Eleven-term Congressman Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) could be packing a steamer trunk for a tour of diplomatic duty in Asia. McDermott is under consideration by the Obama administration for an appointment as the U.S. Ambassador to India, according to a source with strong ties to Washington State politics.
McDermott would replace interim ambassador Albert Peter Burleigh who has served since the resignation of Timothy Roemer from the post this April. McDermott’s past co-chairmanship of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans could offer Republicans in the U.S. Senate a reason to overlook other partisan reasons to block his appointment. McDermott also serves as the honorary chair of the Washington State India Trade Relations Action Committee.
Why else might McDermott be on a short list for a diplomatic posting several thousand miles away? There seems to be an abundance of possible reasons for why Democrats might offer the 22-year congressman his golden parachute. Speculation might focus on last week’s news that the 22-year liberal Democrat is divorcing his second wife. McDermott has not offered any details concerning the split. Also, population trends in and around McDermott’s 7th Congressional District stronghold have are likely to cause a significant redrawing of the territory in redistricting.
Add to those possible factors the persistent pitter-patter of Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s (D-Ohio) progressive happy feet around the 1st Congressional District race, a potential collision with establishment Democrats State Reps. Roger Goodman and Marko Liias. The ensuing fray could create enough discord for Republicans to leverage a decent performance in the district in 2010 by James Watkins into a win in 2012. Finding a pasture in Mumbai for McDermott to wander to would resolve a lot of headaches for Washington State Democratic Party chair Dwight Pelz.
NW Daily Marker contacted the White House Press Office for a statement, but as of time of publication no statement was issued. A call to McDermott’s press secretary was also not returned.
Additional Info: [8/17/11 5:06PM PST] This is not the first time McDermott’s name has been mentioned as a possible choice as a permanent ambassador to replace Burleigh. Northwest Asian Weekly published an article on June 9, 2011 highlighting McDermott’s qualifications and the Northwest Progressive Institute’s website reported about speculations of McDermott being named on June 22, 2011.
[photo credit: flickr]