Faiz Shakir at Think Progress has a pretty stunning proposal: appointing Harvard-based surgeon/author/hero Atul Gawande to Ted Kennedy’s vacated senate seat in Massachusetts.
On the day he would step foot in the Senate, Dr. Gawande would be the most knowledgeable health policy expert in the chamber, an incredible resource for his fellow Senate colleagues, and a champion for reform.
Matthew Yglesias writes:
Someone holding a Senate seat during a critical period but with no future political ambitions would have a pretty unique opportunity to play a kind of bold leadership role if the Senator in question were someone with the knowledge and credibility to really contribute to the debate.
I like Ezra Klein’s take best:
I’d worry that Atul himself would find it a bit of a disappointing experience, as knowing stuff is not likely to matter much at this stage in the process… But it would be a bulletproof choice, and would certainly lead to a great New Yorker article.
This jibes with my sense that the timing is off, unless the health care bill is going to take a lot longer than most people think it will. But, jeez…
It’s almost like the Senate should have a handful of at-large, two-year members who are experts on particular policy issues. They’d rotate in like non-permanent members of the UN Security Council.
(This is probably why I should not be allowed to design a system of government. It’d have epicycles all over the place. Even more than the current U.S. Senate.)