Clinton for Senate?!

For those who obsess over politics — those who discuss and debate the minutiae of a motion to recommit, scour states looking for the rising star of the 2016 cycle and have the latest rumor become the source of endless conversation — the recent gossip that the next senator from New York could be Bill Clinton must be a gift.

Talk of a Sen. Bill Clinton was put on the radar in the pages of The Washington Post, where Karl E. Meyer and Shareen Blair Brysac opined that, far from being a bad choice, Bill Clinton is the ideal choice to be senator — for reasons, strangely, ranging from the bequest that led to the creation of the Smithsonian to a comparison of the United States Congress to the House of Lords.

The chatter has since been picked up by CNN.

When Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) steps down — and she is indicating she would not do so until confirmed by the United States Senate — it will be up to Gov. David Paterson to appoint a successor. He may choose any New York resident constitutionally able to serve. Names bandied about have included both Caroline and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), who has taken her name out of consideration; but could also include Derek Jeter, Bill O'Reilly, the cast of "Sex and the City," my friend Tom Grant or the maître d' at 21 — all of whom are about as likely as Bill Clinton to be selected. (Sorry, Tommy.)

Selecting Clinton would be such an unnecessary, boneheaded mistake, it's hard to know where to begin. But let's take the most obvious first — a United States Senate seat would give Bill Clinton a voice — a vote! — on every Obama administration policy facing the Senate.

In the 2008 campaign, we heard a lot about John McCain voting with the Bush administration 90 percent of the time (given the Obama campaign's fundraising advantage, there were times when that's all we heard). Were a Sen. Bill Clinton to veer from Obama administration policy just once, no matter how small the issue, it’d place the Obama administration in a potentially embarrassing situation — with a press corps (and a press gallery) just waiting outside the Senate chamber. If the disagreement were of a foreign policy nature, it would dominate news coverage for days.

Should a fellow senator yield the floor to the junior senator from New York (and that's what he would be), would anyone know for certain, including Clinton, just what he would say? As we saw in the Democratic primary, the Clinton campaign had trouble controlling the former president. And that's when he was trying to help.

The selection is Paterson's alone. It has been indicated he would prefer to select someone from upstate or perhaps a minority candidate. But if Paterson is somehow determined to select Clinton, he could do so. As they say, crazier things have happened.

Except in this case, they haven't.