Posted by Brad @ 12:03 pm on August 28th 2009

More Political Hackery in Filling Senate Vacancies

Following in the tradition of Joe Biden, Florida Governor Charlie Crist has decided to bypass public service experience, and has chosen to fill the Senate vacancy created by Mel Martinez with…Charlie Crist’s chief adviser and former Chief of Staff George LeMieux.

Gov. Charlie Crist chose trust and loyalty Friday over Washington experience or potential political gain in choosing former chief of staff George LeMieux to replace Republican U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez.

State Rep. Jennifer Carroll, who was considered for the position, said Crist told her he is choosing LeMieux. LeMieux is Crist’s closest political adviser and the governor’s pick shows he wants someone who thinks like him to hold the Senate seat Crist hopes to win in the November 2010 election.

As LeMieux said after interviewing for the position: “I’m a Charlie Crist Republican.”

Yeah, no kidding.

Clearly, this is one of those things that appears to bother just me, but it really grinds my gears. Being a United States Senator is a pinnacle of public service, making you one of maybe the 250 most influential public servants in America, whose decisions will affect the daily lives of millions of people. But lately, the trend has become for vacancies to be filled by loyal hacks who can just “administer” it for the sake of whoever The Powers That Be decide they want to have run for it later (in this case, Charlie Crist himself, which adds another level of insult to injury). It’s sort of like a CEO appointing his secretary to the Board of Directors.

And it’s not like there weren’t options:

Crist had a final list of nine candidates for the appointment. It included former U.S. Rep. Clay Shaw, Mike Bilirakis and Lou Frey. Crist also passed on a chance to please party conservatives by picking former Sen. Dan Webster. The governor also could have tried to win points with certain constituents by picking Carroll, a black woman and retired Navy officer, or former U.S. Attorney Roberto Martinez, who was born in Cuba.

Other candidates considered were University of North Florida president and former Jacksonville Mayor John Delaney and Jim Smith, a Tallahassee lobbyist who is a former attorney general and secretary of state.

I’ve written about this before, but this brazen horsetrading of seats is really galling to, the two most egregious examples of which are on opposite sides of the aisle. Joe Biden had the governor of Delaware appoint Joe Biden’s aide to his seat, with the intent of keeping it warm for Joe Biden’s son. Charlie Crist, now, personally appoints his own aide to keep the seat warm for himself. I don’t understand why this sort of thing doesn’t raise more ire.

Look, I’m not so naive that I don’t understand that politics is usually a preeminent concern for politicians. Of course it is. But in these cases, it strikes me that there should at least be a little blowback when it’s so brazenly clear that “the good of the country” wasn’t even a standard worth considering, apparently.

1 Comment »

  1. Totally agree. I actually came here to see if anyone had posted anything about this blatant political cronyism. A bit appalling. And by “a bit,” I mean “hella.”

    Comment by K_Wright — 8/28/2009 @ 10:01 pm

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