bear in mind that Paterson presumably wants to appoint someone who can get re-elected, so all of those electability calculations are still in play – it’s just that Paterson has to project them out for 2010 because the voters can’t make their choice today.

(An alternate possibility is that Hertzberg is making a sly and accurate commentary on the shallowness of the media rather than embodying it, but I’m just not seeing it.)

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Media,Politics,Wankers

1 Comment

  • 1. ::matthew  |  December 19th, 2008 at 9:36 am

    (An alternate possibility is that Hertzberg is making a sly and accurate commentary on the shallowness of the media rather than embodying it, but I’m just not seeing it.)

    if he is, he’s not doing it right.


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