Friday, February 27, 2009

Choosing Senators

George Will has weighed in on a subject I addressed here, which is Senator Russ Feingold's proposal to ban gubernatorial appointments to fill U.S. Senate vacancies.

Will points out what I had earlier noted, that Feingold's goal of making the Senate responsive to popular will, runs contrary to the intent of the founders. But I'm not willing to go as far as Will, who wants to return to the system of election of senators by state legislatures.

He has cherry-picked some examples of senators from that earlier era who are considered great, and some from the direct-election era who are thought to be less than great.

Will ignores criticisms of the original plan, which are summarized by the Senate's historians. One of the issues is that deadlocks among state politicians sometimes left Senate seats vacant for periods that were even longer than the one Minnesota is going through as the near-tie between Al Franken and Norm Coleman is resolved.

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