U.S. Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) speaks as New York Gov. David A. Paterson (L) looks on during a news conference announcing her as Paterson's choice to fill the vacant U.S. Senate seat for New York on January 23, 2009 in Albany, New York. Caroline Kennedy withdrew her name from consideration a day before the announcement of the Governor's decision for filling the seat which was left vacant by the new Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)more pics »
Following the abrupt withdrawal of Caroline Kennedy
from consideration for Hillary Clinton
's vacant senate seat, New York Governor David Paterson
named Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand
(D-NY) to the senate at a press conference on Friday. ZIMBIO POLL
Is Kristin Gillibrand a good choice for Hillary's vacant seat?
Gillibrand was a big time darkhorse for the seat. No one had even been mentioning her, much less speculating on her chances of actually making the senate. Gillibrand, 42, is still a new face in New York politics. She was elected to the House in 2006 and won her reelection campaign to begin her second term this year.
And even though she's a Democrat, she's a small-d democrat. Or maybe with her endorsement from the National Rifle Association and her support of the Bush tax cuts, you could call her a Republicrat. Or in slightly less stupid language, a Blue Dog Democrat. Kirsten Gillibrand
Gillibrand is one of about 50 Democrats on the Hill who identify themselves as members of the Blue Dog Coalition, a motley crew of fence-sitting Democrats who identify with the party while supporting fiscally conservative policies -- which actually sounds pretty smart when you think about it.
While that means Gillibrand is well-suited for whipping up some bipartisan support for legislation, it also means she likely won't be a reliably Democratic vote.Nate Silver
over on fivethirtyeight.com
noted that it's "not a terrific outcome for progressive Democrats." More from him: I also don't doubt that she'll be effective, compelling and popular, and may turn out to be a very good senator for New York. I just don't know that she'll be an especially good senator for Democrats.
Overall, I think Gillibrand was a good (if not overly safe) pick for Paterson. It might, in fact, be the only thing Paterson did right in this entire process.
Talk about a lack of leadership. Could he have taken any longer to find a replacement? Granted, Kennedy probably shot herself in the foot with all those y'knows and the entire world would assume that she got the job because of her daddy. But seriously Paterson, you took more than a month to name someone. Even Blagojevich
did a better job. (Even if his tactics are, you know, questionable.)