Monday, February 2, 2009

Roll The Dice on a Gregg Placeholder?

Publius is skeptical about the idea of even naming a placeholder to replace Judd Gregg (R-NH), claiming that at the very least Gregg is up for reelection in 2010, and voting with Obama and the Democrats at least some of the time would ease his reelection chances. Not surprisingly, there's some evidence for this; just compare at the DW-NOMINATE rankings for Senators who lost in 2004 2008 in the 109th and 110th Congresses. John Sununu, probably the closest comparison, went from being one of the most conservative members of the Senate to being roughly an average Senate Republican. And that wasn't an isolated case; even Rick Santorum managed to get a little less wingnutty in the run-up to his 2006 defeat.

Still, if Gregg drops from 95th most liberal to 75th most liberal, it's not clear how much good he's doing for the progressive cause. On the other hand, there's at least some chance that Lynch can appoint a caretaker who has already drunk the "modern Republicans have lost their mind" Kool-aid. I don't know much about Rudman's tenure in the Senate, or about Bonnie Newman's history, but simply by being part of an older breed of Northeastern Republican there's at least some chance they won't gel with the Southern-Fried leadership.
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