Alex Blaze

Kirsten Gillibrand picked to succeed Hillary Clinton

Filed By Alex Blaze | January 23, 2009 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Caroline Kennedy, David Paterson, Empire State Pride Agenda, Kirsten Gillibrand, New York, Senate

No opinion on this one. Empire State Pride Agenda released this statement on US Rep. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten_Gillibrand,_official_photo_portrait,_2006.jpg:

Last night likely Senate pick [Ed. note: She was named today, video at Towleroad.] Kirsten Gillibrand spoke to Empire State Pride Agenda Executive Director Alan Van Capelle about issues important to New York's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

"After talking to Kirsten Gillibrand, I am very happy to say that New York is poised to have its first U.S. Senator who supports marriage equality for same-sex couples," said Van Capelle. "She also supports the full repeal of the federal DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) law, repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT) and passage of legislation outlawing discrimination against transgender people. While we had a productive discussion about a whole range of LGBT concerns, I was particularly happy to hear where she stands on these issues."

She apparently also supports marriage now, and has promised to fight for it in the Senate, meaning she "evolved" on the issue since a couple days ago. Guess that's what happens when a pol's constituency changes overnight. Here's HRC on her record (she got an 80 on their scorecard):

Although Kirsten Gillibrand did not co-sponsor legislation to repeal DADT, non-cosponsorship does not mean support for the policy or opposition to repeal. In fact, in conversations with her office the Human Rights Campaign has confirmed Gillibrand is in favor of repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell and supports full marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples.

Additionally, HRC confirmed with Gillibrand's staff additional points regarding her LGBT record:

* Supports marriage equality
* Cosponsored and voted in favor of the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act
* Cosponsored inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and supports enactment of inclusive bill
* Voted in favor of ENDA
* Supports repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell
* Supports repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act
* Supports equal tax treatment of employer provided domestic partnership benefits
* Voted against allowing discrimination in hiring for the Head Start program
* Voted in favor of allowing Washington, DC to fund needle exchange programs with local funds
* Supports the Early Treatment of HIV/AIDS Act (ETHA) to allow states to provide Medicaid coverage for HIV-positive persons
* Voted against procedural attempts to derail ENDA and hate crimes
* Endorsed by HRC PAC in 2008

It was a fun ride, but someone had to get picked in the end. Wasn't there a way to do this without stringing everyone along into thinking that it'd be Caroline Kennedy?

Gillibrand is a conservative, Blue Dog Democrat, but kos explains why it might not be so bad in this case:

1. Gillibrand was voting her districts, and will now tack hard to the left as she represents a much more liberal New York, or

2. She gets primaried and a more progressive Democrats -- one chosen by the voters! -- gets in. Heck, it could even be Caroline Kennedy, assuming she isn't afraid to face real voters!

We've already seen #1 on the issues of DADT and marriage, and that's just within a few hours of her being appointed. And #2 is a definite plus - she definitely won't have the name-brand advantage that Kennedy would have had in the 2010 Democratic primaries.

So, other than Minnesota, does this mean the Senate's full?


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As you pointed out last week, Alex (I think it was you), Obama was in favor of same sex marriage before he was opposed to it.

This is just the latest example of political opportunism and for NOW it is in favor of equality.

But in the same way that I don't trust King O to act with integrity, I also do not assume this woman (nor the heiress that recently backed out) will do the right thing at the right moment.

Unlike others, I am not all puffed up with hope over politicians that treat the citizenship of their fellows as nothing more than a hot potato.

Ha, talk about throwing to the wolves; kos sure seems fond of the idea.

The woman crosses a single dogma of The Real Left (supportive of the 2nd amendment), and people are already looking to see her replaced.

I don't get what you're saying. Are you saying that if she supported gun control that people would be calling off the election?

Plus I don't think that guns are the "single dogma line of The Real Left." But I have heard two or three other people in my life say that. It's weird because we don't really hear gun control debated that much.

Alex, gun control is a **very** big deal in NY. I know that in recent years that many Dems. have put that issue on the back burner. But there is so much population density and a history of gun violence there, it's still an important issue.

And Gillibrand isn't merely not completely on the gun control reservation, she is completely off of it (to extend the metaphor) and storming the gates. She doesn't support *any* gun control, including the regulation of "cop-killer" bullets.

Consider me schooled. Thanks Rory.

Is it just me, or does Gillibrand bear a striking resemblance to Laurel Holloman ("Tina" on The L Word)?

(I've clearly OD'd on politics this week, and am overcompensating with entertainment fluff.)

Haha. I don't know from the L-Word, but I like the idea of politicians looking like TV characters. Like how Sarah Palin looked like Tina Fey, and dressed up as her for Halloween, and then, well, Tina Fey dressed up as Palin....

What I'm saying is I want Gillibrand to come out as a lesbian.

No, what I'm saying is that if she supported gun control along other discordant positions, you wouldn't get such speculations along the lines of "Oh, just a little while; she's not too bad, and we can get her replaced with a 'real Democrat' anyways."

Gun control is not debated much because it's a given that if you're a Democrat, you are for gun control. Period. A visit to JMG and the likes, not to mention the comments section under her name, illustrates that either someone agrees with you 100% on every position, or they are to be put away.

Perhaps, but Kos I think was referring to his litany of posts against Caroline Kennedy's appointment. One of his main arguments there for a long while was that it would be hard to unseat her in 2010 because she'd have the party machine behind her and extra name-recognition, instead of just the normal name-recognition a sitting senator would get. He said, and I think he was sincere, that his main reason for opposing someone who wouldn't be easily unseated in 2010 was out of respect for the democratic process.

As for gun control, well, I guess it's assumed, and maybe I'm the odd bird who hasn't really thought about it much even though I spend a good deal of time thinking, reading about, following, and discussing politics. Gun control just never interested me as an issue because I never hunt, never thought I could defend myself with one, and don't live in a city where I'd see the dangers of them.

Yeah, I'll just concede on this one. But I always though that the defining issues of libruls were:

1. A vision for foreign policy based on diplomacy and openness between nations to ensure peace and justice

2. A strong and smart government actor in the market place to ensure fairness, competition, and prosperity

3. A laissez-faire approach to personal and moral issues that ultimately seeks to increase individual autonomy

4. A commitment to social justice and equality

But I guess I can add "Gun control" as a number 5 as a nod to the readers of JMG. :)

Although isn't Obama against most forms of gun control? I never really understood his position there.

Obama says he "supports the Second Amendment" which, frankly, means different things to different people. But he does also support gun control. He typically found the middle position.

Uh, that's not a liberal "agenda". That's pretty much an ideal set of goals for any government. That current politicians don't walk the walk is another matter. The only group I'd see raising their arms would be libertarians, since they earnestly believe that lack of government involvement won't lead to abuse of power and other types of bullying and corruption.

I don't know how Obama suddenly crept into this conversation, but I'm not overly concerned with his public positions,considering how they're all smoke and mirrors ( *cough* marriage *cough*).

So far, it has pleased me that he reversed the denial of funds on abortion sectors. Now, if he would just proceed to demolish that preposterous "right of conscience" rule that was a last act of Bush to peeve liberals, I'd be very happy with his beginning in office.

"Now, if he would just proceed to demolish that preposterous "right of conscience" rule that was a last act of Bush to peeve liberals, I'd be very happy with his beginning in office."

They've issued a directive that all of the new Bush orders are frozen pending a review by the Obama administration. It's going to take awhile to undo all of the damage that has been done by Bush's crew. I can't imagine that the rule will stand.

She is a reminder there is more to New York than the City and congrats to her and its long over due for a Upstater to have a spot in the Senate.So for the rest of us its time to see how she dose in her new job.

Since when must all Democrates march in lock step ask the Republicans how that worked.

This selection makes no sense. The goals that were discussed as the main factors for this choice were to have a powerhouse candidate who would not only be assured of a long tenure in the Senate, but to help Paterson win election on the same ballot.

This choice will do neither. I was going to *guarantee* that this decision will draw a primary, but I'm late to the party. Carolyn McCarthy has already announced that she will challenge her (if no one else does). And Paterson now seems so weak and ham-handed the way the entire affair was handled that he too, will have a primary. In fact, it's conceivable that neither Paterson nor Gillibrand will make it through to the general election. So instead of a win-win situation, Paterson has at least one contentious primary on his hands, if not two.

As for Gillibrand herself, she has the lowest HRC rating of any of NY's House delegation, a 100% NRA rating, only two years experience in the House, and no name recognition.

There are any number of NY politicians with decades of experience and histories as absolute champions of GLBT rights, and not merely mostly-supporters or johnny-come-latelies.

I also took note that standing right by Gov. Paterson during the announcement today was Al D'Amato. That should give everyone pause. I'm pretty certain that if Carolyn Maloney was being named senator today, he wouldn't have been there for her.

I do like what I've seen of McCarthy. I read a few interviews and a couple excerpts of her book. She'd be a great voice in the Senate.

In the interview that I saw with McCarthy today, she said she preferred that a younger person would run for the seat so that it can be held many years. But that if no one else does it (with her position), she will do it. The only reason she ever entered politics is because of the gun issue, so I would take her at her word. I suspect that at least two people will challenge Gillibrand in the primary.

I forget to mention in my previous rant about why this was such a bad pick politically, another reason it sucks. Her Congressional district will likely go Republican in the special election to replace her. She first won it from a Republican just two years ago.

!)Since both she and Paterson have to run in 2010 many people feel that Cuomo will run against her rather than Paterson.

2) She is more pro NRA than Palin

3) She refused to take call from Obama today.

She seems nice enough. Most seem to agree she'll move to the left to keep the NYC vote. Let's hope.

Apparently, Gillibrand is also against federal deficit spending, having introduced legislation requiring a balanced budget. So she is either going to be voting against Obama's stimulus programs, or is going to have to flip-flop on one of the issues she's known for.

lacy panties | January 24, 2009 11:46 PM

It's interesting that in the dozen issues reported by HRC as criteria for judging Kirsten Gillibrand, there's nothing related to sexual liberation, nothing about the right to privacy or free expression. HRC is either ignorant or contemptuous of the importance of individual liberty the the LGBT community.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | January 25, 2009 11:50 AM

Gun control just never interested me as an issue because I never hunt, never thought I could defend myself with one, and don't live in a city where I'd see the dangers of them.

Interesting, Alex, that you think you're only in danger of gun violence in a big city.

I wonder if statistics support that assumption...guns are everwhere in America. Probably most of your neighbors have handguns--have you ever asked? I've personally lost three relatives and one very close friend to guns. Three were suicides and one was murder, and none happened in a "big" city, except perhaps the murder if you consider 1970's San Diego a "big city."

With her record on guns and zero downstate name recognition, Gillibrand will never win a statewide election in NY. Here's what will happen:

1. Gillibrand wil enter the primary against probably several more well-known and more powerful downstate candidates. Downstaters will quickly move to their favored candidate as will the media attention. Gillibrand will quickly become invisible to voters and get little financial and volunteer support from anywhere other than her own upstate circles.

2. The NY State Democratic machine, which is run and funded mainly by rich and powerful downstaters, will ignore Gillibrand, instead funding and supporting the most favored downstate candidate, who they will determine has a better chance of being elected. Reasons cited will include her pro-gun stances, lack of experience, and unfamiliarity to downstate voters.

3. Gillibrand will be left to fund and run her own campaign against the favored downstate candidate, who with the help and support of the NY Democratic machine, will outraise and outspend her many times over. The media will also ignore Gillibrand, preferring to focus on the far more popular and well-known downstate candidate.

4. Gillibrand will be completely obliterated by the favored downstate candidate in the primary.

5. By this time, Gillibrand will have become a laughingstock to NY State Democrats, especially downstaters, thus ensuring that she will likely never hold statewide office again.