Camelot's clout is still strong, said Joan Vennochi in The Boston Globe. Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has just appointed "loyal Kennedy foot soldier" Paul G. Kirk Jr. as the late Sen. Ted Kennedy's interim successor. Picking Kirk meant rejecting Michael Dukakis, "who served three terms as governor of Massachusetts and won his party's presidential nomination," to give the seat to the man Kennedy's widow, Victoria Reggie Kennedy, and sons wanted.
Enough with the entitlement, said Margery Eagan in the Boston Herald. Changing the state's rule on filling open congressional seats—so Kennedy's spot wouldn't be vacant during the health-care debate—was already a "shameless maneuver," but it was "over the line" for Victoria Reggie Kennedy to push a "family loyalist" for the job. "This is not a Kennedy seat anymore"—the family had no business discouraging Patrick from picking Michael Dukakis, whom many liberals and independents think is "one of the last honest and true public servants left."
Massachusetts is getting no slouch in Paul Kirk, either, said Steve Benen in Washington Monthly. Kirk, 71, was a "close aide to Kennedy in the 1970s, and became chairman of the Democratic National Committee in the late 1980s." Plus, he has promised not to run in the January special election to pick someone to finish Kennedy's full term. "It's a safe, smart pick, adding a seasoned voice to the Senate who, while lacking Kennedy's obvious influence, will vote as his old friend would have if he were still serving."