The times demand an appointee with experience, not an ‘honorary’ senator

Your editorial “In naming top aide to Senate, Patrick lessens state’s clout” (Jan. 31) rightly cites five Bay Staters whose experience with national issues and politics would have qualified them to lead Massachusetts and US interests as interim senator until John Kerry’s replacement can be elected statewide. Instead, Governor Patrick chose William “Mo” Cowan, an insider Boston lawyer and his close political confidant.

Despite Cowan’s admirable personal qualities and professional reputation, he cannot have the instant influence in Washington of just-retired representatives Barney Frank and John Olver, former governor Michael Dukakis, D.C. veteran Victoria Reggie Kennedy, or former MIT president Susan Hockfield.

The coming four or five months in Congress are too crucial for Massachusetts to be sending an honorary senator to the Capitol. The governor’s good-hearted appointment will likely have, as the late Senator Everett Dirksen once noted, all the impact “of a snowflake on the bosom of the Potomac.”

James R. Wagner