Nicholas Confessore, a liberal opinionjournalist turned Times reporter, was the latest to fret about new New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who took Hillary Clinton's seat when Clinton joined the Obama administration. In typical Times fashion, Confessore's story on old Hillary hands now advising Gillibrand brought up Gillibrand's "relatively conservative voting record," the "mostly white and rural district" she represented in the House, and her "100 percent rating from the National Rifle Association."
Even as rival Democrats are lining up to challenge to Kirsten E. Gillibrand next year, the new senator is acquiring a major advantage: much of Hillary Rodham Clinton's extensive New York network of campaign operatives, donors and advisers.
Since Ms. Gillibrand was appointed in January, top Clinton aides have signed on to her campaign or Senate staff. Others with ties to Mrs. Clinton have worked to help smooth over rifts with groups that are skeptical of Ms. Gillibrand's relatively conservative voting record. Some of Mrs. Clinton's top presidential fund-raisers have joined Ms. Gillibrand's finance team to help her raise the $70 million or more she will need for the 2010 and 2012 elections.
Gillibrand's voting record, according to the American Conservative Union's Congressional rankings? A less-than-conservative 8 out of a possible 100 in her brief service in Congress, putting her well left of center.
Ms. Gillibrand, who was twice elected to Congress from a mostly white and rural district stretching from Hudson to the Adirondacks, still faces significant obstacles as she seeks to be elected in her own right.
She is not well known downstate, where Democratic primaries are lost and won. In a recent Marist College poll, only 18 percent of Democrats rated Ms. Gillibrand as doing an excellent or good job, while more than half were unsure. And she must quell suspicions among some black and Latino leaders over positions she has taken on gun rights, immigration and other issues.
But as Ms. Gillibrand tries to resolve those problems, she will have significant help from Mrs. Clinton's world.
It's part of a pattern. Reporter Kirk Semple also underlined the color content of Gillibrand's congressional district back on January 28:
The flap over Ms. Gillibrand's immigration record underscores the political challenges she faces as she broadens her political constituency from an overwhelmingly white district along New York's eastern fringe to the entire state.
Strange that ultra-liberal politicians never have to moderate their views for wider audiences, but those who aren't as liberal must accommodate the ultra-liberals.
Confessore emphasized another typical Times talking point against Gillibrand:
Much as Mrs. Clinton did in 2000, Mrs. Gillibrand has been learning to navigate the ethnic and ideological currents of New York politics. She has taken criticism from Hispanic groups over her views on immigration and from liberals and black leaders over her 100 percent rating from the National Rifle Association.
Antigun activists, not least Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, dislike her 100 percent rating from the National Rifle Association.
There's a double standard here. The Times has brought upGillibrand's "100 pecent rating" from the NRA in seven stories since January 3. When was the last time the Times was bothered by a politician's 100 percent rating from a liberal group, like the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League?A politician like, say,former Sen. Hillary Clinton? A Nexis search indicates the Times mentioned Clinton's 100% rating from NARAL one time in 8 years, in the last paragraph of a story from August 2005.