Meet New York's new junior Senator

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From The New York Post:

ALBANY – Gov. Paterson, defying the liberal wing of his Democratic Party, has chosen little-known, NRA-backed, upstate Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton as New York’s junior senator, it was learned last night.

The surprising – and, for many Democrats shocking – decision to pick the conservative Gillibrand, 42, from Hudson in Columbia County, was disclosed by the governor in calls to party officials and some members of the state’s congressional delegation, many of whom said they were unhappy with the selection, sources said.

[…]

The decision was a major rebuff to some of the state’s best-known Democrats interested in Clinton’s seat, including Attorney General and former federal Housing Secretary Andrew Cuomo, for whom Gillibrand once worked as a junior lawyer; Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi, and Reps. Carolyn Maloney of Manhattan and Steve Israel of Suffolk County.

Sources said “at least five” members of the state’s Democratic congressional delegation called Paterson to protest the possibility of Gillibrand’s selection. One, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy of Nassau County, even threatened a primary challenge. Gillibrand faces a special election in 2010.

[…]

Calls were made from Paterson’s office to leading Democrats and Republicans throughout the afternoon, inviting them to a special meeting room attached to the Capitol for “a major announcement.”

The inclusion of several prominent Republicans among the invitees was an early sign to insiders that Paterson planned to pick an upstate Democrat.

Gillibrand has won two successive elections in one of the heaviest GOP districts in the state, first upsetting incumbent Rep. John Sweeney and, in November, defeating former state GOP chairman and multimillionaire Alexander Treadwell, in one of the most expensive races in the nation.

Liberal Democrats have been wary of her because she ran for re-election with the backing of the National Rifle Association, opposed the federal TARP program to rescue banks, and has been less than enthusiastic about gay marriage.

Mmmmkay. Let’s review:

  • She’s young
  • She’s attractive
  • She’s relatively unknown
  • She is not an elite urbanite
  • She is a fiscal conservative
  • She is a social conservative
  • She is a darling of the NRA

Does that profile sound, I don’t know, maybe just the least bit familiar?

Considering that 2008 was such a huge year of victory and empowerment for big government progressives, one has to wonder which way the political winds are really blowing for 2010 and 2012. What does David Paterson know about the inside frustrations and worries of the liberal Democratic party establishment that we don’t? What does his pick say about the chances of hard-core liberals gaining (or even holding on to) power during the next major elections?

Any guesses?

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ADDED: Gov. Paterson’s selection process explained, via SNL:

Ann Coulter, Dr. Phil, Alan Colmes and Scott McClellan
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