The Chicago Tribune today has an article about who the next U.S. ambassador to the Vatican might be, and suggests that U.S. Congressman Daniel Lipinski (D-3rd) might be a good candidate for the job. Not only that, Lipinski appears interested in the job.

Of course, that would create an opening in the U.S. House, which the Trib suggests might draw a serious Republican challenge. Has the Trib seen the Republican challengers in that district lately? What’s more likely is that the opening would result in a weaker Democratic candidate, that is, someone vulnerable to disapproval among a socially conservative voting base. As long as Lipinski is the Democratic incumbent, he’ll do well in that environment.

It’d be an interesting decision for Lipinski to have to make. He was handpicked for the job after his father, 11-term Congreesman William Lipinski, won the 2004 primary and then promptly retired. And in 2011 the boundaries of the 3rd District — which includes the very tip of Riverside (the part that juts just south of the Riverside Township border) and Brookfield south of Southview Avenue — were redrawn with Lipinski in mind. The remap was a way to attract the votes of social conservatives and keep the district in Democratic hands at the same time.

Taking Lipinski out of the equation could put that strategy at risk, politically speaking.

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