It’s official–New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg (R) will be named as President Obama’s nominee for Commerce Secretary.
Accepting the appointment is, without a doubt, in his best interest–Gregg would have been up for a tough re-election in 2010. By becoming a member of the cabinet, Gregg can prolong his political career by avoiding a bloody–and possibly losing–re-election campaign. Plus, Gregg is well-liked and well-connected in the Senate, giving him the ability to shepherd some of Obama’s policies through Congress.
Of course, Gregg’s acceptance was conditional on his replacement in the Senate being a Republican. While a strongly-partisan part of me would like Governor John Lynch to appoint a Democrat, thus giving the Democrats a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, I understand why this is necessary.
Gregg would become a political pariah if he was responsible for giving the Democrats 60 seats. Plus, it wouldn’t be very democratic–after the last election, Republicans controlled 41 Senate seats. That’s what the American people voted for, and that’s the way it should be until the next election. As much as I would like to have that seat, I want the Democrats to earn it; I don’t want to get it through a series of backroom deals and appointments.
Still, I think this will be good for both Obama and his administration. I look forward to Gregg’s confirmation and I look forward to beating whoever ends up getting appointed to replace him in the Senate.
UPDATE: Also in cabinet-related news today, Eric Holder was confirmed as Attorney General by a vote of 75-21.
Those voting against him represent some of the best and brightest of the Roadblock Republican Caucus: