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“Caroline would have been FINE without those pesky voters”

As the NYTimes shakes its tiny fists and wails in rage over the fact that Caroline Kennedy didn’t get s Senate appointment, it is simultaneously revealing its true nature and why it is bleeding so much in revenue as the years go by.  It’s not that it’s a liberal paper, although they are certainly more left leaning than the Washington Post.  And it’s not that it’s too difficult for readers to absorb. The paper seems to be written at the right level.

The problem is that there is a complete disconnect between the editors and its target audience.  Readers aren’t stupid or less literate.  But they are a lot more savvy these days and can tell when they’re being condescended to.  Gail Collins goes out of her way to blame everyone in her editorial this morning and take some ungracious swipes at Kirsten Gillibrand because Gillibrand is a real politician who attempts to get votes at rallies where she might influence a voter or two.  Horrors!  In the refined world of the New York Times, a politician should *never* have to court the voters.  Her family name and the policies she was born with should be sufficient bona fides for the voters who should listen to their betters and vote for her.   After all, wasn’t that what the last primary season was all about?  The powers that be, a group to which no one WE know belongs, shall pick the winner and voters will go along with it.  All that primary campaigning was just window dressing to make voters feel like they still have choices.

Read Collins’ column.  It almost reads as parody.  She asks, “…in a state chock-full of distinguished residents, it was so hard to scrounge up Hillary’s replacement?”  Indeed, NY is full to bursting with distinguished residents.  Unfortunately for Collins, Lawrence O’Donnell and a bunch of other name dropping snobs, what Paterson was looking for was a person who actually liked politics, the people in the state and winning elections.

I think we are reaching a tipping point here.  What we now see is that we have here a class of people who are shaping opinion and running the country who hold the rest of us in utter contempt.  To them, the actualities of living, working, raising children, acquiring healthcare, well that’s all theoretical.  They will discuss it amongst themselves and think up pretty remedies that will not inconvenience them in the least.  They will pat themselves on the back for all the a priori thought experiments and pass their results down to us as fiats.  The vast unwashed masses who use our hands and minds to actually earn a living, the ones who find themselves on the posteriori end of these fiats, will have to do the best we can. And if any of us decide that we want to succeed in politics so that we can make an actual difference, we can be sure we will be derided for getting our hands dirty at state fairs, rallies and parades where we may have to mix with the common  man.

They were being truthful when they said their hatred of Hillary had nothing to do with sexism.  Of course it didn’t.  They don’t think of themselves as sexists.  Well, ok, so they indulged a little in order to get Barack Obama elected but that’s just because they wanted him to win.  It wasn’t sexism.  No, the reason Hillary was the old Tracy Flick, while Kirsten Gillibrand is the new Tracy Flick, is because she actually was one of those overachieving ambitious common people who wanted the votes of other commoners.  Like they matter.  What Barack Obama’s election has shown us is that the only people who matter are the ones you flatter and try to emulate.  So, I imagine Obama went out of his way to behave like the snobs at the Times and the Washington Post.  What Obama’s election tells us is that snobbery works while Hillary was insufficiently deferential.

Of course, now he has to deal with the rank and file WH press corps and it’s giving him fits.  But I’m sure that as soon as he figures out that he has to make some of them feel like they are part of some exclusive little club, they’ll come around.  He’s already making some inroads there even if there is some initial whining.  Give him time and some quail and they’ll be as right as rain and eating out of his hands.

Gov. David Paterson and Senator Gillibrand are going to have to kiss up to the powers that be if they want to get elected.  It’s just that they *thought* those powers were, um, the people.  But the only people that matter are the ones that own the mastheads.

Meanwhile, in Ms Kennedy Regrets, The New Yorker’s Larissa McFarquhar wrote what seems like the definitive explanation for Caroline’s demise: she realized she didn’t have it in her even though the courtiers around her were smitten with Camelot nostalgia.  Thank you, Caroline.  You may go now.

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Friday: It’s a Girl!

Kirsten Gillibrand is expected to be appointed to fill Hillary Clinton’s seat in an announcement this afternoon by Governor Paterson. Gillibrand is a centrist Democrat from a conservative district in upstate New York. She’s a two term congresswoman with a reputation for being bold and forceful. With this appointment, Paterson is hoping to secure the vast wilderness of NY that is not Manhattan.

Hillary campaigns for Gillibrand in August 2006.

Hillary campaigns for Gillibrand in August 2006.

Of course, he may not have secured the seat against primary challenges in 2010. Gillibrand will likely have a contender or two, most notably Carolyn McCarthy, a congresswoman from Long Island (pronounced Lawn Guyland). McCarthy ran for congress on a gun control platform after her husband and son were callously shot by a deranged gunman as they were commuting home on a train. McCarthy is angry over the appointment as Gillibrand is one of the few Democrats who is supported by the National Rifle Association. Given Gillibrand’s district, the rolling foothills south of the Adirondacks, it’s easy to imagine that many of her constituents are avid hunters. But country folk and city folk don’t always see eye to eye on these things. It would be great if the NRA recognized that there *is* a difference and that having a lot of guns floating around a crowded metropolis where they can fall into the hands of the not-so-stable is probably not such a good idea.

Still, Hillary Clinton was an enthusiastic supporter of Gillibrand so I suspect that she’ll be pleased with this announcement. The NYTimes seems to be busily trying to find a way to smear Paterson by blaming him and his office for the botched handling of Caroline Kennedy. Personally, I’d like to thank him for taking his time and allowing the vetting of Kennedy unfold as it did. We learned a lot about the reclusive socialite, who doesn’t seem to have a political bone in her body, and the people at the NYTimes who were behind her. Something seriously weird has been going on with the Times over Kennedy. The articles written about the event have been nothing short of bizarre with a defensive tone and disjointed, out of sequence reporting of what actually happened. The sooner Caroline Kennedy is off the front page, the better.

So, Kudos to Paterson for doing the right thing and congratulations to Kirsten Gillibrand, the second female senator from the state of NY. She has some mighty big shoes to fill but if she was recommended by Hillary herself, then I’m sure the state is in good hands.

Lily Ledbetter, unlikely heroine

Lily Ledbetter, our newest heroine

In other news, the Senate passed the Lily Ledbetter act. The bill passed by 61-36.  We need to get a roll call to see which of our nation’s 36 senators voted against fair pay for women and to find out what their rationale was.  They have a lot of explaining to do to their non-burqa wearing female constituents.   Some of you ladies out there should expect to see a raise as your employers rush to head off any potential lawsuits. But there’s more to paycheck disparities than just discrimination:

The Senate debate on Thursday reflected society’s debate. Civil and womens’ rights advocates hailed the new Ledbetter legislation, but others said it will leave companies vulnerable to potentially crippling lawsuits even though discrimination is only a small factor in the so-called “gender gap” between male and female earners.

A 2007 report by the American Association of University Women found that when experience, training, education and other factors are weighed, discrimination accounts for only 5 percent of the earnings differential between male and female college graduates one year after graduation — and only 12 percent after ten years.

Nevertheless, Catherine Hill, an AAUW senior researcher who co-authored the study, said the Ledbetter law is needed.

“Most companies do the right thing anyway, but some will only do the right thing when they see laws on the books. And some companies have to be taken to court. Without (punitive) damages for discrimination, there really is no way to make them take the issue seriously,” Hill said.

However, Warren Farrell, the San Francisco author of “Why Men Earn More,” said that much of the pay gap can be explained by men choosing higher-paying professions that are in high demand and short supply, such as engineering, computer science, and information technology.

Men are also more likely to take dangerous, grimy jobs, such as collecting garbage and driving cabs, which typically pay more than other non-skilled labor.

Eliminating overt discrimination is only the most obvious thing to do. Now we have to figure out how to make the nation realize that sexism has a cost. When we don’t help girls and women succeed to the best of their abilities, it costs all of us the loss of their ideas to propel business and the nation forward. Ending pay disparities starts in middle school where we must now turn our attention to advocate for our daughters and to make sure they have the same opportunities to succeed as their male counterparts. That’s where we need to fight the next battle against gender discrimination so that girls are as prepared to study higher level math and science as boys.

Sometimes, evolution doesn’t happen gradually but in leaps and bounds. Let’s seize the day and take Lily Ledbetter up to 11.

Caroline Kennedy drops out

In one of the most bizzarre articles I have ever read at the NYTimes, comes news that Caroline Kennedy decides to not pursue Hillary’s seat because of her uncle’s health.  But, her anonymous friends exclaim, she could have had the job if she wanted it.  It’s just that, um, she didn’t want it.  Did she mention her uncle was sick?  Yeah, that’s the ticket!

Caroline Kennedy has withdrawn from consideration for the vacant Senate seat in New York, according to a person told of her decision.

Ms. Kennedy on Wednesday called Gov. David A. Paterson, who will choose a successor to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, to inform him that she no longer wished to be considered.

The person told of her decision said that Ms. Kennedy’s concerns about the health of her uncle, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who suffers from brain cancer and was hospitalized after suffering a seizure Tuesday, prompted her to withdraw.

Ms. Kennedy believed that the job was hers if she would accept it, the person said, but aides to Mr. Paterson would not comment on whether that was true.

There have been conflicting signals about whether Mr. Paterson had settled on Ms. Kennedy for the job. Mr. Paterson said earlier this week that he had chosen someone, but some advisers, as recently as Wednesday, remained convinced that he not yet made up his mind on whom to pick.

One close friend of the governor’s said on Wednesday afternoon that “I would be totally shocked” if Mr. Paterson did not pick Ms. Kennedy.

“If he doesn’t go with her, how angry is the Democratic leadership going to be with him?” the friend said.

You know, I don’t think Harry Reid gives a flying fig whether the choice is Caroline or some other Democrat as long as the vote is there when he needs it and the person has a decent shot at retaining the seat. But it’s pretty clear that someone at the Times has it bad for Lady Caroline.  Anyway, the whole reason for dropping out is just silly.  Let’s me see if I can write better copy:

Caroline Kennedy has withdrawn from consideration for the vacant Senate seat in New York, according to a person told of her decision.  Ms. Kennedy was notified by Governor Paterson’s office shortly after Senator Clinton was confirmed as Secretary of State that the Governor had selected another candidate to fill the office.  Unconfirmed reports suggest that Senator Charles Schumer has been actively promoting Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan) behind the scenes as the person who has the best combination of legislative and electoral experience to hold the seat for the Democrats.

Ms. Kennedy said that she will be spending the next several months with the elder statesman, Senator Edward Kennedy, her uncle, whose health has been in decline since the discovery last year of an agressive form of brain cancer.  Senator Kennedy suffered convulsions at the Inaugural luncheon at Statuary Hall yesterday.  Although he has recovered and has been released from the hospital, the convulsions are a clear indicator that the tumor has regained the mass that was removed in last year’s surgery.  Ms. Kennedy has expressed a desire to remain with her uncle and help him in any capacity.

Ok, see, that’s much more straightforward but a lot less entertaining than the NYT piece.  Still, I’m relieved.

Keep those cards and letters flowing.  Go Carolyn!

A Wrench in the Kennedy Machine

Hillary is 44 is following the labyrinthine maze that is the Caroline Kennedy for Senate campaign in NY and has turned up some very interesting connections.  Like, does anyone know why Charles O’Byrne, Gov. Paterson’s former right hand man, resigned about a week before the November election?

Charles J. OByrne (Source- NY Times)

Charles J. O'Byrne (Source- NY Times)

And who recently paid O’Byrne’s enormous back tax fines and does he have to pay taxes on it, seeing as it’s sorta like income?  (Hint: the Smith branch of the Kennedy family makes an appearance)

Curiouser and curiouser…

Just go read it all.  As Lambert would say, it’s full of “linky goodness”.

One more thing:  Alegre says another possible candidate for Hillary’s seat is Leecia Eve, one of Hillary Clinton’s former advisors on Homeland Security.  She is quite an accomplished woman, seems to have the blessing of party stalwarts like Charles Rangel and she’s African-American. She tried to line up support for a shot at Lieutenant governor of NY in 2006 but was told to take an old cold tater and wait while Paterson was nominated instead.  Hmmm, I wonder if that’s a move that will pay off for her now?

Leecia Eve, center, with supporters David Dinkins (L) and Charles Rangel (R)