New York governor David Paterson has appointed Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand to serve out Hillary Clinton's Senate term. The pick has stirred a hornets' nest among the anti-gun forces with Rep. Carolyn McCarthy vowing to boycott the announcment ceremony in Albany, and to challenge Gillibrand in the 2010 primary. "I will not show any support whatsoever," she said. "The majority of New Yorkers are trying to reduce gun violence. I just feel that everybody should know what her record is. If she changes, let's see it." McCarthy's vitriolic opposition, more than the NRA "A" rating, leads me to think Gillibrand's appointment could be a good thing.
The pick hints that the Democrats do not plan to press the gun issue, at least not during Obama's first term, much to the dismay of the Brady Bunch. And, quite possibly, to the dismay of the Republican Party leadership which would love to see the Democrats repeat their 1994 mass political suicide. It appears that, for now at least, Republican hopes of the Democratic Party defeating themselves by over-reaching have been dashed— at least on the gun issue, and at least for now. If this move is a reliable indicator of the Democrats' strategy, the Republican strategists who counted on returning to power on a backlash may be in for a long wait.