Civil Discourse Now

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Will New Jersey Governor Chris Christie blow an opportunity w/a temporary Senate pick?

   Perhaps Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey will blow an opportunity to (1) gain political good will by (2) doing the "good thing" when he names a temporary replacement for the late United States Senator Frank Lautenberg. Lautenberg not only was a "liberal," but was "very liberal." He still was to the right of me on most positions, but he was elected by the people of New Jersey. In other words, the majority of registered voters who voted in the election in which Lautenberg won voted for a man who was a liberal and a Democrat.

   Republicans in the press have called for Christie to name a Republican to fill the Senate seat left vacant by Lautenberg's death. Christie has called for a special election to be held in October, at a cost of almost $12 million and separate from the state-wide elections already scheduled for a few weeks later, for the Senate position. This is a waste of money. New Jersey could have the election for U.S. Senator at the same time as the other positions. A little efficiency would not hurt anyone---especially Christie, whose ratings are very high and whose name will be on the ballot for re-election.

   In the meantime there is the matter of New Jersey having two Senators represent its interests, instead of only one. Amongst the names of people who possibly could be picked to serve as a U.S. Senator for some four months, circulated by the press, is that of only one Democrat, Newark Mayor Cory Booker.

   New Jersey is considered a "blue" state, pretty solidly Democratic. The man who died and whose seat is sought to be filled was "very liberal." It would be an insult to the voters of New Jersey to pick a Republican of any stripe to replace Lautenberg. Such a move also would have little point, other than to mollify Republicans. The one vote will not place Democrats either below 51 votes or above 60---the two magic numbers in Senate votes.

   On the other hand, if Christie selects a Democratic Party member, he would show good faith to the voters and an ability to rise above partisanship. The separate "special election," in any view, makes no sense. Only one other matter to add to the mix could make things worse. Geraldo Rivera has said Governor Christie would not choose Rivera for the seat. That is good. Rivera in the Senate would convert the activities in the chamber to a sort of reality TV show. Maybe Rivera would find a formerly-secret vault underneath the Senate, such as the vault of Al Capone Rivera discovered years ago. Unfortunately, Capone's vault was, as Rivera's repository of political values is, empty.    

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