Kirsten Gillibrand and America’s Meritocracy
Excerpt: Kirsten Gillibrand is out of the presidential race. I’d like to think that Tuesday’s Corner post, declaring that she was only delaying the inevitable, was the straw that broke the camel’s back....There’s a particular circle of elite New York Democratic party and media voices who found Gillibrand to be exactly what they wanted; she had risen to the top, and other people at the top found her to be as close to perfect as they could imagine. Their swoon spurred those ridiculous-in-retrospect overestimations of her appeal as a presidential candidate: Politico (“Her moment has arrived”), GQ (“the most fearsome contender”), The New Yorker (“the new face of moral reform”), and Vogue (“she’s got newfound street cred among lefties and progressives”). The swoon started soon after her appointment to fill Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat. I love making fun of Vogue’s 2017 profile of Gillibrand, but the gushing in the 2010 profile — entitled, “In Hillary’s Footsteps” — is pretty over-the-top, too: “Gillibrand is nothing if not genuine, and through sheer force of personality she bends the occasion to suit her style, which is essentially folksy and earnest. She radiates kindness. But she is also direct and no-nonsense. Despite the fact that she is a Democrat (and a fairly progressive one, at that) and worked for fifteen years as a hotshot Manhattan lawyer, she seems utterly at ease among this crowd of mostly Republican farmers, with their rough hands and weathered faces.” For some reason, Iowa and New Hampshire farmers did not find her as appealing.