We know that Holder is wanting to get away from the Justice Department before the new Congress is sworn in, and we have a lame-duck session coming up. It seems likely that in a few days, Obama will announce Holder's replacement. Going with Tom Perez or even my early pick, California AG Kamala Harris, has some risks. Though Reid is still in control during the lame-duck, I'm not sure that Cruz and company could not stretch out hearings and possibly filibuster -- despite the rule change -- a really controversial nominee.
For one thing, the soon-to-be-minority Democrats are going to be pushing to reinstate the filibuster to get back some of the power they took from the Republicans with the nuclear option. That was mainly for judicial appointments anyway and probably doesn't apply to Cabinet posts. Perez, therefore, would be political poison.
Someone who could get approval and would be almost as recalcitrant as Holder is already sitting in the Senate Chamber. Her name is Claire McCaskill, D-(e)MO(n). While I would be glad to be rid of her odious presence in the Missouri delegation, the question arises as to who would replace her. Our Democrat governor, Jay Nixon, would be able to appoint a fill-in, so it would stay Democrat.
Here's the thing, though, Nixon is term-limited out of the governor's office in 2016. Roy Blunt, our current Republican Senator, is up for re-election in 2016. I am sure Nixon is planning on running against Blunt. However, Blunt, despite being a jerk, is a tough competitor. He could carry every county in Missouri except Boone, Jackson, and St. Louis City -- and possibly Jefferson County which is Nixon's home county. To win, Nixon has to win big in St. Louis and KC, be close in the suburbs, and not lose too badly in Springfield. He might be able to do it, but he has given Blunt a lot of good sound-bites to use, and Ol' Roy will use them -- mercilessly.
But, what if Nixon were already in McCaskill's seat? He would have a really good shot at holding it against about any Republican challenger in a special election or in 2018 when McCaskill's term is up again. The only problem Nixon would have with that -- assuming that McCaskill, who probably doesn't savor being in the minority in the Senate, would get the AG post, is that he would have to resign as governor and let the Lieutenant-Governor appoint him.
The Lieutenant-Governor is Republican Peter Kinder, friend of Rush Limbaugh but sort of a scum-bag. Would Kinder make that deal to get the governor's job? I think he might.
Of course, there are a lot of "ifs" in that scenario, and it may not be so much as a remote possibility. I'm still going with Harris who has a chance to get Senate approval without too much trouble. Nevertheless, it's fun to speculate how the dominoes could fall.
UPDATE to admit, that, once again, my prognostication skills are not exactly top-notch, although Loretta Lynch is, like Harris, a female and non-white. So perhaps I was in the ballpark.