03/06/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Latest Pay to Play Scandal in the Senate

Say it isn't so!

After all the controversy surrounding a Senate appointment in Illinois, here comes another smelly deal -- in New Hampshire.

This one isn't about money. It's about party. But it still stinks.

President Obama has decided he wants Republican Senator Judd Gregg as his new Commerce Secretary. Fine. Gregg's a good man, he'd do a good job.

But, here's the hitch. If Gregg leaves the Senate, the Governor of New Hampshire would name his replacement. The Governor, John Lynch, is a Democrat. So, of course, he'd appoint a Democrat. Which would give Democrats a 60-vote, filibuster-proof, margin in the Senate. Right?

Wrong! Lynch has apparently agreed to name a Republican to replace Gregg, in order not to give Democrats a 60-vote advantage.

That's outrageous. Why should a Democrat appoint an anti-Obama Republican? Don't differences in party mean anything anymore?

And why should anybody demand or accept a quid pro quo for a Senate seat. In Illinois, Blagojevich allegedly demanded cash in return for a Senate appointment. That was wrong. In New Hampshire, Judd Gregg apparently demanded a Republican Senate appointment in return for a Cabinet post. And that's just as bad.

Judd Gregg is wrong to make that demand -- and President Obama is wrong to accept it.