Sunday, January 07, 2018

Should Kirsten Gillibrand Retire From Politics? We've Had Enough Of Opportunists And Careerists


I’ve been writing a lot about what an opportunist jerk Kirsten Gillibrand is. I’ve known her for over a decade but many people asked if what I’m saying about her, why is no one else backing up any of the stuff I’m throwing her way. I never heard of Ciro Scotti before but he seems to have come to many of the same conclusions I’ve been talking about in a new post he did for the Daily Beast, The Trouble With Kirsten Gillibrand. He wrote that “some Democratic senators have expressed remorse that they jumped on the push-Al-Franken-off-the-cliff-without-a-hearing train. But its conductor is full steam ahead,” which is exactly what I’ve been hearing from my Capitol Hill contacts as well. He reports that “on 30dB, a social media opinion site that gauges the sentiments of the crowd… @SenGillibrand + @SenFranken” is pulling 79 percent negatives.”
Back when she had an A rating from the NRA, Kirsten Gillibrand used to brag that she and her family shot their own turkeys for Thanksgiving.

But in her relentless positioning for a possible presidential run in 2020, was she too quick on the trigger when she hit fellow Democrat Al Franken with a blast of buckshot and drove him to resign his Senate seat?

That is a question that could dog the junior senator from New York if she runs, especially after Patrick Leahy of Vermont-- one of the most popular Democrats in the Senate-- on Dec. 18 expressed remorse that he had not waited for the findings of a Senate Ethics Committee probe before joining Gillibrand’s call for Franken to step down.

…The larger question about Gillibrand, though, is whether she is too transparently opportunistic to be a viable candidate after the rejection of another New York politician criticized for basing her positions on supposedly canny calculations rather than on from-the-gut convictions.

In short, Gillibrand could be running not just against Donald Trump or whoever the GOP candidate might be in 2020-- she could be running against the political zeitgeist, too.

If there is one thing to be learned from the excitement and engagement that Trump and Bernie Sanders sparked in some sectors of the electorate last year, it is that the public is done with the tortured political gymnastics of a Mitt Romney or a John Kerry-- or a Hillary Clinton.

The word that defines the zeitgeist is “genuine,” and one big reason Trump retains a core of support is that whatever you think of him, what you see is what you get.

For Gillibrand, nearly every move seems to be a self-serving playing of the angles. While it’s not surprising to see a politician behave this way, Gillibrand seems to be an especially egregious practitioner of the finger-in-the-wind politics that so many voters can no longer abide.

In 2009, when she was appointed by Gov. David Paterson to fill the Senate seat left empty after Clinton became secretary of state, Gillibrand was a congresswoman from hunter-heavy upstate New York whose gun votes were 100 percent in line with the positions of the National Rifle Association.

One year later she was a senator with an F rating after a swift gun-vote pivot that put her more in line with the sentiments of downstate Democrats.

As a 2013 profile in the New Yorker pointed out, in the House, Gillibrand was a Blue Dog Democrat who “voted to make English the national language, and vowed to oppose driver’s licenses for ‘illegal aliens.’”

“In the Senate,” the New Yorker piece said, “Gillibrand quickly moved left. She hired the Mirram Group-- a consulting firm run by power brokers in the Hispanic political world-- to introduce her to editors and activists, and soon she was saying that she favored ‘comprehensive reform that treats immigrants fairly and gives them a path to earned citizenship.’”

More recently, Gillibrand was the lone senator to vote against the appointment of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, a dedicated professional who is arguably the most independent member of the Trump Cabinet.

Did she really think Mattis, a former four-star Marine general known as a strategic thinker as well as a warrior, was unqualified to be the secretary of defense? Or was that part of her strategy of opposing almost every Trump Cabinet nominee, thus positioning herself to be able to go for a cheap applause line at some Democratic debate in the future?

There is no disputing that as a senator, Gillibrand has been out front in the movement against sexual harassment and assault, trying unsuccessfully in 2014 to change the way the military handles such cases by taking them out of the hands of commanders and shifting the authority to prosecutors. That took guts, and she deserves tremendous credit for her effort.

Now she is an energetic voice for the #MeToo movement, which seems like a logical step.

But was taking the first swing at Franken, an occasional opponent on the squash court, driven by outrage? Or was it a political calculation?

The senator denies that by pushing out Franken over allegations of groping and forcible kissing, she and other Democrats are making sure they are on the moral high ground as sexual harassment accusations against Trump resurface.

Gillibrand, who has said Trump should resign because of those charges, told the AP that the ouster of Franken “has nothing to do with politics. This whole debate is, ‘Do we care about women.’”

Tougher for Gillibrand to brush off are questions about why she only recently opined that Bill Clinton should have resigned after the Lewinsky affair came to light. She sure never mentioned that when the former president was campaigning for her.

On Morning Joe last month, Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough went after Gillibrand for turning on Bill Clinton. “[Gillibrand] has to address the cameras and answer the question as to what was the motivation behind her change of opinion about the Clintons,” Brzezinski said. “…I don’t know how your position could change on this. And I’d like to know about that process.”

Former Gov. Paterson may be the least surprised person in America that Gillibrand has tossed Franken and Bill Clinton under her express bus to the White House.

Not long after Paterson plucked her out of obscurity and handed her Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat, Gillibrand began to distance herself from the governor and his troubled tenure.

Then in early 2010, the New York Times reported that Paterson, who had replaced disgraced Gov. Eliot Spitzer, had intervened in a domestic-abuse case involving one of his longtime aides, and he ended his week-old campaign for a full term as governor.

Four days later, with a potential primary challenge safely behind her-- as Maggie Haberman, then at the New York Post, wrote at the time-- Gillibrand was one of the first to say that Paterson, whose political career was effectively over, should resign immediately and not serve out his term if the reports were true.

Maybe Gillibrand was right that Paterson should have resigned. Maybe she is right that Clinton should have stepped aside. Maybe she was right to give Franken a shove. Maybe she is right that Trump should exit the Oval Office and slink back to his tower.

But one thing seems clear: Those denunciations and their timing were all designed to be right for Kirsten Gillibrand.
In Minnesota, there are only two blocs of voters who agree with what she did to Franken: Republicans and Trump supporters.

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At 3:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Because of the Me Too movement and the extremely hazy lines as to what constitutes sexual impropriety and the apparent need for nothing more than accusations by a Fox employee and a few anonymous sources to end a career in disgrace, people on the Hill is being quiet about what happened to Al Franken. I too have known Senator Gillibrand for ten years now and find her to be exactly as you say: an opportunist jerk. She has torn at a seam in the fabric of the Democratic Party that may not easily be repaired.

At 5:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You left out her worst trait. She's corrupt. She's as corrupt as they come.

That is plenty in my book. She would never ever get my vote for anything just on that basis... and she's a democrap. Nobody should need more to know not to vote for her ever.

At 6:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The voters of New York State have the power to force the issue. But after what they allowed to be done to Bernie, dare we hope?

I say no. They also gave us Mikey Suits, Scummer, and Rep King.

At 10:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This Daily Beast article was sexist crap.

I'm going to quote with 100% agreement Imani Gandy's comments about this article:

"No doubt sexual assault and harassment has been her big goal in crafting legislation in the Senate, but she’s probably being an opportunistic overly ambitious pill about it.

Gillibrand was the lone senator to vote against defense secretary Mattis, but did she do it based on principles or is she being an opportunistic harpy like so many lady politicians are, am I right? High five!

That Kirsten Gillibrand is so self-serving. Every move is calculated, which is totally not how male politicians act.

What an opportunistic harpy, am I right, boys?

High five!

Ugh, is she too opportunistic like that other lady politician we hate from New York?

Men are never opportunistic. They are just deserving. And right. And strong. And manly. And ambitious. And a real no nonsense group of humans.

Girls are gross.

High five, boys!

At 10:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about we actually look at what she's done as a senator as opposed to just the sexist crap of this daily beast article?

"In Illinois, Gillibrand endorsed a progressive challenger to incumbent Democratic Rep. Daniel Lipinski on November 17 — even before the challenger, Marie Newman, had filed petitions with the Illinois State Board of Elections to run. Gillibrand has also taken notably progressive stands in the Senate. Along with Sanders (I-Vt.) and only four other Democrats, Gillibrand voted against the massive annual defense bill. And she unveiled a plan with Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) to ban states from passing “right-to-work” laws, which enable workers in unionized shops to refuse to pay dues, a major conservative priority. ...

More recently, Gillibrand voted against a stopgap bill to fund the government into January, citing the bill’s failure to address the fate of “dreamers.” She was also one of only four Democrats and Sanders who voted against the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA.

At 7:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

10:27, don't get too engorged over her votes as a member of the irrelevant minority.

No vote stopped passage of anything bad nor did it pass anything good. And everything democraps "plan" amounts to a campaign promise since republicans are the only ones who determine what gets DONE.

She can vote properly during this congress because only because she can.

Or do you not remember 2000-2005?

It's a real longshot, but if the democraps regain a majority in both chambers, suddenly you'll see those "plans" go poof and her votes will only remain progressive if the NAYs are plentiful enough to prevent all that the money, which owns her too, does not want.

American politics. Don't fall for the empty claims and false plans. She's corrupt and she has plans. Just remember that.

At 12:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not. Gillibradn's record in the House is problematic, but she was far better in the Senate including periods of time when the Dems controlled the Senate.

Gillibrand was one of the more emphatic voices in the Senate in favor of the public option for Obamacare.

Gillibrand in aggregate looks pretty damn good. Her paid family leave proposal has consistently been good, she's always voted the rightway way on LGBT rights & women's rights in general, & she's always been moving in the correct direction on healthcare too.

The only real issue where she's troublesome to me is the banking industry.

At 4:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Again, don't fall for populist rhetoric when there are plenty of votes to prevent any of it happening. There were 7 democrap senators who took turns allowing filibusters to prevent PO and several other things.
If you know a filibuster will prevent something, you are freed to enthusiastically advocate for it aren't you?

At 5:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If her actions in the senate & her rhetoric in the senate in favor of more leftwing healthcare & paid family leave don't count then what on earth does? Why should I trust Sherrod Brown or Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders then?

Moreover, politicians can legitimately change. FDR & LBJ in their earlier years were not economic (or civil rights in the case of LBJ) progressives that they were as president.


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