Because you didn’t think I was going to let the whole thing pass, did you?
This morning, after reading Maureen Dowd’s column, Dave and I got to talking about Paterson’s choice. Let me say up front that Dowd can be catty and I don’t at all believe that Gillibrand is a “pain” or should be unfairly compared to Tracy Flick. After all, politics is brutal (as Nancy Pelosi said on This Week with George Stephanopolous) and if you want to play the game with a bunch of men who don’t care much for valor, you best get in there with pointy elbows.
Nonetheless, Dowd makes a very good point:
Paterson wasn’t thinking of New York, only of how an upstate ally who was a woman would bolster his own chances for re-election. We can only hope that an avenging Andrew Cuomo takes him out in a primary.
Upstate New York counts for 46% of the electoral vote in the state. You can’t tell me that it was vital to pick someone who allegedly would appeal to those 46% but whose voting record is pretty much anathema to the 51% that make up Westchester, Long Island and New York City. To maintain her “upstate” cache for the next two years would be political suicide if she intends to run in the 2010 general. I’m sure she’ll become more progressive, as her phone call to the LGBT community the night before the announcement proves, but there will inevitably be talk about her opinions changing in the name of political expediency.
Next to Ted Kennedy’s seat in Massachusetts, New York’s senate seats are two of the most prized possessions in politics. If the goal was to pick someone with electoral experience (which Caroline Kennedy did not have), Kirsten Gillibrand outshone the myriad other politicians in the state who’ve been seeking this very thing their entire careers?
Even if he wanted to pick a woman, surely there were other women who have more than 2 years experience in the House from which to choose? And, if Paterson wanted to make the political choice for himself, while also choosing someone who has already been elected statewide, why not just go with Andrew Cuomo?
I hate to say it, but I smell Sarah Palin-syndrome. Eek.
I’m sure Gillibrand will be a fine Senator, even a great one, not least of all because she’ll change her tune on a lot of the issues she’s honed in New York’s 20th. She may very well win reelection in 2 years and again in 4 without meeting a significant primary challenger, but that seems unlikely. So they’ll be shake up there. Not to mention that the House has probably lost a contested seat to a future Republican.
And Paterson’s come out looking a little bit like a dilly-dallier, and an opportunist.
I’ve been surprised that no one’s mentioned how different this scenario would have looked if Spitzer hadn’t had the bad idea to start having sex with a prostitute. If he’d been Governor, perhaps he would have appointed Paterson to the seat. Perhaps not. But it would have made for a different landscape. I can’t see Spitzer beating around the bush for so many weeks.
In any case, Gillibrand is obviously enjoying the spotlight. She had lunch at the Waldorf-Astoria today with Hillary, Schumer and Paterson. I’d love one of those little cookies.