Gillibrand Appointment Good News but No Guarantee
The appointment of upstate Representative Kirsten Gillibrand to fill the Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton is a welcome surprise, but she has already suggested that she might adjust her position in the Second Amendment as a senator representing a more diverse constituency. Gillibrand was considered a dark-horse candidate for the senate seat and political watchers were caught flat-footed by Governor Paterson's announcement that he was appointing her. The media immediately locked onto three defining handles with which to paint Gillibrand calling her a "blue dog" Democrat, mentioning that she voted against the massive government bailout bills, and pointing out that she has a favorable rating from the NRA.
Anti-gun groups began wailing and gnashing teeth declaring that they will support anti-rights leader, Long Island Representative Carolyne McCarthy in the primary when Gillibrand comes up for election.
While the appointment of Gillibrand is rather refreshing amidst the partisan backdrop of the last few months, the fact that Senator Chuck Schumer is supporting her and that the Brady Bunch has declared a "wait and see" position is not heartening. Gillibrand stated that she understands that she now represents a much larger and more diverse constituency than previously and pledged to work with McCarthy on legislation restricting guns.
I fear that the pressure from Schumer and the media will convince Seator Gillibrand to abandon her principles and support restrictive gun laws. Doing so would be a mistake, morally and politically, but unfortunately probably not a carreer ending mistake given the political realities on New York. Hopefully some of her upstate constituents can convince her to stick to her guns and ignore the clamour of the anti-rights crowd. Elections prove over and over again that taking anti-gun positions almost always hurt more than they help in elections and pro-gun positions almost always help more than they hurt. Democrats have been rediscovering this truth and their pro-rights roots over the past decade or so and I hope that Gillibrand recognizes this before making any big mistakes.