Bizarrely, just when Senator Clinton actually appears to have started giving a shit about transit after almost seven years of completely ignoring it, we may actually have a chance to get rid of her. It looks like she'll be our next Secretary of State, where her lack of principles may turn out to be an asset.
Apparently I wasn't the only one whose first reaction to the possibility of Secretary Clinton was "you mean she won't be Senator anymore?" The problem is that nobody that Jeremy Peters talked to thought "So who would be a really good advocate for New York in the Senate," but instead, "So who would the Democratic establishment in New York like to see in the Senate?"
Attorney General Cuomo? Seriously, what has he done in the past two years, except keep Jeanine Pirro out of office? What did he accomplish as HUD Secretary - except get the ball rolling on the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac mess? Congressman Higgins? Who is he, and what has he done for New York State? Lowey? Meeks? Israel? Do we really want someone who's played it safe for god knows how long? Velazquez at least has taken some initiative on something, although I'll be damned if I can remember what it is.
RFK Junior? Caroline Kennedy? Do we really want another political dynast who'll camp out here for just long enough to springboard into the Administration? No. Plus, I think RFK Jr. has done some good things, but I haven't heard much from CBK. If one of them wants a senate seat, I think their uncle should retire and give them his.
Who would be the transit candidate for Senate, somebody who has actually made rail a priority in Washington? Jerry Nadler, that's who. He's the only one that makes sense; the rest of the city's delegation has been completely useless. The only other possibility would be Chuck Rangel, but he's under a cloud right now.
But, Peters warns us, the natives are restless upstate: the governor, State Senate majority and (current) minority leaders, assembly speaker and senior senator are all from the NYC area. Hence floating the name of Brian Higgins. Well, you know we do have liberals from upstate. What about Maurice Hinchey or John Hall?
You know what Senate appointment might do the most for transit and livable streets in New York State? Anthony Weiner. Think about it: he's running for Mayor next year and he's been consistently against congestion pricing and bridge tolls, and pretty lukewarm about everything else. Appointing him to the Senate would probably discourage him from running for Mayor. He couldn't do worse in DC than he would in City Hall, and it's hard to imagine a him being a less enthusiastic transit supporter than Clinton.
In fact, there's a few politicians I'd like to see kicked upstairs like that; too bad we don't have more senate seats. Would Sheldon Silver say no to a Senate appointment? He'd finally have an excuse for all those plane trips to D.C. But maybe we'd just get Speaker Brodsky instead. At least somebody already found a way to get rid of Iris Weinshall.