Paterson to Announce Senate Appointee Today
The NY Times is
that Gov. David Paterson (D-NY) has chosen
Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand
to replace Hillary Clinton, who resigned
from the Senate to become Secretary of State.
It is an unusual choice because Gillibrand, 42, is only a one-term representative.
She has to stand for election in both 2010 and 2012. On the other hand, she is a prodigious fund raiser
even as she just represented part of the Hudson Valley. Once she starts raising money in New York City,
there is no telling how much she can rake in. Women's groups will clearly go all out for her and New York
is a very blue state, so any Democrat starts with a huge advantage there. Finally, although it is
politically incorrect to mention it, she is probably the best looking woman in the Senate and maybe all
of Congress. Like it or not, that is going to sway many male voters in her favor. While we may not get
the kind of frenzy we saw around Sarah Palin, it is a factor. Only unlike Palin, Gillibrand is not in
over her head. She performed well in the House and the day-to-day routine of a senator is not that
different from that of a representative (beg for money, go to committee meetings, beg for money, vote on the floor,
beg for money, talk to constitutents, beg for money, etc.).
Politically, Gillibrand is hard to pigeonhole, as she is supported by both the National Rifle Association
and the American Civil Liberties Union. She has also demonstrated her ability to get Republicans to vote
for her, winning 62% to 38% last November in an R+3 district (NY-20).
Bunning Urged to Retire
Unnamed Republican sources are
aging and infirm Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) to retire
in 2010. If these reports are true--and they probably are--it is almost without precedent
for a party to push a sitting senator to retire--unless he likes to play footsie in airport
Bunning is seen as a very weak shot at hanging onto his seat and the Democrats have several
strong contenders for the nomination, including Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo and Rep. Ben Chandler.
Mongiardo ran against Bunning in 2004 and despite a huge advantage in money, Bunning won by only
1 point, even though George Bush carried Kentucky by 20 points. Many observers feel that had it
not been for Bush, Mongiardo would have won. Without Bush on the ticket to help him in 2010,
Bunning is probably very vulnerable, which is why the Republicans want him out of there.
What Happened to Caroline Kennedy?
TPM has a nice
on what happened to Caroline Kennedy's Senate bid.
In a nutshell, being a U.S. senator from the media capital of the world requires one to like being
in the spotlight. A standing joke in D.C. is that the most dangerous place in the world to be standing
is between Sen. Chuck Schumer and a TV camera. Hillary Clinton is also not a bashful type. Caroline is a
very private person. She could have been an excellent ambassador to England, which loves royalty, or
any one of many other low-profile government jobs, but not senator from New York. According to the
New York Post,
Kennedy never had a chance.
Norm Coleman Gets a Job
Former senator Norm Coleman has been
as a consultant by the Republican Jewish Coalition.
The group lobbies Republicans in Congress on Israel and other Jewish causes.
Coleman said that he still expects to win his court case and get his Senate job back, but meanwhile
he needs to earn a living.
That may be true, but it sends a peculiar signal to his supporters about his expectation of winning his
Mac is Back
Sen. John McCain is back to his old
willing to work with the Democrats and not just obstruct for the sake of obstruction.
While the Democrats will probably have only 59 seats in the Senate (assuming Al Franken's victory in
Minnesota is not overturned in the courts), McCain's vote may well be within reach on some issues if
the Democrats reach out to him, which they will surely do. He clearly wants to go down in history as a great
senator who helped pass historic bills rather than just another losing candidate for President.
He is going to be nothing but trouble for minority leader Mitch McConnell.
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