The New York Times reports on the biggest issue in Governor David Paterson’s mind as he searches for a replacement for Hillary Clinton in the US Senate.  Is it electoral experience, fiscal management, or foreign-policy work that Paterson sees as essential to Hillary’s successor?  In fact, as it turns out, Caroline Kennedy was supremely qualified to meet Paterson’s exacting standards.  Emphasis mine, at least in the quote:

Ms. Kennedy’s departure would reset the political calculus among the remaining contenders, about half a dozen of whom were likely to be serious prospects if Ms. Kennedy were out of the picture. Publicly and privately, Mr. Paterson has talked about the importance of selecting a woman to replace Mrs. Clinton, which could boost such candidates as Ms. Gillibrand, Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, and Randi Weingarten, the president of the United Federation of Teachers.

I get it.  It’s sort of the Robert Reich approach; we can’t allow a man (of any color, this time) to replace Hillary.  Instead of looking for intellectual or experiential qualifications as a primary concern, Paterson wants simply to bar another Y-chromosomed Senator.  Call it the New York Gender Stimulus plan.

No wonder Sweet Caroline remained on the top of the list for so long.  It certainly couldn’t have been her skill at public speaking, her openness to the press, or her ability to relate to regular New Yorkers outside of Manhattan.  She was a she, and a she with a boatload of money.  Bonus!

Even liberal Robert Stein at TMV asks the obvious question:

With the critical questions facing the Senate, when and how did substantive qualifications fall behind demographics in making choices for such high office?

Andrew Cuomo’s asking the same question right now.  Didn’t the era of Hope and Change put all of those old affirmative-action impulses to rest?  Apparently not.