Back when then-Rep. Ray LaHood (R-Ill.) was tapped to be Obama's secretary of Transportation, I noted in this space that it removed potentially the only Republican who could win statewide in Illinois to fill the Obama Senate seat from being a contender in what at that time appeared to be an upcoming special election.

We ended up with Roland Burris (D), appointed by then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) as a parting gift before being impeached.

Obama's penchant for peppering his Cabinet with Republicans while he really is disarming the GOP of candidates and incumbents who could help rebuild the party's numbers in Congress is finally being recognized for what it is — a cynical political ploy. But it is a plan and a ploy that can only be implemented with Republican cooperation. After all, these guys could always refuse the job offer.

The latest recruit, Rep. John McHugh (R-N.Y.) — to be secretary of the Army — leaves a congressional seat that could be a toss-up. If it were a safe GOP seat, many rightfully doubt McHugh would have been chosen by Obama.

Republicans chosen by Obama to fill positions in his Cabinet should take a moment to pause, get past the flattery and examine whether or not they are being used politically to hurt their own party. And then ask themselves if it is really worth it in the long run.