Sunday, December 28, 2008

Caretaker for Clinton's Seat

If Gov. David Paterson wants to resolve his dilemma over replacing Hillary Clinton by naming a caretaker and letting the public decide in 2010, the perfect choice is at hand--a wise, experienced, respected politician who knows New York State better than any other: Mario Cuomo.

At 76, the former governor would be junior to a platoon of octogenarians in the Senate, not to mention 91-year-old Robert Byrd of West Virginia, and in the Obama Administration's struggle during a time of national stress, would be a powerful ally in pursuing legislative solutions.

The idea of a caretaker choice was broached during the New York Times ill-fated interview with Caroline Kennedy yesterday:

"At one point, she said that it might have been preferable to seek the seat in an election, noting that 'it would give me a chance to explain exactly what I’m doing, why I would want to do this, and, you know, to get people to know me better and to understand exactly what my plans would be, how hard I would work.'

"But she would not say whether she thought Mr. Paterson should appoint a caretaker candidate to fill out Mrs. Clinton’s term, which would allow Ms. Kennedy and others interested in the seat an equal and unfettered chance to campaign for it in 2010."

The "others" would include Mario Cuomo's son Andrew, who is now New York's Attorney General and a possible opponent for the gubernatorial nomination against Gov. Paterson that year.

In the complex political geometry of two years from now, Paterson could show voters now that he has the best interests of the state at heart by selecting the most articulate advocate for their interests during a crisis and letting the issue of political families' heirs wait until then.


Anonymous said...

Robert, I almost wrote this very same post a week ago. I think Mario would be great, agreed.

Anonymous said...

I'll give you another potential elder appointment - Carl McCall - NY's never had a black Senator and it's way past time, and McCall had a long and honorable career.