Friday, January 23, 2009

Politics: Job Changes

Congratulations to Hillary Clinton on her successful appointment as the country's new Secretary of State. The permanent staff at Foggy Bottom appeared both delighted and relieved that she's their new boss, and I'm certain that with her assurance and command of issues and policy, she'll be nothing less than brilliant in the position. The 94-2 confirmation vote in the Senate was both surprising and welcome; it may signal that Clinton Derangement Syndrome may be a thing of the past with the Republican Party. Nobody apart from the desperate David Vitter and the looney-tune Jim DeMint (click here to understand that characterization) thought there was anything to gain politically by opposing her nomination. Now if only the press would follow suit.

Congratulations also to Kirsten Gillibrand on her appointment to fill Hillary Clinton's vacated Senate seat. I'm no longer a New Yorker, but I voted to reelect Hillary Clinton to that seat while I was living there, and I take a personal interest in how it's filled. Gillibrand was by far the best choice. A major problem for the Democratic Party in New York State is that the outstate population sees them as representing the interests of New York City and Long Island and no one else. It fosters a great deal of resentment towards both the city and the party. Hillary worked hard to be a representative for the outstate population, and I believe it was more important than anything for her successor to be able to fill those shoes; the City and Long Island already have Chuck Schumer as their go-to person in the Senate. Gillibrand, who represents the rural areas east and south of Albany in the U.S. House--and who defeated an entrenched GOP incumbent to there--was ideally suited to take over from Hillary. I mean no slight towards Andrew Cuomo or Carolyn Mahoney, who were also leading contenders, but it is best for New York that Kirsten Gillibrand was named in this instance.

And for those wondering, I think Caroline Kennedy would have been a disastrous choice. The one thing that never came up in all the blather about her was how good a representative she would be for the state's people; considerations of them were beside the point--for both her and her boosters. Her personal inadequacies as a candidate only fueled my opposition--Rudy Giuliani or Peter King would eat her for breakfast in an election campaign. Her dropping out was very much for the best.

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