The Nation: Promise Her Anything

After 23 years of marriage what can you give your wife? Clothes, jewelry, perfume—all old hat. But what about a seat in the U.S. Senate? Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards popped that very proposal to his wife Elaine last week. "Wanna go to Washington?" he asked her. "Are you kidding," she replied. "What for?" "To take Ellender's seat in the Senate." Openmouthed, speechless response. Fadeout.

Much as he admires his wife, Edwards had other things in mind when he made his surprising selection to fill the Senate post occupied for nearly 36 years by Allen...