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How to interpret Kirsten Gillibrand’s political opportunism

You're not allowed, it seems, to write an article about New York Sen. and possible presidential hopeful Kirsten Gillibrand without comparing her to Tracy Flick (Politico yesterday dutifully observed the tradition). Yes, Gillibrand is ambitious, female and blonde and has been said to have sharp elbows -- it's taken less than that to trot out the "Election" protagonist before -- but there may be a more interesting comparison here: Mitt Romney.

When Gillibrand -- a hot topic in political circles this week, as a potential liberal presidential candidate and a champion for addressing sexual assault in the military -- was appointed to Hillary Clinton's Senate seat in 2009, Nate Silver wrote, "This is not a terrific outcome for progressive Democrats," because "Gillibrand, statistically speaking, has been one of the more conservative Democrats in the House. Moreover, she is a somewhat proud conservative, being a member of the Blue Dog caucus. In a state like New York, which is capable of electing and re-electing a very liberal senator, that’s a somewhat underachieving result for the Democrats."

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