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Meet New York's new junior Senator


From The New York Post:

ALBANY - Gov. Paterson, defying the liberal wing of his Democratic Party, has chosen little-known, NRA-backed, upstate Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton as New York's junior senator, it was learned last night.

The surprising - and, for many Democrats shocking - decision to pick the conservative Gillibrand, 42, from Hudson in Columbia County, was disclosed by the governor in calls to party officials and some members of the state's congressional delegation, many of whom said they were unhappy with the selection, sources said.


The decision was a major rebuff to some of the state's best-known Democrats interested in Clinton's seat, including Attorney General and former federal Housing Secretary Andrew Cuomo, for whom Gillibrand once worked as a junior lawyer; Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi, and Reps. Carolyn Maloney of Manhattan and Steve Israel of Suffolk County.

Sources said "at least five" members of the state's Democratic congressional delegation called Paterson to protest the possibility of Gillibrand's selection. One, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy of Nassau County, even threatened a primary challenge. Gillibrand faces a special election in 2010.


Calls were made from Paterson's office to leading Democrats and Republicans throughout the afternoon, inviting them to a special meeting room attached to the Capitol for "a major announcement."

The inclusion of several prominent Republicans among the invitees was an early sign to insiders that Paterson planned to pick an upstate Democrat.

Gillibrand has won two successive elections in one of the heaviest GOP districts in the state, first upsetting incumbent Rep. John Sweeney and, in November, defeating former state GOP chairman and multimillionaire Alexander Treadwell, in one of the most expensive races in the nation.

Liberal Democrats have been wary of her because she ran for re-election with the backing of the National Rifle Association, opposed the federal TARP program to rescue banks, and has been less than enthusiastic about gay marriage.

Mmmmkay. Let's review:

  • She's young
  • She's attractive
  • She's relatively unknown
  • She is not an elite urbanite
  • She is a fiscal conservative
  • She is a social conservative
  • She is a darling of the NRA

Does that profile sound, I don't know, maybe just the least bit familiar?

Considering that 2008 was such a huge year of victory and empowerment for big government progressives, one has to wonder which way the political winds are really blowing for 2010 and 2012. What does David Paterson know about the inside frustrations and worries of the liberal Democratic party establishment that we don't? What does his pick say about the chances of hard-core liberals gaining (or even holding on to) power during the next major elections?

Any guesses?


ADDED: Gov. Paterson's selection process explained, via SNL:


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Comments (37)

What does David Pa... (Below threshold)
What does David Paterson know about the inside frustrations and worries of the liberal Democratic party establishment that we don't? What does his pick say about the chances of hard-core liberals gaining (or even holding on to) power during the next major elections?

Nothing at all. Comparing this woman to Palin is just plain funny. You guys got your teeth kicked in this past election. You really need to accept that before you can move on.

What should worry Democrats though is that we have to defend four Senate seats in a year that the majority party typically loses seats in Congress. My guess is we will lose one of Obama's, Biden's, Clinton's or Salazar's seats in 2010.

Being vocally pro gay marri... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

Being vocally pro gay marriage is now socially Conservative?

The Post article s... (Below threshold)

The Post article states that Gillibrand "has been less than enthusiastic about gay marriage."

As I said in my post, Gillibrand is relatively unknown. Adrian, if you know a lot about her, please share it with the rest of us.

and don't forget, she has a... (Below threshold)

and don't forget, she has a young child, too.

My, my how the left tries t... (Below threshold)

My, my how the left tries to spin away.

Good choice. I think the liberal elite has, as always, conducted themselves as if they were entitled to the seat. Caroline Kennedy? Really? And you lefties thought Palin was not qualified. Such crazy folks. ww

<a href="http://tpmdc.talki... (Below threshold)


According to the link she is pro gay marriage.

Does that profile sound,... (Below threshold)

Does that profile sound, I don't know, maybe just the least bit familiar?

Is she also an undereducated, incurious, blathering idiot? If not, your comparison falls apart.

She comes from a liberal st... (Below threshold)

She comes from a liberal state but represents a conservative part of it. She now represents the whole state. Watch her turn left. If she doesn't she'll probably lose to a progressive in the next election.

As for a comparison to Palin - I'd be more inclined to liken her to an airhead, say, like Britney Spears, just a little older nmd more worn.

To be clear - liken Palin t... (Below threshold)

To be clear - liken Palin to Spears.

Looks like a calculated att... (Below threshold)

Looks like a calculated attempt by the DNC to triangulate the Republican party out of business for good. Look for the disowning of the Bush legacy by some in the GOP in response, while the old politicos retrench inside their own castle keeps. The attempt to banish non-Bushbot Jim Bunning (R-KY) for crimethink by neocon revanchists or establishment dead-enders signals that the piquets and ambuscades have already been set. Probably since the pre-ordained trainwreck of the McCain nomination. Hopefully a third party (conservative) will emerge from the muck.

To be clear - like... (Below threshold)
To be clear - liken Palin to Spears.

So, you think they are both cute. You miss on what they actually have in common, though.

I have to say I am with bryanD, I hope a true conservative will come up out of this mess.

Blue, I'm amused that you t... (Below threshold)
Crusty Dem:

Blue, I'm amused that you think the dems will use one of those four senate seats. NY, IL, CO, and DE? Colorado is the only state with the potential to lose, but the Colorado GOP is in shambles (and CO is becoming quite blue).

I'm amused by the Palin comparison, I would note a few important differences with the case of Palin:
1) She has some intellectual heft (Dartmouth magna cum laude, UCLA law school, clerked the 2nd US court of appeals, etc)
2) She has worked in government at the federal level (HUD, US House)
3) There is a 0% risk of her becoming president in the next four years.

But otherwise, there are similarities.

Any Democrat/liberal outsid... (Below threshold)

Any Democrat/liberal outside of the Kennedy family or the New York party machinery should be happy that Caroline Kennedy was overlooked in favour of someone who is a) a politician who b) did not sit on the sidelines waiting for a Democratic majority before entering the political arena. Good choice.

Don't forget the geographic... (Below threshold)

Don't forget the geographic dynamic. In addition to liberal vs. conservative, you also have an upstate vs. downstate dynamic. I'd have to check, but IIRC, doesn't Gillibrand represent a more rural area of New York?

You see, conservatives, unl... (Below threshold)

You see, conservatives, unlike the GOP, the Democrats are INTERESTED in courting moderates. I understand the source of your confusion; that tactic has been outside your ballpark for some years now.

"the Democrats are INTEREST... (Below threshold)

"the Democrats are INTERESTED in courting moderates."

Not the ones in power.

Soooooooooooooo much hotter... (Below threshold)
Pretzel Logic:

Soooooooooooooo much hotter than the last one!

Blue, I'm amused t... (Below threshold)
Blue, I'm amused that you think the dems will use one of those four senate seats. NY, IL, CO, and DE? Colorado is the only state with the potential to lose, but the Colorado GOP is in shambles (and CO is becoming quite blue).

Everyone thought retaining Paul Welstone's seat was a layup and the we lost. The Dems haven't handled the IL & NY transition well to say the least. I think it will come back to bite them.

In IL especially. I am a lifelong Dem and I can't imagine voting for Burris. After eight years of watching and complaining about the Bush crime syndicate I have little patience when my own party does something nearly as bad.

I will also support bryanD'... (Below threshold)

I will also support bryanD's sentiment in hoping that a true conservative party will emerge from the current political "muck".

Before you read too much in... (Below threshold)

Before you read too much into all of this, folks, realize that the 'facts' about Gillibrand are a load of horse-you-know-what. She's no upstater, she fled upstate for NYC long ago and only moved back to run for the House against Sweeney. She's no conservative, either fiscally or socially, but she plays one for the press who play it up, as you can see, for effect because she is in a decreasingly conservative district. The fact is that she votes reliably with Nancy Pelosi pretty much all of the time. She talks the talk, but rarely walks the walk (or votes the vote). On several rare occasions in the last Congress she voted 'with the Republicans' on issues strongly opposed by conservatives, but ONLY when the vote was safely out of reach one way or the other. She never goes against the liberal wing when it matters. As an example - you probably remember the vote that the Democrats stole a couple of years ago? When fill-in Speaker McNulty (also from upstate NY, just retired) gaveled a vote closed after a glance (this is all on CSPAN video) at Dem leadership on the floor and NOT the tally board, because it appeared that the Dems had won the vote, but the tally actually showed a Republican win? You might also recall that for the first time House members were allowed to change their votes AFTER THE VOTE HAD BEEN GAVELLED CLOSED? Three Democrats came forward and were allowed to change their vote after the voting was over. One of those sent up to dutifully change their vote (this was the amendment that would have kept illigal aliens from getting food stamps) to make it look like a Democratic victory was Pelosi clone Gillibrand. This is no upstate conservative by any stretch of the imagination, and I mean STRETCH. As a weird aside, it's very possible that this seat in the House will return to the GOP with her leaving - assuming the NY GOP can find a candidate that's not a horse's rear end. As for "NRA-backed" - she's not virulently anti-gun and doesn't call for the abolition of hunting as she represents a very hunting heavy district...she's hardly a 'darling' of the NRA.

She's also loaded down with scandals that the press has successfully covered up. She ran against Sweeney whining about him having a fundraiser in Utah. After she was elected she jetted off to England and France for fundraisers (lying about the one in France in the process). She whined about Sweeney using an official portrait in fundraising (he wasn't). After she was elected she was one of the freshman Dems caught using their official portraits on a fundraising website. She whined about Sweeney's ties to lobbyists. Meanwhile her father is a lobbyist and after she was elected she and the other freshmen Dems hired a longtime lobbyist to head up their fundraising - a guy with such a bad reputation that some of the slimiest politicians distanced themselves from him in the past. This "fiscal conservative" spent more money on campaign travel than ANY OTHER freshman Dem in her first term in the House.

And, by the way, do you remember Norman "Hillraiser" Hsu? Gillibrand got more from Hsu than all but one other House member.

This "social conservative", I believe I recall correctly, was heartily and heavily backed by Emily's List, the group that spends money to get pro-abortion women elected.

I beg you, take everything you're hearing about her from the press with 14 or 15 metric buttloads of salt.

(And, no, she's not my Rep. but is in a neighboring district.)

What many forget is that mu... (Below threshold)

What many forget is that much of northern NYS is dramatically more Conservative than the Albany district and all of downstate (NYC).

She ranks well on the hot-momma meter, and anything right of Clinton/Kennedy is a boon.

You know what we call a New... (Below threshold)
Baron Von Ottomatic:

You know what we call a New York conservative here in Texas? A democrat.

This is probably the best conservatives could have hoped for in NY, but let's not start slapping each other on the ass just yet.

If she bucks her party on the bailout/stimulus package then I'll be impressed.

The problem is that she is ... (Below threshold)

The problem is that she is NOT right of Clinton/Kennedy.

And even upstate is becoming decreasingly conservative as liberals move north in search of nice big homes where they can park their nice big SUVs on nice big lots that used to be farms and the conservatives that used to live there flee the state. She beat Sweeney because Sweeney was a trainwreck, but the only reason she got re-elected was a crippled state GOP and the fact that the district, while still pretending to be Republican, is swinging heartily to the left. You have to get into the sparsely populated rural counties to find conservatives in large numbers.

And, no, BVO, this is NOT the best we could have hoped for. Read my lengthier comment above for the reasons why. And with her no longer beholden to a slightly conservative district, there's no reason for her to pretend to be anything but a Pelosi clone anymore - now a Reid clone I guess.

Blue, our memories are clea... (Below threshold)
Crusty Dem:

Blue, our memories are clearly different, since after Wellstone died, I thought the seat was going to be difficult to keep (especially in the 2002 atmosphere), and of course, the faux-rage over the memorial ended any chance of Mondale holding on.. Plus, I think the only chance you'd have to vote for Burris is in the primary, where it's far more likely for him to lose than to any IL republican.

And Falze, if I were a repub, I'd be praying for any new Dem Senator to be a Reid clone, since his rank incompetence is a definite GOP plus...

Falze, you're obviously mor... (Below threshold)
Baron Von Ottomatic:

Falze, you're obviously more knowledgeable about NY politics than I, but considering the names bandied about most were Cuomo and Kennedy this pick seems tame by comparison.

Who do you realistically think the Democrat governor of a blue state might have appointed that would have been better?

JFO compares Palin to Britt... (Below threshold)

JFO compares Palin to Brittany Spears thus removing all doubt the JFO is incapable of discussing a post seriously. ww

BVO: And what I'm saying is... (Below threshold)

BVO: And what I'm saying is that the only thing 'tame' about it is that the press has her liberal tendencies more under wraps than the more public Cuomo and Kennedy.

In terms of left/right politics I don't know that we should have expected anyone better (if better is defined as 'more conservative'). Frankly all I was hoping for was an upstate politician, a real upstate politician, preferably one that had been around for a while, put in their time locally, and knew the upstate people and their concerns. I guess maybe I could have hoped for a somewhat socially conservative Democrat, but that didn't pan out. NYers are now represented at the state level exlusively by NYC politicians - Gov, AG, leaders of both houses, and both Senators.

Is she also an undereduc... (Below threshold)
John Irving:

Is she also an undereducated, incurious, blathering idiot? If not, your comparison falls apart.

Only if they were comparing her to you, Brian.

She is a fiscal co... (Below threshold)
clark smith:
She is a fiscal conservative She is a social conservative She is a darling of the NRA

She will have to "grow in office" if she plans on having a future in the Democratic Party.

Clark: no, all she has to d... (Below threshold)

Clark: no, all she has to do is take off her mask and show her true colors - she already votes that way, now she can stop lying about what she supports

brian - "Is she also an... (Below threshold)

brian - "Is she also an undereducated, incurious, blathering idiot? If not, your comparison falls apart."

Self descriptions sound so... so, pompous.

Falze,If what you ... (Below threshold)


If what you say is true (and I'm sure it is) then why are liberal establishment Democrats so upset by her nomination? Is it because they are jealous of the fact that she can morph into a "conservative" Democrat when necessary, while they are permanently cast as ultra-liberal dinosaurs?

Michael,My best gu... (Below threshold)


My best guess is that it is because she's new enough that she doesn't owe them much, if anything (except Pelosi, who got buttloads of cash for her).

If they're from NY, it's because it's her, not them (there are a LOT of them around right now).

And, for a big bunch of non-NYers, they believe the press, also, that she's some kind of conservative.

Plus, in terms of DC, she's a bit of an outsider still, only there 2 years. They'd have preferred a 'good old boy' like Cuomo.

If the Dems learn from Obam... (Below threshold)
clark smith:

If the Dems learn from Obama the value of grooming young, political eye candy, watch out for Gillibrand in 2016.

Actuall (Wee)WildWillie I t... (Below threshold)

Actuall (Wee)WildWillie I think I did a disservice to Britney Spears.

JFO~You keep provi... (Below threshold)


You keep proving Willie's point on discussing something seriously. You still don't get what Palin and Spears actually have in common, but I wouldn't expect you to, so never mind.

JFOWhat have You g... (Below threshold)


What have You got against Britney Spears?

She is attractive,bright, successful and best of all blonde.







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