I didn’t have the same reaction that many of you did to Schumer’s claim that he went after Scott Brown only because Brown wouldn’t vote the way Schumer wanted on a bill. Yes, it makes Schumer look like a self-serving jerk, but that’s kind of the point: he’d like to be seen as the kind of jerk who’s built to last, you fuck with him, he puts his foot in your ass. And I like that kind of politics.
Anyway, there’s no doubt that Schumer’s style of politics — aggressive, unbelievably hard-working, shameless in its pursuit of campaign funds — has been a winning style. He will probably never be seriously challenged in a general election. As my friends in the city always say, he is probably too Brooklyn to ever be president.
But Kirsten Gillibrand, who’s very much in the same mold, could become the first female president if Hillary doesn’t do it first. There’s a great NYT article about her today:
If there were a chutzpah caucus in the United States Senate, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York would be its natural leader.[….]
Her other tactics include cornering colleagues on the Senate floor and refusing to stop talking, and popping out a news release picking apart a senator’s competing legislation as it is being announced.[….]
An outside player in her caucus, the New York Democrat is nonetheless admired for her ample fund-raising, especially by women; she has raised nearly $30 million since being appointed in 2009, a tally that has scared away potential challengers from both parties and turned her into a mentor for female candidates around the country.[….]
Seemingly always working — she has a book out next September — Ms. Gillibrand nonetheless leaves the office promptly at 5 every night to pick up her children from school. If there is a vote at that hour, she has developed a system to signal her aye or nay from a doorway off the Senate floor — where children are not permitted — so she can hold onto her 5-year-old’s hand. “She is ubiquitous,” said Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, “and I mean that as a compliment. I don’t know how she does it.”
I’m generally pretty skeptical about how northeastern politics plays nationally. People up here are more confrontational than in the midwest and south, and the overt no-shit-taking style of Christie, Giuliani, Schumer, and Cuomo II is a natural fit. My guess is that Christie flames out a la Giuliani and that Cuomo II will never go anywhere nationally. But Gillibrand has real national potential.