Far be it for Georgians to make the rest of America jealous because we are a humble lot. But next year, instead of having just one Senate race, we’re going to have two. (I can already see the green monster rearing its ugly head as the rest of the country tries hard not to be envious.) It’s going to be difficult for us Peach State residents not to gloat when we have the pleasure of watching twice as many TV commercials as usual and have twice as many out-of-staters coming to visit to lend their support to various candidates.
One of our senators, David Perdue, was already scheduled for a re-election bid. Alas, for those who might have missed it, our current senior senator, Johnny Isakson, is unfortunately having to retire from office for health reasons. As many of his colleagues have said, Johnny is one of the good guys, and even more than a few of those sitting across the aisle from the amiable Mr. Isakson are sorry to see him and his tempered approach to the job leave.
As is protocol in these matters, Gov. Brain Kemp will appoint a successor to Isakson when he officially steps down at the end of the year. Whoever that is will then have to run 11 months later for the remaining two years of Isakson’s current term. Thus, we will be electing twice as many U.S. senators in 2020 as usual.
Between now and December, no fewer than roughly 8,000 people will probably be calling the governor’s office with heartfelt suggestions as to who might be the best person to assume Isakson’s seat. Well-meaning citizens from across the state will sing the praises of their favorite candidates. No doubt special interest groups will put forth a candidate or two that might have their best interests at heart. And, who knows, even Sen. Isakson himself may have a successor in mind.
Chances are even members of the loyal opposition party will make a case that since Georgia is a diverse state, Kemp — a Republican — should appoint a Democrat to the seat. My guess is that pigs will fly before that happens, but stranger things have happened in politics.
In all probability, the governor will appoint someone with the requisite gravitas who will want to represent the people of Georgia not only for the last half of Isakson’s current term, but keep on going for his/her own six-year term in 2022. At least that’s how these mid-term appointments historically go across the fruited plains.
I’m wondering, though, if Mr. Kemp might be open to another suggestion. What if the person he appointed flat out said he/she only wants to occupy the seat for just the year 2020 and won’t seek the seat again next November? That might really open up interesting possibilities. Age wouldn’t be a consideration. Special interests would take a back seat. The anointed one wouldn’t have to worry about raising money for a re-election campaign while in office. And there wouldn’t even be time for the new senator to develop Potomac Fever that seems to grip many who walk the halls of Congress.
Perhaps with all the partisanship now in vogue, a non-politician, Joe/Jane average type of senator would be a trendsetter for the rest of the country. Released from all normal encumbrances and beholden to no one, the new senator would be free to just maybe say what needs to be said. I’m thinking this person should be neither Republican nor Democrat, but a card-carrying member of the Common Sense Party.
Using sound judgment in practical matters would be quite a departure from the norm. The new Georgia senator could call out left-wing and right-wing demagoguery for what it is – bloviation of the worst kind. And all without a care in the world about retribution. Real journalists might be forced to unearth adjectives such as levelheadedness, discerning, canniness, judiciousness, intuitiveness, intelligence and prudence they haven’t used in years to describe past approaches to issues.
The powers-that-be might well be apoplectic when first faced with someone with the astuteness to be reasonable in all things and not a McConnell minion or Schumer sycophant. But suppose the public likes what it hears? Washington politicians are nothing if not jump-aboard-the-bandwagon type of folks when they see something working. A 12-month senator might actually be able to put that old axiom, “It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit,” to the test — and be successful.
Gov. Kemp, here’s your chance to be a real innovator. Please think hard about Georgia’s next senator. Then just use a little common sense in making your decision.