I have to say that I think it shows exceedingly poor judgment on Kirsten Gillibrand's part that she "has agreed to allow The New York Times to chronicle her first year in office." Michelle Cottle did a great piece way back in November 2004 about how Democrats' eagerness to please the press leads, semi-paradoxically, to them getting terrible press coverage. This stunt seems, broadly construed, to be part of that trend. Let's hope for her sake she constructed an explicit quid pro quo where the Times decided for some reason to throw ethics out the window and guarantee her glowing coverage in exchange for this unusual level of access.

All of which is by way of setup for this hilarious passage:

For her and other freshman lawmakers, it is a time of intense learning and sudden challenges, harried travel and nonstop work. But it is also a period of political peril: Gary Jacobson, a professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego, has found that while veteran incumbents enjoy a re-election rate of 98 percent, the rate drops to less than 92 percent for first-term incumbents.

Less than 92 percent, what is the world coming to! Next thing you know competitive elections might be a regular feature of American democracy.