The Blue State Sarah Palin

betsy mccaugheyThat's how The New Republic describes former NY lieutenant governor Betsy McCaughey (she was Pataki's LG from 1995-1998):

What kind of person drives normally staid wonks, including her own ideological teammates, to such stinging public reproof? Part of it is obviously the nature of her commentary. But beyond that, there is something about McCaughey herself that drives her critics wild--and has throughout much of her career. Friends posit it's her disconcerting blend of brains, beauty, and confidence. Detractors chalk it up to her rank dishonesty, narcissism, and lack of shame. Whatever the cause, the passion McCaughey inflames is familiar. Looking over the sweep of McCaughey's life, from her swift political rise (and fall) to her humble roots, from her straight-talking persona, fierce will, and blinding confidence to her gift for self-dramatization, head-turning looks, and embrace of the gender card, one sees precursors of a more recent conservative phenom. Replace the East Coast researcher's political-outsider, stats-wielding, pointy-head shtick with a political-outsider, gun-toting, populist one, and a striking parallel emerges: Betsy McCaughey is, in essence, the blue-state Sarah Palin.

McCaughey has been at the center of the pundit slapfest over the Obama's Administration's effort to reform healthcare. Her comments on the plan to include end-of-life counseling benefits in Medicare were tagged with a "pants on fire" designation by Politifact.

That TNR piece by Michelle Cottle includes a bunch of interesting/weird/WTF?/seriously? bits about McCaughey's time as NY LG -- including a great quote from former Pataki spokesperson Zenia Mucha: "How do you describe someone who is too bizarre to describe?"

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photo: CIRD/WikiCommons

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