NY-Sen: Gov. Patterson Appoints Kirsten Gillibrand To Senate

Reports are that it will be Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand, who represents a relatively conservative (R+3) upstate district. Patterson should really hurry up and get on the stage. MSNBC is filling the empty space ripping him as "confused" and "incompetent."

Gillibrand is a Blue Dog but interestingly, per TPM, she has shifted her position on marriage equality in a more progressive direction.

Empire State Pride Agenda has put out a press release saying that Gillibrand has spoken to them, and they are glad to say that New York will have its first Senator who endorses full marriage equality. This is a big change for Gillibrand, who previously had a conventional Democratic position of endorsing civil unions and non-discrimination laws, but not being for gay marriage. [...]

...We are now in a world in which endorsing gay marriage can actually be a politically beneficial choice in a statewide setting.

Update [2009-1-23 12:53:23 by Todd Beeton]:Patterson is not really redeeming himself with this rambling speech. He's now getting to the point. "I appoint the Senator from this moment on until a special election in November 2010. The term ends in 2012 wherein there will be another election."

The New York Times:

Gov. David A. Paterson was preparing Friday to announce at a noon news conference his selection of Representative Kirsten Gillibrand, a 42-year-old congresswoman from upstate who is known for bold political moves and centrist policy positions, to fill the United States Senate seat vacated by Hillary Rodham Clinton, according to a person who spoke to the governor early Friday.

An aide to Ms. Gillibrand confirmed early Friday morning that she had accepted the appointment.

Update [2009-1-23 12:53:23 by Todd Beeton]:Patterson has just officially announced Gillibrand is his pick. She will speak next.

Update [2009-1-23 12:53:23 by Todd Beeton]:"I realize that for many New Yorkers, this is the first time you're hearing my name and you don't really know me. I promise, over the next two years, you will get to know me and more important, I will get to know you."

Update [2009-1-23 12:53:23 by Todd Beeton]:Gillibrand has asked to serve on the Armed Services and Agriculture Committees in the Senate. She pledges to bridge upstate and downstate and work across the aisle to help all New Yorkers.

Patterson just whispered something to her (I thought it included the word "president") as she spoke and she looked at him and sternly said "Now? Now? Should I finish? I'm going to finish." She handled it well.

Tags: david patterson, NY-SEN (all tags)



Not bad...

To be honest, I don't have any objections to this appointment. While we do not agree on every issue I never agree with my leaders on every issue. I never agreed with Clinton on every issue. Lets see how she does in the next 2 years.

by RJEvans 2009-01-23 07:38AM | 0 recs
Maloney has already announced

that she is going to primary Gillibrand.  Bad move Guvnah.

by JJE 2009-01-23 07:39AM | 0 recs
and by Maloney

I meant McCarthy, of course.

by JJE 2009-01-23 07:40AM | 0 recs
I hope McCarthy is squashed

After the GOP finally proved to the country they hate the Bill of Rights, the last thing Democrats need is a single issue primary against the 2nd Amendment.

by Bob Brigham 2009-01-23 08:09AM | 0 recs
Re: and by Maloney

Much as I like McCarthy, I don't buy her ability to win statewide in NY.  She won't be able to do anything upstate.  Gillibrand can.  I really like this pick a lot, and I honestly believe, come 2016, Gillibrand could be a key national Dem.

by toonsterwu 2009-01-23 12:37PM | 0 recs
really dumb move

We have more experienced and more progressive talent in the NY House delegation, people who represent seats that are not almost certain to go Republican now.

I look forward to a competitive primary in 2010 and hope Schumer doesn't try to stand in the way. Let the Democratic primary voters decide who they want to run against Peter King.

by desmoinesdem 2009-01-23 07:47AM | 0 recs
I think a primary is likely

With McCarthy running her single issue take away rights campaign, you have two women which opens it up for a downstate progressive which blows it wide open.

by Bob Brigham 2009-01-23 08:11AM | 0 recs
The 50 state strategy means . . .
nominating people in tune with local interests and concerns so we can compete anywhere, even in conservative districts.  It means supporting people in the south or mountain west or exurbs or rural areas that would be considered too conservative (far right?) on abortion or guns or gays or god to win a San Francisco or Manhattan primary (as long as they vote with you 100% on organizing, leadership, committee chairs, etc.)
In this case, don't confuse NYState with NYCity.
A ticket headed by an African American male from Harlem needs ethnic, geographic and ideological balance to win statewide . . . which Gillibrand provides.
Let there be a primary, but I hope that any primary doesn't end up saddling Paterson for governor (from Manhattan) and Cuomo for AG (from Queens) with a bunch of other downstate, NYC based urban liberals.  It's a big state, and there's alot of it outside the 5 boroughs of NYC, and you need their rep.s on the ticket, too.
by kosnomore 2009-01-23 07:53AM | 0 recs
Re: The 50 state strategy means . . .

Doesnt the senate seat encompass a bigger area than Kristen's house seat? Hillary wasnt a blue dog. She had no problem getting elected.

by Pravin 2009-01-23 08:02AM | 0 recs
Hill wasn't a blue dog?
Don't you read DailyKos?  LOL
Seriously, Hillary was greatly assisted by Rudy's health scare withdrawal and Lazio's ineptness.  She never had to go against someone from the first team.
And, NY democrats do have an excellent tradition of ticket balancing between regions and ethnicities and even ideological wings of the party - - which is a good thing if you're willing to sacrifice purity and uniformity (I am) for crushing the opponent.
To me, this pick screams Chuck Schumer, who comes from the one Black-one Jew-one Italian-one Irish-one Puerto Rican school of democratic ticket building.
by kosnomore 2009-01-23 08:23AM | 0 recs
Thanks for your input.

Always appreciated.

by kosnomore 2009-01-23 12:10PM | 0 recs
Re: The 50 state strategy means . . .

I agree that representation of more conservative areas is a good thing... the House of Representatives is full of Blue Dog Democrats from areas just like that.  Unfortunately for Blue Dog Dems, getting elected to a state-wide office like Governor, AG, or U.S. Senate while you are in a relatively liberal state is an uphill battle.

This is what Rep. Gillibrand (she has not been sworn in yet to the Senate) will find out in 2010.  She will face a primary challenger and will face at best a tough fight, at worse, a loss.

by JenKinFLA 2009-01-23 08:05AM | 0 recs
And you know what?
That's fine, too - - I wish he'd appointed a caretaker with no future aspirations.  Let there be a primary, nothing wrong with that.
But "relatively liberal state"?  Yes and no.  Statewide wins by Republicans who manage to appeal to white ethnics in NYC or suburbanites on Long Island are hardly unheard of - - D'amato and Pataki dominated the state until fairly recently.
by kosnomore 2009-01-23 08:28AM | 0 recs
Re: The 50 state strategy means . . .

i have nothing to prove that, but Gillibrand seems to me the kind of "blue dog" that will be more liberal, when not representing a conservative area anymore. I would expect her senate voting record to be more liberal than her house voting record and even if she had stayed in the house I would have expected her to move to the left after she won with 62 % in an R+3 seat

by Johannes 2009-01-23 08:42AM | 0 recs
Give her a chance?

This does not make sense. Why give up a Democratic seat in a Republican leaning area ? It's not like Kirsten G is that badly needed to represent our ideals in the senate.

She doesn't seem as bad as Dianne Feinstein type democrat in a blue state. But strategically I go with a Blue Dog only if it helps the party overall. Here in NY, there is no need for a blue dog in the senate because a liberal can get voted anyway. Blue Dogs have plenty of opportunities in the party in other states where liberals get shortchanged. Despite Blue Dogs having been proven wrong in areas such as the war and FISA compared with the progressives in the party, they seem to get at least the same amount of power or probably more power in the new Democratic party controlled DC era.

As I google info on her, I notice her not to be as extreme as the Blue Dogs. So is she just a Blue Dog lite? Also I do not notice any animosity towards liberals. One thing I cant stand about the typical Blue Dog is not their ideology(as I possess non liberal ideology on some issues too), but their contempt towards liberals in the party.

So maybe I will give her a chance.

by Pravin 2009-01-23 08:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Give her a chance?

Well said...

I will give her every chance (Lord knows I would even vote for Lieberman if my other choice was someone as odious as Rep. King), I just don't think she will survive a strong primary challenge.

by JenKinFLA 2009-01-23 08:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Give her a chance?

IMO, Gillibrand is closer to HRC than people are giving credit for, but a bit raw.  HRC was very effective at bringing in constituencies that often don't vote Democrat while maintaining the base.  I think Gillibrand is still in the political phase where she is trying to balance out how to support her constituents while also maintaining her ideals.  Is she going to be on the far left of the party?  No, but I don't think she is as bad as some online folks are making her out to be today.

by toonsterwu 2009-01-23 12:40PM | 0 recs
Carolyn McCarthy, progressive?

Carolyn McCarthy is an admirable advocate for gun control and has created much good out of a family tragedy that would have immoblized most others in the same position.

A progressive though? Not so much. . .

She ran on the Democratic line in 1996 but only after the New York GOP rebuffed her when she announced her intentions to challenge then-Rep. Dan Frisa in a primary. The Democrats wisely recruited her and she flipped the seat in the 1996 election. That didn't stop her from having conversations with the GOP about returning to her roots in 1998. Furthermore, though she was caucusing with the Democrats in Congress, she didn't officially change her voter registration from "R" to "D" until 2002. Six years after she was elected.

The fact that she waited until 2002 is somewhat ironic considering she was one of 82 House Democrats to support the 2002 Iraq War resolution. Now many luminaries in the party, along with some committed progressives like John Kerry, made that mistake, so I'd be open to cutting her some slack.

Then I found this piece titled "Breaking ranks on Iraq", Newsday, dated June 17, 2006, written by J. Jhoni Palmer:

http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/ nation/ny-ushous174785265jun17,0,4181826 .story

The first paragraph reads:

"Breaking ranks with the bulk of her party, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy was one of only two New York Democrats to vote in favor of a contentious Iraq war resolution that passed the House Friday on a mostly party-line decision."

The resolution, H.Res 861, was supported by noted progressives like Dan Lipinski (IL), Gene Taylor (MS), Jim Marshall (GA) and Charlie Melancon (LA), 36 other Democrats (mostly of the Blue Dog variety), and all but three members of the House Republican caucus.

McCarthy told at Newsday at the time, "While the Republicans' cynical attempt to boost their approval ratings is transparent, there is nothing in this resolution that is objectionable. . .I decided to ignore the Republicans' efforts to politicize this important issue and vote in favor of the legislation".

Um. . .weren't we trying to wrest Congress from the clutches of Republican cynicism during that time?

2/3 of the members of the House Democratic caucus were certainly trying to and most of the 42 who voted in favor of the Republican scare resolution represented pro-war districts.

Maybe that's it. Perhaps she was in a Kirsten Gillibrand type situation where she was representing a district where anti-war views would be unacceptable. With her gun control activism, she may have to make a few concessions, right? Let's go back to Jhoni Miller's fine reporting from Newsday, 6/17/2006:

"Most of the Democrats voting yes hail from swing districts, are freshmen, represent military facilities or tend to lean conservative. But McCarthy, an economically moderate and socially liberal Democrat who represents a district that voted overwhelmingly against President George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004, doesn't fall into any of those categories.

McCarthy acknowledged that her vote might cause her political headaches back home, but said she felt it was the right thing to do."

Look, I understand this is a personal crusade for Rep. McCarthy. She said as much on MSNBC this evening. That said, it would be folly for her (and for us) to cast herself as some sort of progressive heroine. The record certainly says otherwise.

We need to be very careful and take a holistic approach in examining these candidates' records before we declare one or the other the victor or villain of the cause.

There have been more than a few occasions in the political life of Carolyn McCarthy where she has played the latter role.

by Practical Progressive 2009-01-23 01:14PM | 0 recs


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