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A Matter Of Opinion

Fri., Sept. 7, 2007, 3:12 p.m.

Placeholder or contender: You decide

In the kind-of-continuing Larry Craig scandal, one debate is whether Gov. Butch Otter should appoint a placeholder to replace Craig or someone who will really be a contender.

From today's news story about it:

Congressman Mike Simpson, who also had been considered, removed his name from the running Thursday. Simpson urged Otter not to appoint a “placeholder,” but to choose a candidate who would run for re-election and build up seniority in the post.

We debated this briefly among editorial board members the other day and both options have pros and cons -- and precedents.

And remember, sometimes placeholders evolve into surprising contenders.

For instance, Lindy Boggs was elected in a quick special election after her husband, Louisiana Congressman Hale Boggs, disappeared in a plane crash. It was seen as a placeholder move, but Lindy quickly became a major Congressional player and was re-elected eight times before being named ambassador to the Vatican in 1997.

In the non-political arena, my favorite placeholder-turned-contender story concerns Pope John XXIII who was considered a placeholder pope when elected in 1958. Surprise, surprise, he called Vatican II which basically overhauled the entire Catholic church.

So placeholder or contender? You decide.
And/or remind us of other placeholders turned contenders, in any arena.

(Photo from National Women's History Museum Web site)

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