The pandering depths to which presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand will sink are so hilariously low that even a left-leaning publication such as The Atlantic magazine finds it impossible to avoid her desperation. We can see that Gillibrand stands out even in a large field of Democrat candidates noted for going into extreme pander mode.
Staff writer Edward-Isaac Dovere (formerly of Politico) can only observe in amazement as Gillibrand gives new meaning to the word "vapid" in his June 16 article, "This Isn’t Going According to Plan for Kirsten Gillibrand." However, before we get to Dovere's article, you need to experience a brief moment of extreme pandering cringe from Gillibrand's visit to the Blazing Saddle bar mentioned in the story:
Totally non-scripted moment here from Democrat presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand pic.twitter.com/8nzxV40zXM— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) June 8, 2019
DES MOINES—Isaac Rosenberg is stumped. What is it about Kirsten Gillibrand that makes people love to hate her, the rush of coverage eager to point out how her presidential campaign has underperformed?
Maybe, Rosenberg says, “it’s because America isn’t used to such an opinionated and strong woman.”
Rosenberg doesn’t get it. They hit it off. Rosenberg likes her style—in politics, and in fashion. They’d just done their makeup together upstairs. “I like a full, pink lip; she likes a red lip,” Rosenberg tells me.
We were standing in Blazing Saddle, a gay bar in the East Village neighborhood here. Rosenberg had on a white top exposing a bare midriff, and a flowing white skirt that people in the crowd had to be careful not to step on. Rosenberg is better known as the drag queen Vana, and is one of the senator’s biggest fans in Iowa.
Dovere notes she's raised less cash than Pete Buttigieg and was slower to gather supporters than amateur candidates like Marianne Williamson and Andrew Yang. But hey, there's a lot of failure to go around in a field this large:
Gillibrand is a United States senator from New York, and this is the best she can do. A mess, maybe. But it’s no more of a mess than at least a dozen other candidates who are underperforming just as much, or worse. If all the candidates who, like Gillibrand, haven’t broken 2 percent in the polls were subject to as much coverage about how terribly they were doing, there wouldn’t be room for coverage of anything else....
This is the story Gillibrand tells about herself, and she tells it consistently: “I have always been underestimated—not only by potential opponents, but by the media,” she said in a 2010 interview,
But even sympathetic journalists like Dovere are going to have to acknowledge who's lagging far behind.
The most iconic moment of Gillibrand's campaign thus far is recounted as a restaurant patron, oblivious to her pandering spiel, attempts to move past her to do something much more important than listening to Gillibrand drone on...getting some ranch dressing:
They had been sending her to restaurants in Iowa and New Hampshire, and for the first few months, the most that earned her was a viral moment of the kind the campaign didn’t want, of a woman who pushed past her when she was speaking with a small crowd at an Iowa restaurant, saying, “Sorry, I’m just trying to get some ranch.”
We are treated to a list of some of Gillibrand's blatant campaign panders. All that seems to be missing is the Beto skateboard shtick:
Others sympathetic to Gillibrand worry that her campaign’s strategy of trying to get media coverage by having her be the fun one in the race—arm wrestling, hanging out with drag queens, taking reporters to spinning classes—has undercut her as a serious candidate that people can imagine in the Oval Office.
"Many" people expected Gillibrand to "blast into the race as the candidate of women’s empowerment, seizing on the #MeToo movement and the greater moment of female activism that has been driving Democratic victories." But there are six female candidates, so it all blurs.
Is the smell of failure too strong? Well, then you better not read the finale:
At the YMCA, Gillibrand stayed behind to sign books while simultaneously balancing a baby that she was holding to give the mother a break. “Your voice matters!” she wrote in one. “Your voice really matters!” she wrote in the next one. “Your voice truly matters!” she wrote in the one after that. “Be heard!” she wrote in the last one.
Dovere wondered: "Will anyone hear her voice?"