Thursday, December 18, 2008


So I'm watching the process of selecting a replacement senator for Hillary Clinton, a process now dominated by Caroline Kennedy, and what I'm seeing -- the domination of the process by a few powerful wheeler-dealers forcing their will on the governor -- is, I suppose, just business as usual ... but here in New York I would have liked to think that we'd at least be talking about Democratic wheeler-dealers.

Not so, according to today's New York Times:

When a powerful labor leader picked up the phone this week, he was surprised to hear the voice of a top aide to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York.

The aide, Kevin Sheekey, a deputy mayor, made it clear: Caroline Kennedy is going to be the next senator from New York, "so get on board now," according to a person with direct knowledge of the call.

As Ms. Kennedy's unusual campaign for the seat takes shape, the mayor's top political strategist is pushing hard behind the scenes for her, with Mr. Bloomberg's blessing.

... it is setting off a backlash among some Democrats who see in her well-orchestrated emergence the same message of inevitability and entitlement that surrounded Mr. Bloomberg's successful bid for a third term -- a campaign overseen by Mr. Sheekey....

Mr. Sheekey, a 42-year-old native of Washington who worked for Mr. Bloomberg's private company, has earned the trust of the Kennedy family through his work on behalf of California's governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose wife, Maria Shriver, is Ms. Kennedy's cousin....

Bloomberg? Schwarzenegger? (And let's not forget the involvement of "fixer" Joe Isay, who's worked for, among others, Joe Lieberman.)

Kevin Sheekey, a year ago, was known around City Hall as the "deputy mayor for running for president." His incessant push for a Bloomberg third-party run never came to fruition -- but he was more successful in getting term limits overthrown so Bloomberg can be, apparently, mayor-for-life if that's what he wants. (Bloomberg will almost certainly be reelected next year, a year that was expected to see the election of a Democrat as mayor for the first time -- in this allegedly deep-blue city -- since 1989.)

The Times story does feature a Democratic name or two:

Lawrence O'Donnell, who worked with Mr. Sheekey in the office of the late Senator Daniel P. Moynihan in the early 1990s, said that in telephone conversations, he and Mr. Sheekey discussed which party strategists were best positioned to help arrange Ms. Kennedy’s debut political tour.

Well, Moynihan was a Democrat -- although he was also a Nixon aide and a frequent basher of Bill Clinton. (By the way, here's O'Donnell at the Huffington Post conveying Moynihan's widow's endorsement of Caroline Kennedy, and here's O'Donnell's earlier HuffPo post "Caroline Has What It Takes.")

This isn't a swing state. I want a Democrat in the Senate.


(More from Politico.)

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