First below is the news that explains why the few hopes and expectations I had for the federal government under the Dimocrats is declining daily.
There isn't anything bold or daring or inspiring about another middle-aged white guy in the U.S. Senate (or in the New York case, if/when Caroline Kennedy is chosen for that vacant Senate seat -- another 'legacy' officeholder).
The Obama presidential campaign was all about change ... the American people want genuine reform and change ... so far all we are hearing and seeing from the Dimocrats is what might have been expected from an entrenched political party that is more obligated towards its campaign contributors than to the people.
So, the Bennet and Kennedy picks are a snooze and portray a party that is out of energy and new ideas -- even as they prepare to take power during some of what could be the most precarious times in our history.
Then find a follow-up to the news about the French vanilla pick by Colorado's governor for U.S. Senator Salazar's replacement.
The subtitle in the print edition of the Rocky Mountain News is: 'Bennet grew up in Capitol with Democratic elite'.
Yup. An unexpected pick by Gov. Ritter, perhaps ... but you couldn't hardly find a more elite, insider, safe, conventional, wealthy man than Michael Bennet.
Quite disappointing -- the Dimocrats have again shown themselves to be very, very comfortable with enabling and promoting the corporate,establishment. No "Change we can believe in" in Colorado.
Denver Public Schools superintendent Michael Bennet is expected to be named Saturday as the future U.S. Senate replacement for Interior Secretary nominee Ken Salazar, according to two Democratic sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Gov. Bill Ritter is expected to name his U.S. Senate replacement pick on Saturday, ending a brief but frenzied period of speculation about who will take Salazar's seat.
Since Salazar's nomination by President-elect Barack Obama, speculation has swirled about potential replacements .
The selection would be preliminary, since Salazar is not expected to resign his U.S. Senate seat until sometime after Jan. 15, when he faces a confirmation hearing — and later vote — to become President-elect Barack Obama's first Interior Secretary.
Salazar is expected to be confirmed relatively easily, due to the deference Senators usually give to their colleagues when facing such nominations. But by announcing a potential replacement early, there is at least a theoretical risk of an embarrassment for the governor if Salazar's cabinet nomination is derailed and he needs to keep his current job.
Still, various analysts and political insiders said in recent days that Ritter was trying to put the decision behind him before the start of the new state legislative session — and before the already long list of would-be replacements grows even further.
An early announcement also could help Colorado avoid the sort of protracted replacement dramas taking place in Illinois and New York state, where jockeying for the seats of Obama and Secretary of State nominee Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has proven to be a major distraction — to put it mildly.
The list of potential replacements grew rapidly after Salazar's nomination last month. Some early contenders, like former Denver Mayor Federico Peña and Rep. Diana DeGette, withdrew their names from consideration. But other names have been joining the list of those interested, including past U.S. Senate candidates Tom Strickland and Mike Miles, among others.
Michael Bennet is heading back to the place where he grew up on dinner table conversations about politics and public policy.
It's unclear how long Bennet will be staying in Washington, D.C., in his new job, but one thing is clear: Denver Public Schools' chief - and Colorado's next U.S. senator - knows his way around the Beltway.
Born in New Delhi, where his father, Douglas Bennet, served as an aide to the U.S. ambassador to India, Bennet grew up mostly in D.C. with the Democratic Party elite - and a family history of public service.
His father served as an aide to Vice President Hubert Humphrey, among others, and was president of National Public Radio from 1983 to 1992.
His mother, Susanne Bennet, taught English as a second language for a Washington nonprofit.
Bennet, 44, grew up attending prestigious East Coast private schools and then graduated from Yale Law School.
Twelve years ago, he came West with wife Susan Daggett, who went to work for the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund in Denver.
The Senate appointment is for two years, the remainder of Salazar's term, and Bennet is expected to keep his home in Curtis Park and enroll the third of his three daughters in DPS.
Some question whether Bennet, with his liberal big-city leanings, can get elected statewide in 2010.
"I think he'd be a good senator," said Van Schoales, urban education officer for the Denver-based Piton Foundation, "but the one thing he's missing is a pair of cowboy boots."
Actually, Bennet does own a pair of boots, and they may get more use over the next couple of years. ... MORE