His reaction to the choice of his Senate successor certainly suggests he will.
In an editorial today, the editors of the Chicago Tribune point out that while Obama aides, notably Chief of Staff-designate Rahm Emanuel, talked to “Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s chief of staff about Obama’s preferences” for the Senate seat he has vacated the president-elect and his staff have, in recent days*, avoided “commenting on the selection of his successor:”
. . . we’d like to hear Obama say one thing loud and clear right now: The best thing for Illinois citizens would be to hold a special election to fill his Senate seat.
There’s no legal issue that stops Obama from expressing his views on this. It’s a critical decision for Illinois. Do we hold an election or leave the appointment of a senator in the hands of the governor?
Earlier in the week, when a Tribune reporter asked Obama about this, Obama said he would leave the decision to the legislature.
Leave the decision to the legislature?
While Obama has so far done a reasonably good job of selecting competent individuals for his cabinet, he has so far failed to make controversial decisions about policy. Here, he has a chance to stand up for the citizens of the state he once represented.Â In doing so, however, he would take on some in his party who would prefer a Democratic Governor appoint the state’s next U.S. Senator.
Instead, he punts, deferring to the state’s Democratic legislature.
Does this indicate once he takes office next month as president, he will defer to the Democratic Congress on controversial issue?
Given how his fall campaign and recent cabinet pick suggest a move to the middle and the leftist agenda of the congressional leadership, let’s hope not.
*Particularly since the media have raised the questions in the wake of Governor Blagojevich’s arrest earlier this month.
UPDATE:Â Jim Geraghty offers a similar sentiment to that of the Tribune‘s editors:
I would note that a few words like “I think a special election is a good idea” from the president-elect would go a long way towards making that happen. He doesn’t have to say so as the next president; he can say so as a citizen of Illinois.