There will apparently be three new wise men (or women in at least one case) heading to a seat of power this Holiday season. These will not be coming from the East to pay homage at the birth of the Messiah however (no matter how often that little chestnut has been roasted during this election season). Rather they will be making a journey to a different kind of seat of power in Washington DC. You see, there are three Senate seats to fill because of the election of 2008:
Senator from New York - since Hilary Clinton has been appointed to the position of Secretary of State
Senator from Delaware - since Joe Biden will be taking the position of vice-president of the United States
and Senator from Illinois - since Barack Obama has been elected President of the United States
Senator Clinton's seat appears to be now coveted by Caroline Kennedy, daughter of former President John F Kennedy and niece to Sen. Ted Kennedy of MA and of Sen. Robert Kennedy who previously held the seat. While Ms. Kennedy has not served in government prior to this, she is a lawyer and has worked behind the scenes in a number of charitable organizations over the years. Besides, with the Kennedy name behind her, there is a great deal of sentiment out there saying that it is an inherited title. It will be difficult for the the NY governor to appoint anyone else if she is truly interested in this position.
Senator Biden's seat looks to be going to Edward Kaufman, his long time chief of staff. Kaufman, aged 69, appears not to be seeking the position in order to be able to run for it again in 2010 from the position incumbent (something rather unusual in itself). Instead, he appears to want to be a placeholder for Beau Biden, the current Senator's son, who would like to run for the office but is currently fulfilling an obligation with the National Guard unit currently deployed in Iraq.
Senator (and now president elect) Barack Obama's seat appears to be for sale, or at least it was until Governor Rod Blagojevich got caught trying to put it up for bid (perhaps he would have done better just putting it up on Ebay). As a consequence of the governors recent arrest on Federal charges, it may in fact be a while before a candidate able to escape the taint of the process emerges for this seat.
Even those of us who didn't vote for the president-elect couldn't help but wish that some part of the promise of hope and change that were the message of Barack Obama would actually be fulfilled. Unfortunately, it appears that government will be business as usual, at least as it applies to filling these positions. Once again, we are treated to the backroom shenanigans of the power brokers in politics, and a healthy does of nepotism, elitism, and cronyism.
Caroline Kennedy may be a good person, but has no prior experience in government before taking one of the highest elected positions in the land. She is only receiving consideration because of the name recognition. Mr. Kaufman gets the nod as a payback for prior service and because apparently he has agreed to step out of the way when Joe Biden's son is ready to run for his father's current office. As for the Illinois situation, it speaks volumes about the politics as usual that know are prevalent on the national level and how they are taken to their most egregious level in the Chicago version.
I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same ...