Senator Paul Kirk

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Anyone who's met Paul Kirk knows he's a charmer, an old school lawyer-lobbyist in the vein of Robert Strauss, another former Democratic National Committee chairman. Apparently the Kennedys wanted him in the job, and now he's got it. But was this really the best pick, and what have Democrats done with their chances to appoint five senators since the election? I will be careful here since one of the picks involves my boss's brother.

When Barack Obama was elected president, Gov. Rod Blagojevich appointed Roland Burris, and that worked out so well. With Joe Biden's election, his former chief of staff given the job and his son, Beau, will surely run for it. In New York, we had the Caroline Kennedy fiasco to replace Hillary Clinton, and now Gillibrand seems vulnerable. In Colorado, the governor made the spectacularly brilliant choice of appointing my boss, James Bennet's, brother, Michael to the seat. (I joke here but I wrote that Bennet was a good pick before I came to The Atlantic.) But now Bennet has a challenger, so maybe it was less well thought out than it might have been. We won't really know until we see how that plays out.

And now in Massachusetts we have an estimable but dull choice that does nothing to help the governor's tough reelection bid or rally the Democratic party in any real way.

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Matthew Cooper is a managing editor (White House) for National Journal.

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