This is disappointing:
Ted Kennedy has made clear to confidants that when his time is up, he wants his Senate seat to stay in the family – with his wife, Vicki.
Multiple sources in Massachusetts with close ties to the liberal lion say his wife of 16 years has long been his choice to continue carrying the family flame in the Senate. Kennedy won the seat in 1962; his brother John held it from 1953 to 1960.
“There’s no question that he’d like Vicki to continue in his seat,” said one Massachusetts Democrat with ties to the Camelot clan who spoke to Kennedy recently, before his health crisis.
“She’s smart, and smart politically.”
The 54-year-old Victoria Reggie Kennedy, a former hotshot Washington lawyer, is a Louisiana native and the daughter of a politically active judge.
Look, I understand Ted’s instinct on this one. He wants someone he can trust to carry on his legacy in the seat, and so Vicki’s the natural choice. Still, it’s a poor choice, not just because it recalls the history of Kennedy nepotism, but because, as Eve Fairbanks notes, it denies Barney Frank probably his last chance at a Senate seat. And Barney Frank needs a Senate seat. He’s unimpeachably liberal but internationalist, smart and funny as hell, and he still manages to work well with Republicans. Mostly though, I think it’d be immensely valuable, on a symbolic and practical level, for a gay man to be elected to the Senate. The symbolic resonance is obvious, but the fact of the matter is that the Senate caucus, even the Democrats, is disturbingly apathetic bordering on hostile to gay equality. Only five senators support marriage equality, we still haven’t gotten a vote in the 110th Congress on repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell or on the ENDA, and, of course, Democratic senators from Paul Wellstone to Pat Leahy sold gays out on the DOMA. What we need is a strong, influential gay senator to hold President Obama and the Congressional leadership’s feet to the fire on this, and make sure 2013 doesn’t pass by with DADT and DOMA intact and the ENDA not passed. Frank deserves to be that senator.