Commentary Magazine


A Fractured Fairytale

Well, Governor Paterson has surprised not only us but, especially, his own party. He risked disappointing the President and the Kennedy clan ( yes, yes – she “withdrew,” so no hard feelings) and instead chose the more conservative, NRA-endorsed, upstate Congresswoman Kristen Gillibrand. Liberal Democrats are not amused and, as Jonathan noted, she may face a primary fight in 2010. Her former Congressional seat in a Republican-leaning district may now be up for grabs. So maybe this didn’t make the most political sense. But you have to love the moxie.

As for Gillibrand, she is in many ways the un-Kennedy even beyond the contrast in political philosophies. (No, Caroline didn’t have a philosophy or any policy ideas of her own, but since Maureen Dowd said Kennedy is just like her, we can safely assume Caroline is a garden-variety Upper West Side liberal.) But Gillibrand isn’t a plain-wrap New York Democrat. Nor is she from the entitled class of political wanna-bes. The New York Times reminds us:

Ms. Gillibrand, who had never held public office, won her seat in 2006 against great odds, defeating a four-term Republican incumbent in a race that turned intense and nasty in its final days. She proved to be a formidable candidate, raising millions of dollars and assembling a campaign organization that aggressively exploited the personal and political baggage of her opponent, Representative John E. Sweeney, who frequently found himself on the defensive.

It isn’t every day that an unknown, hardworking gal beats out a rich celebrity with political connections.  Come to think of it — we have found our storybook ending.