the benefit is going out with style. for specter and bunning, at their age, what would be better, fighting a fierce primary for months, eating up all of their time and energy, just to emerge bloodied to take on a democrat whom they might not defeat, or retiring and becoming a respected senior statesman. losing a senate race takes some prestige away from your legacy and it's unlikely either specter or bunning has time to fix that. plus all of the mudslinging that will surely emerge from the harsh races will further tarnish their reputation.
breaking, vilsack gets agriculture. also, on NY-sen, this is going to sound crazy, but how about ferraro as a placeholder? hillary supporter, NY roots, qualified, not likely to run fora full term, and it will mend fences between the two camps. in all honesty after what happened during the primary, she should get something. if obama does well as prez, she will most likely go down in history as the woman mentioned in obama's race speech.
i think this is just temporary. i think obama's going to keep gates on as Defense sec for a year or so, just until everything in the world smoothes out. then, when he lets gates go, i think richardson gets def. sec.
sen leahy for AG!!! i know he's a little old, but he'd be great. also, gov douglas would be terrified of a backlashat the polls in 2010, so he'd probably nominate a weak dem, or an independent/liberty union/progressive to the seat. douglas would know that the electorate would swing against him if he propped himself, dubie, rainville, or (gag) tarrant up to the senate.
forgot to make my point :S. hillary as sec of state could be the rep of a popular obama administration running for prez. otherwise, if obama is popular and has no obvious heir, many of his cabinet members could run for president, and if the anti-hillary people are still there, they will eventually coalese around one of them. i imagine sec of state richardson or energy sec/agriculture sec schweitzer (second term hopefully, let Awesome Bolo-tie serve out his term in montana).
i think it's safe to say that biden isn't running in 2016. if that happens, there will be an obvious power vacuum for prez. hillary would be the obvious choice, but much will depend on the popularity of obama and his administration. imagine if bush's popularity was somewhere around 60-65% in 2007-2008. understandably the people would want a rep of a hypothetical (and unlikley) popular bush administration to run. cheney wouldn't, so the obvious choice would be sec of state rice. african american, female, experienced, new and experienced at the same time. she would be the defacto frontrunner with mccain as the main challenger and guilianni as the third alternative. imagine her as hillary, mccain as obama (as hard as that is to fathom) and guiliani as edwards. romney wouldn't even bother, or would be a richardson, just running for a cabinet seat.
actually there has been a prominant texan on every presidential ballot since 1980
1980 Bush sr VP
1984 Bush sr VP
1988 Bush sr Prez
1992 Bush Sr Ross Perot Prez
1996 Ross perot Prez (not THAT prominant, but 6% is enough for matching funds 4 years later)
2000 Bush JR Prez
2004 Bush JR Prez
in the event that stevens wins the senate race, does anyone here worry that sarah might try to put todd in? i say this, since the palins seem to be, in most cases, the evil opposites of the clintons. bill was an intelligent governor of a small state that he goverened well. sarah is an insane governor of a miniscule (pop) state that she runs like a queen. bill and hillary were both really intelligent (hillary more so) and bill had plenty of charisma. sarah has charm, but is dumber than a box of rocks. todd just seems douchie. bill and hillary were quasi hillbillies (bills southern life and love of ribs, hillary's hillbillie side really didn't come out until the drinking during the primaries). the palins are full blown shootin' at some food, up come a bubblin' crude hillbillies. i ask this, because i could see her putting todd in the senate (special election i know, but if he has her seal of approval and the nom, the people of alaska will vote for him) so she can run in 2012, and todd anytime between 2020-2032. i really am afraid that they're the evil opposite clintons who will be given the keys to the nation one day because she's just so darn cute. the republicans don't exactly have ahistory of choosing capable presidents. we choose guys who can govern, but lose, they choose guys that can win, but can't put their pants on most days without help. oy.