Today Governor Nikki Haley (R-SC) annouced that she was appointing Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC) to fill the Senate seat that will be open when Sen Jim DeMint (R-SC) resigns his position to assume leadership of the Heritage Foundation. Scott is a rising star in the GOP and has a uniquely American success story, including building bridges with Strom Thurmond (the senator from SC who once ran for president as a segregationist). In fact, Scott defeated Thurmond’s son, Paul, to win his current House seat in 2010. Without falling into the identity politics trap*, it is also worth noting that Scott will be the only African-American Senator, once he is sworn in.
There is also another Senate seat that looks to be open soon. It is widely expected that President Obama will appoint John Kerry as the next Secretary of State, leaving his current Senate seat open. According to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air, Governor Deval Patrick (D-MA) is looking to former Governor and failed presidential candidate Michael Dukakis as the likely interim appointment. Full disclosure: 1988 was the first presidential election in which I could vote, and I voted for Dukakis. Hey, I was 18…I’m better now.
Now with all due respect to the former governor, I think it is pretty telling about the state of the Democrat “bench” when the likely appointment for the vacant senate seat has been out of elected office for over 20 years: it’s thin. Despite holding the presidency for the past four years, who are the up and coming stars of the Democrat Party? Martin O’Malley (D-MD) (I”m originally from Maryland, he’s a disaster of a lib talking points parrot)? Julain Castro (D-TX) (I now live in the San Antonio suburbs, he hasn’t done anything – including passing his Bar Exam)? Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) (he has some name recognition, but is it possible have a lower profile?)? Hillary Clinton (wait, what?)?
Contrast that with the strong conservatives currently making their way up the Republican bench including Scott, Ted Cruz (R-TX), Susana Martinez (R-NM), Bobby Jindal (R-LA), Marco Rubio (D-FL), Scott Walker (R-WI), and Kristi Noem (R-SD). Each one of these elected officials are bright and can communicate the conservative positions on the issues well (which is sorely needed). Despite losing the presidential election this year, the GOP seems to have a bright future with these individuals making their way up the leadership ladder.
*The race-baiting from the left has already begun:
With Scott going to the Senate and Allen West losing, the 113th Congress will see no African-American Republicans in the House.
— Luke Russert (@LukeRussert) December 17, 2012
As usual, the Twitchy Team is all over it.
Well, it appears as though the speculation about Dukakis was just that. According to CBS Boston, Dukakis will not consider an appointment to the Senate:
In a brief State House interview, Dukakis told WBZ News: “I’m headed for the West to teach,” alluding to his annual spring-semester teaching duties at UCLA. “That’s a no,” said Dukakis in reference to a possible appointment by Gov. Deval Patrick to fill the seat until a special election can be held. Dukakis also said he had not been contacted by the governor’s office in regard to a possible appointment.
Even if the above is the case, the fact that insiders considered him a likely appointment proves the above point…and conservative still have Scott.
[UPDATE II 12/18/12]
Marco Rubio released a statement through a spokesperson last night regarding gun laws in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy. Via The Hill:
In the aftermath of the unspeakable tragedy in Newtown, Sen. Rubio, like millions of Americans, is looking for public policy changes that would prevent such a horrible event from happening again.
He remains a strong supporter of the Second Amendment right to safely and responsibly bear arms. But he has also always been open to measures that would keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill. The challenge with gun laws is that by definition criminals do not follow the law. For example, Connecticut’s gun laws, some of the strictest in the nation, were not able to prevent this atrocity. Nevertheless, he supports a serious and comprehensive study of our laws to find new and better ways to prevent any more mass shootings.
At first glance, this doesn’t sound very promising – a knee-jerk reaction to Lanza’s murder spree. However, I’m not going to respond to one knee-jerk with another. I’m all for making sure that guns do not get into the hands of criminals and the mentally ill; but not at the expense of lawful and responsible gun owners. We’ll have to wait and see where this goes. In the meantime, I’m going to have to keep my eyes on Mr. Rubio. This, along with the version of the so-called “Dream Act” he has been promoting, may raise some serious questions about the senator.