Thursday, January 14, 2010

Ballot Police

Wayne Barrett has a must read piece in this week's Village Voice on the battle to keep Kirsten Gillibrand from having to face any primary opponent this September in her first race for statewide office: "Thank God for the ballot police. But for them, five or six elected Democrats would've already committed the crime of running against Kirsten Gillibrand. Now we have the man Harry Reid obviously mistook for Barack Obama, Harold Ford Jr., illegally panhandling at Steve Rattner's 5th Avenue apartment, shaking down big donors in a brazen attempt to challenge our unelected senator, handpicked by our unelected governor. Zero tolerance for broken window violators!"

And then he gets to the issue of Ford's about face on the issues-and calls out Empire State Pride for its attack on Ford's "evolution." "Empire State Pride Agenda jumped on Ford, too, angered because he was against gay marriage before he was for it, just like Schumer and Gillibrand. On this question, for heterosexual politicians, it's all about when they jumped out of the closet. He voted for a constitutional ban on gay marriage, but supported civil unions, unfortunate, as he was, to arrive in the House 10 years before Gillibrand, and leaving just as she got there in 2007. Even as late as December 2008, Gillibrand was blessed by an unusually personal gestation period on the marriage issue, since the interview she gave opposing it wasn't actually published until after Governor Paterson gave her a senate seat and she'd switched positions on the issue, making it possible for her to claim, as she does, that she's all but performed them."

That didn't stop Alan Van Cappele from calling Ford a, "snake oil salesman." Apparently, as Barrett says, altering your views is alright if you, what? We're not sure the exact criteria on this touchy subject, and the more we look at both candidates the dizzier we get. We are, however, happy to see that Ford is going after both New York senators on health care-a fact that the green Gillibrand, finally overcoming her laryngitis, finds objectionable.

As the NY Daily News reports: "Responding to a call by Ford that she should vote "no" on any health care overhaul that costs New York Medicaid cash, Gillibrand said: "I will take a backseat to no one when it comes to fighting for New York. If Harold Ford wants to move from Tennessee and run in New York, he is welcome to do so," she said of the former Memphis congressman."His record of being anti-choice, anti-marriage equality and now opposed to President Obama's health care legislation may be right for Tennessee" but not New York, she added."

Wow. If we had Harry Reid sensibilities we would be mumbling something about the pot and the kettle right about now-but we digress. Gillibrand does have chutzpah-something that New Yorkers can relate to-given her mutating political stances. And Ford's mouthpiece responds: "It's sad to see the unelected senator resort to the politics-as-usual of distorting records," Ford spokesman Davidson Goldin shot back. Goldin insisted Ford is pro-choice, despite his once having cast himself as "pro-life," and said he has "evolved" on gay marriage, much like Gillibrand."

But we'll give Wayne Barrett the last word in this lesson in evolution: "Does any real Democrat with an open mind and a progressive heart have the slightest idea of who they'd vote for between these two at this stage? How can you tell? They will still be evolving primary morning."

Which gets us to the point we made yesterday about the fact that the leftwing of the party-now known as progressive (Bull Moose?)-has no one to blame but itself on this spectacle, having obediently benched itself because the White House bosses told them to sit quietly on the sidelines-something that the NY Post screamed about yesterday: "What is it that gives President Obama the notion that he's entitled to a vote on who represents New York in the US Senate? He's made it clear from the git-go that he prefers seat-warming cipher Kirsten Gillibrand as a permanent replacement for Hillary Rodham Clinton. And it's easy to understand why: Gillibrand is a regular Docile Dora when it comes to the administration -- doing what she's told and not making a peep about it, no matter how much damage it does to New York."

All of which leaves us with the thought that there is a wide opening for Republicans in the aftermath of this side splitting reincarnation. Imagine, a candidate from the other side who actually has views that have held fast for over twenty minutes-and really believes that the current political agenda of the Obami isn't really good for New York. After this primary battle of chameleons, this mystery candidate might actually win. Can anyone say, Scott Brown?