Well what do you know about that.
The state Legislature did the right thing for the residents of the state and let the politics take care of itself.
What we’re talking about is the Legislature’s decision to appoint state Solicitor General Barbara Underwood to serve out the remainder of the term of former state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who resigned earlier this month over allegations he physically abused four women.
We were concerned that the political animals in the Democrat-controlled Legislature wouldn’t be able to resist the urge to fill the seat with the candidate they’d want to run in November for the full four-year term.
The appointment of someone who hadn’t even been elected by voters would have given the acting attorney general enormous name-recognition, on-the-job experience and fund-raising advantages of incumbency against any opponent in the party primaries and the general election.
Appointing the highly qualified Underwood, who has no plans to run for the office, ensures that the department will be run competently and with continuity until a new attorney general, elected by state voters, takes over in January.
We’re not naive enough to think there wasn’t some kind of political motivation for not appointing someone to the post.
In this case, the leading candidate for the Democratic nomination didn’t ask to be interviewed for the interim appointment, perhaps to promote an image of independence from the political machine.
Still, Democrats could have met behind closed doors and made it mandatory that their candidate take the appointment and begin the campaign from a position of strength. They didn’t do that.
This decision is best for voters in New York, as citizens now will have a fresh choice of candidates for attorney general who will all begin the race from the same starting line.