One of the sheer joys of being a New Yorker at Thanksgiving actually takes place before the big parade.
All day today and late into the night, thousands of New Yorkers will line up on West 81st Street between Columbus Ave and Central Park West to watch Underdog get blown to his full proportions. This magic street is transformed once a year into the inflation staging area for the Thanksgiving Day Parade's many balloons.
I'll be there as always, but this year I'll be asking folks to play "Who Wants To Be A US Senator?" With the prospects of our junior Senator Hillary Clinton being named Secretary of State by President-elect Obama, who is on your short list of replacements?
Since people LOVE lists at this time of year, here's my list. Your comments and additions are most welcome. We will pass on your list to Gov. David Patterson for his review.
Gov. David Patterson: Why not? He already has legislative experience having spent more than two decades in the State Senate, some of them as Minority Leader. Plus, who wants to deal with the financial headache that is about to debilitate the State? As Governor, Patterson can appoint himself and leave the mess behind that Client #9 plopped in his lap.
Pres. Bill Clinton: It's been done before. Following his defeat at the hands of Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams left the Presidency and served 17 years in the House of Representatives. Further, since 1923, 44 women have replaced their spouses in Congress, so there is precedent. But Clinton would be the first male spouse to replace his wife. The ex-Prez could break a new glass ceiling for MEN! All of the other Bubba possibilities of him serving in the Congress is left to your imagination.
Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-Rochester: Louise has been a Congresswoman from Western NY for decades and has a great reputation on both sides of the aisle. Replacing Hillary would not only satisfy the "filling the seat with a woman" crowd, but like Hillary, Louise is not a native-New Yorker. She hails from the Blue Grass State - Kentucky.
Mayor Byron Brown, Buffalo: His name is being floated for, as far as I can tell, one reason. After several terms as a do-nothing State Senator, Brown has now spent a term as a do-nothing Mayor. We are supposedly in a "post-racial" America, but let's face it -- Mayor Brown is on everyone's short list because of color. If that's the case:
Rep. Nydia Velasquez, D-New York: First elected in 1992, Congresswoman Velasquez is highly qualified to take Hillary's place. She's a former NYC Councilwoman and a college professor. If, as some suggest, this seat has to go to a minority candidate, then Velazquez, Puerto Rican Catholic Woman with REAL credentials is seemingly THE choice.
Judith Regan, Publisher, Talk Show Host: Full disclosure - a friend of mine and her former producer. However, Judith, aside from fitting the "replace a woman with a woman" criteria, is a hugely successful businesswoman who made gazillions of dollars for Harper Collins before she was railroaded by Rupert Murdoch. Let's face it, Judith knows how to run a business and make money. To paraphrase the late James Brown, "Judith Don't Take No Mess." She beat back Murdoch, Roger Ailes, cross-dressing Rudy Guiliani and his shady cop commish Bernie Kerik. She's my dark horse candidate.