Ed Kilgore is managing editor of The Democratic Strategist, a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute, and a frequent contributor to a variety of political journals.
Politics being politics, there's already talk about who would run in a special election in Massachusetts to succeed the late Edward Kennedy, assuming the legislature there doesn't change the system to allow a gubernatorial appointment. And in Republicanland, conservative columnist Peter Roff has created a stir by suggesting that Mitt Romney run for the seat.
I don't know anything about Roff's loyalties, but the idea is tailor-made to appeal to the Mittster's intra-party enemies. For one thing, he'd probably lose. For another, if he won, it would have to be by appealing to policy views popular in Massachusetts, which is precisely what earned him the reputation as a flip-flopper or closet liberal when he ran in 2008. And on top of everything else, the shriveled booby prize for a victory would be a term that only lasted until 2012, which would make him either a non-candidate for president or an exceptionally invisible senator. Yes, Barack Obama successfully ran for president as a freshman Senator, but when you are a former governor who's already run for president once and has a gazillion dollars in the bank, why bother?
Expect Romney to rule out a Senate run within minutes of any official announcement of a special election.