Senator Lautenberg and His Replacement


Advice to Governor Christie when picking Lautenberg’s replacement: don’t take the Liberal’s or Democrat’s advice


Senator Frank Lautenberg, a Democrat from New Jersey and the state’s longest-serving senator, died today at the age of 89. As Mr. Lautenberg was in the Army Signal Corps in World War II, he served his country in the military before he did so in the business world and U.S. Senate. For all of this, the country should be eternally grateful to him.

But as politics never takes time out to honor the dead, let alone anything else, the talk immediately focused on his replacement to be chosen by Republican Gov. Chris Christie.

Governor Christie should play all the boardwalk games he wants with President Obama but he should not help his agenda


Of course, Liberals and Democrats are pointing to the late Senator’s party pedigree and are making the moral case that only a Democrat should be chosen to replace him. They argue that the voters elected a Democrat Senator and thus are entitled to have such. Where was this pious crew when Vermont Senator Jim Jeffords  left the Republican party in 2001 right after he was elected as a Republican and became a nominal independent? The independent status of Jeffords changed the Senate composition from 50-50 (with Republican Vice-President Cheney serving as President of the Senate to break tie votes) to 49 Republicans, 50 Democrats, and one independent and gave the Democrats control of the senate as he caucused with them. Back then, Liberals and Democrats cooed at the principled choice he made despite pulling a bait-and-switch on the voters.

Perhaps in a better world, a governor would pick a replacement senator who is of the same party and ideology of the one replaced. But also in a better world elected officials, regardless of party or ideology, would not live until they die from old age or conditions resultant from such.

This is not yet the better world that we all wish and hope for.

As Mr. Christie has his eye both on re-election as governor and possibly even a run for the presidency in 2016 or thereafter, his temptation might be to appease the chattering media class and Democrat-leaning voters here on Planet Jersey with a Democratic replacement. That would be a mistake. The voters will not remember who he chooses as a replacement for their senior senator that many likely did not even know existed.

If Mr. Christie wishes to continue his non-partisan bona fides, he should consider someone like former Governor Tom Kean who would caucus with Republicans but is also more than moderate enough to defend as Lautenberg’s replacement.

Appeasing the party of President Obama who would never think of returning such favor under any circumstances is definitely not the answer.

-I.M. Windee

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