Saturday, January 24, 2009

Who? New York Suddenly Looks Second Rate

You didn't ask me, but I awoke this morning still dumbfounded by how an accidental Governor could so mishandle one of the most important decisions he will ever have to make - choosing a replacement for Hillary Clinton's Senate seat.

But mishandle he did. In the run-up to Gov Paterson finally making his choice - he and his staff took on the competing personas of Catskill comic and second rate hit men. Paterson constantly joked his way through mangled messages of the day and laughed his way through every public appearance and his staff ended up tarring and feathering a member of one of America's premiere political families (as well as pissing off the Cuomos and the Clintons).

No doubt that Caroline Kennedy's withdrawal from consideration is filled with mystery and leaves a bad taste in the mouths of plenty of liberal Democrats - like me.

But as Gail Collins said in her NYTimes article this morning, "
Respectful of the longstanding state tradition that there is no situation so bad that it can’t be made worse, Paterson’s office followed up by sliming Kennedy."

And then the second-rate Governor made things even worse. He picked a second-rate pro-gun politician from somewhere Upstate to become the junior Senator from New York.

Blue Dog Caucus member, 100% NRA rated, gun-supporting, conservative "balance the budget," very junior Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand is now the pick to succeed Hillary Clinton.

Who you said? Right! Who!

It was an amazing Palinesque move by our accidental Governor.

A gun loving conservative to represent my city? As Mayor Bloomberg said,

"She has actively opposed the efforts of New York City, and cities around the state and nation, to enact commonsense measures that keep illegal guns out of the hands of criminals. For instance, she has voted to keep critical data needed to track illegal gun traffickers from law enforcement, has voted to tie the hands of the ATF, and has also voted to protect dealers who sell guns illegally."

But look - the real situation is this. Paterson choose a politically expedient way out of his mess. He didn't choose stature, or gravitas, or connectedness, or achievement, or common purpose.

He choose someone from a majorly conservative section of the State who may be able to boost his pathetic chances to run for Governor in 2010. He choose someone whom he thinks can get him elected.

It's a disgrace. it's a disgrace to progressives state-wide, it's a disgrace to residents of NYC where gun violence is a fact of everyday life in some communities, and it's a disgrace to the democratic process.

Of course we all know that most politicians do not operate according to a set of core beliefs, they mostly operate by political expediency.

And, faster than a speeding bullet, Senator-Designate Gillibrand's (Who?) "politics are evolving at a rate previously seen only in science-fiction movies. She’s developed a hitherto unnoticed belief in gay marriage. At her press conference, she expressed an interest in working on one of McCarthy’s gun control bills. And, she has an appointment to meet in Harlem with Al Sharpton."

I'm trying really hard to adopt President Obama's positivity, but damn it's hard not to be a cynic when this is the best we get from the great state of New York.

My state is suddenly looking very second rate.
Does any body really believe that Gillibrand is the best we could have done?

The 2010 election can't come soon enough for me.