I was talking with a friend of mine the other day who maintained that Caroline Kennedy was far and away the best choice to replace Hillary Clinton in the Senate.
"I mean, who else is there?" he demanded. "Who would be better, and why?"
I rattled off a few names that came immediately to mind -- Gregory Meeks, maybe, or Malcolm Smith or Steve Israel. He rolled his eyes and responded, "I've never even heard of any of them."
Now, the fact that he hadn't heard of a couple of New York congressmen and New York's state Senate Minority Leader is perfectly understandable. Hell, I imagine most New Yorkers aren't familiar with all those names, much less a sometime-political junkie out of Florida. But his reason for backing Kennedy (i.e. that he had heard of her) made me realize that, for many people, Kennedy's potential as a candidate is based solely on name recognition.
And once you allow for the fact that fame is an important qualifier in determining a Senate appointment, it opens all sorts of doors that were previously shut, barricaded, and under 24-hour armed guard. Which is why I'm officially calling for Gov. David Paterson to name Lou Reed as the next junior Senator from New York.
The former lead singer/songwriter of the Velvet Underground and occasional genius is, to me, the quintessential New Yorker. His soul is that of the city, so who better to represent its many millions of inhabitants?
Hell, Reed's just the man for our times! Witness his speaking out against the greedy corporate class. ("Through all that's been heard nothing sinks quite as low as the prominent statements of prominent men." You speak for us all, Lou.) See his evocative defense of the hard-scrabble life of blue-collar workers. ("Some people work very hard,but still they never get it right." Well-played, Sen. Reed. Well-played.) Watch as he confronts the horrors of drug-addled dope fiends and the all-possessing agony of addiction. ("Heroin, be the death of me. Heroin, it's my wife, and it's my life." Oh, Lou, your words ring true now more than ever.)
So c'mon, ace! Take a walk on the wild side and say it with me: Senator Lou Reed (D-N.Y.)! Baby, I'm beginning to see the light, and it's all right.