Caroline Kennedy has backed out in her bid for Hillary Clinton’s senate seat. This was both surprising and not surprising considering the criticism Kennedy was catching from both sides on her angling for the appointment.
Kennedy had a rough start out the gate with many New York politicos aghast because she was perceived as a “Jenny-Come-Lately” trading off her famous last name. Not to mention the fact that Kennedy came out for President Barack Obama when most New York Democrats were Hillary all the way. Many Clinton supporters were bending New York Gov. David Paterson’s ear with whispers of ill-wishes for Kennedy’s candidacy.
So now she’s out of it, allegedly, citing her uncle’s health troubles. New York media gossip site Gawker has called Kennedy out on what they see as a weak excuse, considering Sen. Ted Kennedy has been sick for almost all of 2008 with terminal brain cancer. If anything, her desire should be stronger … if only to keep the Kennedy name in the senate in the event of her uncle either having to step down or dies from his illness.
They’ve floated some “theories” as to why she’s backed out, but I’m more curious about who will back themselves into this senate appointment?
Here are some of the possibles, both close to reality and the longest of longshots (after the jump):
New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo: Cuomo has always been a front-runner for the seat and in recent polls he’s been the top pick of New Yorkers. Also, by appointing him, Gov. Paterson could totally avoid having to deal with an insurgent Cuomo running against Paterson for the governor’s seat in 2010.
Odds: 10 to 1
New York US Representative Kirsten Gillibrand: She’s a Democrat and a woman! That jumps two hurdles, but Gillibrand isn’t a sure bet yet. She’s a “Blue Dog,” conservative Democrat and the progressives/Liberals are adamant about her not getting the appointment. Yet, MSNBC just announced Paterson has invited Gillibrand to his estate for a “chat.” I’d say that may have upped her odds considerably.
Odds: 5 to 1
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown: The first African American mayor of Buffalo, NY, Brown may be on the long-shot list, but the Queens native has his hat in the ring anyway. You can’t win unless you get in! He’s the brother who helped bring you the Seneca Falls Nation Casino (Indian Gaming, ya’ll!), is pro-gun control, and attempting to revamp Buffalo by knocking down one abandoned building at a time (raising the ire of historical architecture preservers). Will Paterson hook a fellow black “Firstee” up?
Odds: 25 to 1
Harold Ford, Jr.: He could really avoid testing out that “can a black man get elected while married to a white woman” theory. Two years in the senate might give him enough time to build up his cred in order to inoculate himself from whatever prejudice he may face from black or white voters uncomfortable with the whole lot. But does he have the rock star status needed to make it in his new adopted home of New York? Also, it doesn’t help thateveryone is talking about Clinton’s seat as the “woman’s seat,” as in Paterson may be both interested in and pressured to appoint a woman. It worked for Roland Burris in Illinois!
Odds: 30 to 1
Actress/Activist Fran Drescher: Seriously? “The Nanny?” Star of Papa Snob’s favorite sitcom to watch in reruns? Seriously? Give it up, Fran and start planning for an insurgent campaign in 2010. It’s not that you lack the drive or passion (or the tenancity because, damn, that voice would make Iran give up the nukes in a hot second), but Paterson ain’t picking you.
Odds: 50 to 1
Former President Bill Clinton: I’ve already said folks are smoking crack if they think Bill is going to take a downgrade from the cache of being a former president to the indignity of being Chuck Schumer’s bitch. Seriously. Big Willie has to be BIG WILLIE. He’s simply not that desperate. Not when he can still dream of someday being America’s “First Gentledude” if Hillary is still viable in four-to-eight years.
But if I’m wrong. Well. That’s some crazy shit right there, Big Willie.
Odds: 100 to 1