Although there seemed to be some doubt about the Governor of Massachusetts being able to appoint an interim Senator earlier this month, little doubt now seems to remain. It is now extremely likely that Governor Patrick will get to appoint the next Senator from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and his choice could be former Massachusetts Governor and presidential candidate Michael Dukakis.
As the Boston.com website reported yesterday, "The state Senate passed a bill this afternoon that would allow Governor Deval Patrick to name an interim successor to Edward M. Kennedy, potentially paving the way for appointment of a new US senator later this week." That article later noted that "Patrick has pushed for the bill and could sign it as early as Wednesday." That appointment could, once again, give liberals in the Senate a 60th vote, which could prove pivotal for those who are trying to pursue massive health care reform this fall.
One top prospect for the position is former Governor of Massachusetts Michael Dukakis. (Dukakis, it should be noted, was the last Democratic Governor of Massachusetts before Patrick, who was inaugurated in January of 2007.) Along with Democrats in the state who could be pleased by the appointment of Dukakis, the Boston Globe is also advocating for that decision. A recent editorial by the Globe noted that "The ideal candidate for the interim job would have a high profile, significant policy expertise, and a record of political independence - but no further political ambitions. Dukakis is the most logical choice; indeed, he may be the only one who meets all the relevant criteria." [# More #]
There is definitely a good possibility that over two decades after his failed run for the presidency, Governor Dukakis may finally get a major and high-profile position in our nation's capital, if only for a couple of months. However, there is always a chance that Patrick chooses someone other than Dukakis. It was only a few months ago that a Senator Caroline Kennedy seemed like a sure thing. Dukakis may have momentum on his side for the appointment but if the legislation is signed by Patrick, then the decision will be the Governor's to make.
Fortunately, Politico.com has a new article about lessons that Patrick should keep in mind if he does get the opportunity to appoint Kennedy's replacement in the Senate. The last lesson "Remember, the nation is watching" is one that Patrick should surely note before making his decision. The nation was watching as New York Governor Paterson fumbled when he was given the chance to make a Senate appointment and now, according to reports, President Obama wants him to quit running for re-election because of Paterson political vulnerabilities.
Now, the nation will be watching to see what Governor Patrick decides if, as is now likely, he gets to appoint the next Senator from Massachusetts.