Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Proof Is In The Sausage

The New York Times has two big stories about the state's new senator this morning. One is about how Gov. David Patterson muffed the selection process. The other is about its most excellent outcome, his choice of Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand, a feisty, intelligent, Mandarin-speaking centrist Democrat with Presidential ambitions who fits so perfectly with the Zeitgeist that it's hard to imagine Patterson considered anyone else. If she'd move to California, I'd vote for her.

Obviously, he did consider someone else, because he had to, namely Caroline Kennedy. The Times suggests he has suffered political damage as a result of the Senate derby. From this distance, it's hard to see why. Sure, it wasn't pretty, but politics usually isn't. The governor deserves props for keeping someone out of the Senate who wasn't qualified and who seems to have thought (along with many of her media and political boosters) that she could gain the office by pedigree.

Amid the Times's Saturday-morning sneers (what's really eating 'em, anyway?) is that Gillibrand has the support of the NRA and only votes for gay rights 80% of the time. Political insiders predict that when she no longer has to worry about what her relatively conservative rural upstate district thinks, she'll abandon her interesting mix of positions and become a decent, unimaginative, lockstep liberal just like Caroline Kennedy. We'll see. Says one of the downstate pols who think Gillibrand isn't liberal enough, yet:
“If we have royalty, it’s the Kennedys,” said Assemblyman Peter M. Rivera, a Bronx Democrat and chairman of the Assembly’s Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force. “The way she was treated, the backbiting and the attacks, it was insulting,” he said....
But we don't have royalty. We have politics. We have backbiting, attacks, and insults, and that's just the way we like it.

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