For the People's Governor, it's a vexing problem.
It's a job he wants so badly. His new wife probably wants him to have it badly, too. Think of all the embassy parties, the state dinners, the coveted tickets to special events.
Now Mel Martinez has to go and pack it in, leaving a yawning opening Charlie is required to fill.
Charlie would dearly love to appoint himself, dropping Florida's no-win financial mess on the Flying Dutchman, Lt. Gov. Kottkamp--but everybody knows that governors who appoint themselves to U.S. Senate seats invariably suffer a backlash from the voters for their overweening ambition, and lose in the next election.
Any appointee is a potential risk. Senator Mel has been such a colorless figure that he's an easy act to follow. A replacement could look statesmanlike by comparison, start liking the job, and double-cross the governor by refusing to bow out next year. Since many Florida voters blindly vote for the incumbent in any primary, it could give Charlie and his huge war chest fits.
The choices are bad and worse, so I suggest he appoint our former governor, Bob Martinez. It'll save the taxpayers money by not having to change the brass nameplate on his desk, and he can probably keep using Mel's leftover stationery since nobody'll notice the difference.
When Republican primary time rolls around, Charlie can bamboozle the voters into thinking it's been the same Martinez--the one who said he was going to resign--all along.
By the time everybody sorted it out, the election would be over.