So did you notice who was standing behind Kirsten Gillibrand and Governor Patterson and clapping away enthusiastically during the announcement of her appointment today? It was former NY Senator D'Amato, the Republican powerhouse who propelled the relatively unknown Pataki to the Governor's house at Albany. As soon as KG's name was announced, D'Amato's protege Republican Congressman Peter King put out a Press release which showed he is taking two steps backwards now from an almost certain Senate run at 2010. So what's going on?
She comes from a politically connected family; her father is a prominent state lobbyist who once had close ties to former Gov. George E. Pataki, a Republican, and her grandmother was prominent in the formidable Albany Democratic machine. Ms. Gillibrand worked as an intern for a Republican senator, Alfonse M. D'Amato, and clerked for a federal judge appointed by President Ronald Reagan.
She actually interned for D'Amato and her dad was very close to Pataki..on the other hand she is very close to Hillary Clinton (having access to the Clinton donor machine), Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. Her politics is complex and intriguing. She is pro-choice, pro gay marriage, wants to withdraw troops from Iraq, opposes privatization of Social Security, but on the other hand is pro-gun (highly rated by NRA) and opposed the Wall Street bailout...
Her politics, perhaps reflecting her conservative district, cannot be easily charted along a left-right axis. She earned a high rating from the National Rifle Association and opposed efforts to extend state drivers' licenses to illegal immigrants. At the same time, she favors abortion rights, voted to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq and to extend middle-class tax cuts, and she has opposed privatizing Social Security. She raises large sums of money from Wall Street, but voted against the first bailout bill last fall; that vote angered some Democratic leaders in Congress.
Alan Van Capelle, the executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda, a gay rights group, said that he spoke by phone with Representative Gillibrand on Thursday night and that she spoke in favor of same-sex marriage. This would make her the first United States senator from New York to endorse gay marriage; Charles E. Schumer, the state's senior senator, opposes it.
"She spoke eloquently about the 1,324 rights that are denied to same-sex couples in New York," Mr. Van Capelle said.
An aide to Ms. Gillibrand confirmed that she supports gay marriage.
She was an outspoken supporter of Mrs. Clinton's presidential campaign and has drawn financial support from prominent women's groups in Washington, not least Emily's List.
She has insisted, to the point of annoying Congressional colleagues, on openness in government, posting a "Sunlight Report" on her Congressional Web site listing her meetings with lobbyists as well as the names of individuals seeking government grants known as earmarks.
So what did Paterson's appointment of KG actually do? Surely it neutralized a strong challenge from Republicans (or at least one branch of the Repubs) during 2010 GE. On the other hand, it had angered a branch of the Democratic Party. But I think Paterson made a calculation that Cuomo will remember his failed bid in 2002 primaries against McCall when he angered several Black leaders in NY. So Cuomo may not challenge Paterson as a payback in 2010 Gubernatorial primaries, after all. As for Cuomo challenging KG, consider this, KG worked as a special counsel for Andrew Cuomo during Clinton Administration when he was the HUD Secretary...the only missing card is Guilani...and KG is very enthusiastic, publishes her daily schedule on her webpage, openly list her earmarks (Talk about open Government), and is a phenomenal fundraiser. With Clinton and Schumer supporting KG along with the Governor, I think Cuomo will think twice before challenging KG to a primary.
Well so folks, Paterson's move may not be as politically naive and bumbling as the TV talking heads are making out to be..I would wait and see ....