Kirsten Gillibrand might seem favorable on the surface. As an experienced attorney turned politician, she certainly seems qualified enough. But a closer look reveals that she does not have America’s best interest in mind.
Being the child of two attorneys (her father also being a lobbyist), a private school upbringing, and an overseas college education in Bejing makes her pretty alienated from the common American voter. She can’t help but come across as privileged. It also doesn’t help that her legal record is far from friendly.
Gillibrand’s biggest black mark by far is her role as defense attorney for Big Tobacco; she helped defend the company’s executives in their spurious claims of not knowing smoking caused cancer. That’s not only embarrassing, it’s shameful. And it’s not like she was coerced by her law office either; despite having a choice in whether or not to defend the crooked company, Kirsten said yes.
Granted, that was early on in her life when she was just starting out. One can’t help but admire her tenacity and fearlessness in advancing her career as a professional woman, but at what cost? She probably would have done better to stay in the private industry. Why did she think it was a good idea to run for office? It’s most likely due to her time spent working under Hillary Clinton during her 2000 U.S. Senate campaign. Later Hillary would act as a mentor during Gillibrand’s run for New York’s 20th congressional district in 2006. Many believe she only won because her opponent, Republican incumbent John E. Sweeney, ran into a major scandal during the campaign.
Supporting Big Tobacco is not the only shadow trailing behind the Junior Senator. She also has a cozy past with the NRA, supporting bills that curtail information-sharing between federal agencies regarding firearm purchases; a decision that is sure to be considered very poor by her colleagues. Despite her tendency to support popular blue positions in the past, her shady habit of siding with companies pushing for obviously negative proposals is something we should all be very worried about.
Let’s try to end on a positive note, however, by agreeing that if there is one good quality about Kirsten, it’s her centrist-minded (some might say flip-flop) approach to politics. She’s not afraid to compromise with republicans on key issues and is by no means a liberal extremist. Her moderate approach to hot-button issues like gun control, immigration, gay rights, and healthcare show real promise if she were to be president.
We certainly won’t be angry if KG wins the democrats’ nomination somehow, but it’s sure to be an uphill battle for her to say the least. As the primaries draw closer, we will be keeping a watchful eye on the New York contender. Stay tuned!
Photo by Anna Runesson Hedin