It's Official: Lynch Won't Appoint A Dem
by Josh Orton, Mon Feb 02, 2009 at 10:19:03 AM EST
"I have had conversations with Senator Gregg, the White House and U.S. Senate leadership. Senator Gregg has said he would not resign his seat in the U.S. Senate if it changed the balance in the Senate. Based on my discussions, it is clear the White House and Senate leadership understand this as well.
"It is important that President Obama be able to select the advisors he feels are necessary to help him address the challenges facing our nation.
"If President Obama does nominate Senator Gregg to serve as Commerce Secretary, I will name a replacement who will put the people of New Hampshire first and represent New Hampshire effectively in the U.S. Senate."
And I agree with Dean at Blue Hampshire: it would be one thing if Lynch justified a Republican pick by pointing to the choice voters made when they re-elected Gregg. Instead we're just left with 'it's what Gregg wanted.'
Feingold's amendment looks better every day.
Update [2009-2-2 15:26:10 by Jonathan Singer]: Lynch does not come out and say that he will appoint a Republican in so many words -- though reading between the lines of his statement, it's fairly clear that Lynch believes that the only way Gregg will join the cabinet is if he is replaced by a Republican, a condition that Lynch seems willing to honor. Whom, then, might Lynch appoint. All signs point to Bonnie Newman, a moderate Republican who previously worked for Gregg and who in 2004 crossed the aisle to endorse Lynch over then-incumbent Republican Governor Craig Benson. Reports say that Newman is likely to vote more like Susan Collins or Olympia Snowe than Gregg or John Sununu, the conservative New Hampshire Senator who lost reelection in 2008 -- though considering Snowe and Collins haven't been reliably moderate, just lest conservative than the other Senate Republicans, that might not be saying much. So perhaps the most the Democrats can hope for, then, is that Newman is a placeholder, leaving the Democrats an open seat to vie for in 2010.