First, we have Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich allegedly trying to sell Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat. The only thing surprising about this story is how completely unsubtle Blago appears to have been about the whole thing and how utterly red-handed he appears. Normally these kinds of scandals are harder for the public to follow, but this story broke big and broke fast.
Another observation: People initially bandied about Jesse Jackson Jr.'s name as one of the alleged "bidders" for the seat, mentioned in the Justice Department's affidavit. (Everybody knows he is interested in the seat.) People absolutely love to smear Jesse's father, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr. After all, whenever a well-known civil rights leader connects racism, extreme economic inequality, and war as three parts of the same evil, there are just too many powerful people who have an interest in silencing or discrediting him.
Well, it now looks like Jesse Jr. is the good guy in this story. He is apparently the one who first tipped off the Justice Department to the whole Blagojevich Corruption Machine.
Second, Caroline Kennedy appears to be the front-runner to be appointed to fill Hillary Clinton's vacant Senate seat in New York. I have nothing against Caroline. But the only reason there is even a possibility she will be the next senator from New York is that her last name is Kennedy and she is wealthy and famous. According to this AP story, Kennedy "told New York's governor on Monday that she's interested in the U.S. Senate seat." In other words, she just called up the governor and talked to him and that's why she is now the front-runner. Wow, why didn't any of the millions of other Democrats in New York think of that? Just call the governor, duh.
Both of these stories arise from an obvious flaw in the system: governors can appoint people to fill vacant Senate seats. I have not heard any major discussion of this as a systemic problem. Instead, Blajojevich is treated as just a bad apple. The best we can come up with is that he should be removed from office and charged with a crime. No real changes necessary. In Kennedy's case, we call it another example of shallow, personality-based politics and America's dynastic tendencies (which it is). But no one calls for any lasting change to fix anything.
How about this: A new constitutional amendment saying that governors can no longer fill vacant senate seats. Instead, a special election is held 120 days after the seat's vacancy.