...that I agree with Paul Begala on anything at all. He's been quoted as saying "fuck the rich" in reference to tax hikes on those who produce the wealth, and his opinion on executive orders: "stroke of the pen, law of the land. Kind of cool." But he and I are in accord that David Paterson did good for the people of my state by picking Kirsten Gillibrand to take the seat vacated by Hillary Clinton in the Senate. Though she has barely more than a single term in the House under her belt, she's got plenty of qualities that lead me to think she'll serve well. Gillibrand is a proponent of abortion rights, same-sex marriage, and stem-cell research; none of these are surprising, given her Democratic leanings. But she also is a staunch gun rights supporter - to the extent that she draws not only a 100% rating from the NRA, but comparisons to Sarah Palin. More than anything else, she voted against the bailout bill both times in the House. For a Democrat to oppose such a massive federal expenditure, especially one that had such fervent support, points to good things from her.
Gillibrand represents the New York 20th, a heavily red district along New York's eastern border, one that includes my former residence of Saratoga Springs. By winning there, and securing a larger majority this past November, she shows she's got some traction, and fulfills Paterson's desire for someone with a good shot at winning the "by-election" next year, and a full term two years after that. She'll need that, because Carolyn McCarthy is NOT pleased, and is considering a primary challenge in 2010. If the Republicans don't mount a serious challenger (and these days in New York, they rarely do), I'd consider giving Gillibrand my vote.
Props to Governor Paterson for making this appointment. I've been pleased and impressed with his service over the last ten months. I'm not a fan of the various tax increases he's proposed, but I at least appreciate that he's treating the multi-billion-dollar budget gap as the serious problem that it is. He is a most welcome change from his predecessor.