New Hampshire Governor FAIL
It's curious that Barack Obama thinks the best man for the position of Commerce Secretary is the guy who voted to abolish the department in the mid-1990s, but I actually pretty much agree with Judd Gregg on that point, so maybe he'll make my favorite Commerce Secretary ever! He's being announced in a few minutes.
As for his replacement, it looks like it'll be Republican Bonnie Newman, Gregg's former chief of staff.
Newman served as assistant secretary of Commerce for economic development in the Reagan administration. She was in charge of administrative operations for the George H.W. Bush White House.
She was chief of staff to Gregg when he was a congressman in the 1980s, and she was one of the first Republicans to publicly endorse Lynch in his 2004 challenge of then-Republican Governor Craig Benson, and co-chaired Republicans for Lynch.
This is just a bad idea on all levels, if you ask me. I don't see why anyone would think that Gregg's chief of staff would vote any differently than Gregg on any substantive issue, no matter who she endorsed in a Governor's race. This is all the more reason why there ought to be special elections for Senators, by the way.
So the only positive I can see from this deal for Democrats is that Gregg won't run for re-election, and Newman probably won't either, making it an open seat. But if you think that's a victory, then you haven't been paying attention to the fate of Northeastern Republican incumbents over the last two campaign cycles. Gregg was DOA anyway. And in exchange, you have a hardcore conservative, Bush's debate prep coach in 2004, running a major federal agency.
Tell me why I'm supposed to be excited?
...It's possible that as a condition for joining the cabinet, Gregg will support the stimulus package. There doesn't seem like any other reason for this. If that's true, it's very short-term and possibly a sign that the bill is in real trouble.
"But the apparent behind-the-scenes deal-making that went on to determine who will fill Senator Gregg's vacancy is alarmingly undemocratic. Once again, Americans will be represented in the Senate for nearly two years by someone they had no hand in electing. As the number of Senators appointed to their seats continues to rise, it's increasingly clear that we need to fix this constitutional anachronism. It is time to pass a constitutional amendment to end appointments by governors and the political gamesmanship they encourage."
Absolutely. This is patronage at its worst.