America’s Political Aristocracy Problem

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kennedy obama.jpgI have very mixed feelings about the news that Caroline Kennedy is now seeking appointment to Hillary Clinton’s soon to be vacated Senate seat.
It seems hypocritical to on the one hand challenge Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s qualifications and readiness to have potentially assumed the presidency if something had happened to John McCain and if, of course, their ticket had won on November 4th and then on the other, say nothing about Caroline Kennedy’s dearth of real policy and political experience to assume one of the most powerful offices in the country — even if a Senator is usually not as consequential as a President.
I feel that it’s important that vacant Senate seats be taken seriously by both the Democratic and Republican parties — and selecting celebrity family members from political dynasties feels undemocratic.
Caroline Kennedy — when she shows she has thick-skin. can take tough-minded criticism for the mistakes she no doubt will make, and when she articulates coherent policy views on serious challenges facing the country — may make in fact make a great Senator from New York. I hope that she does and that she grows into the role.
But can Caroline Kennedy publicly support a process that leads to a viable Palestinian state and explain to her constituents why? Can she embrace that ending America’s anachronistic Cold War with Cuba is low hanging fruit on America’s roster of foreign policy opportunities and that more enlightened policy there can create a positive echo effect elsewhere? Can she make informed decisions on whether American force should be deployed to achieve policy objectives — and can she also stand up to the President, someone of her own party, and work to deny the White House of war-making authority when a conflict is undermining the interests of the country?
Can Caroline Kennedy legislate the contours of what it might take to establish a new social contract in domestic America? Can she distinguish between the features of ‘smart globalization’ and manic globalization? Does she understand that none of the tough policy choices in the country are binary ones — that there are mostly shades of gray and nuanced differences between the policy options facing the country but that these nuances can be enormously consequential?
JFK was a Democratic hawk, much in the mold of what Hillary Clinton, Evan Bayh, and Ben Nelson have conveyed in their political views — but over the years, Caroline Kennedy and her late brother John worked hard to assert a narrative about their father that he was a Wilsonian progressive in foreign policy, someone committed to global justice with a soft touch. Will Caroline Kennedy be part of the pacifist, idealistic wing of the Democratic Party? or will she join the muscular wing of values militants that have emerged as a strong force? or will she be a pragmatic realist — closer to where Barack Obama seems to be?
How will Caroline Kennedy be as an “excecutive” in a powerful legislative seat, sculptng what is too often typically a passive role of voting nay or yea into something that will add value for New Yorkers and Americans?
There are many questions in store for Kennedy as she pursues this Senate seat, and she needs to show a readiness to be grilled.
While the Kennedy clan is clearly one of America’s strongest and most enduring political family dynasties, the Kennedys that mattered were always the ones who stunned the public with their brilliance and tenacity.
Each of the most famous Kennedys — their audience would feel — could have been a successful political heavyweight even without the Kennedy name.
That will be the test for Caroline Kennedy. Can she show that she can be one of the best crafters of policy and one of the strongest animators of activism in ways that show that she should have always been in the Senate on her own merits — and not just because she got her resume read because of her last name?
I hope she shows us much we haven’t yet seen and stuns us like other members of her family have. We’ll see.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

32 comments on “America’s Political Aristocracy Problem

  1. Syed Qamar Afzal Rizvi says:

    In my candid view, Caroline kennedy’s quest for gaing the Senate seat should not be a matter of an unusual surprise in that joining the club of America’s political aristocracy by all means seems to be her justified right.

    Reply

  2. DavidT says:

    Steve,
    You as much as many others in DC embody the “experience” argument and why its so silly. You seem to have lots of DC experience yet seem less than assured right after the election that Obama will pick a “competent” cabinet. You seem embittered that those celebrating the Obama historic win in Chicago made so much racket that it was challenging for you to do your blog postings. The nerve of those people! And once again you bring up the Sarah Palin thing and argue that the problem people had with her was her lack of experience.
    Let me just say, once again, that that is pure and unadulterated nonsense. While you’re caught up in the notion that experience is vital (and I guess its a calling card for you so that’s perhaps natural), experience is simply a measure for want of a better measurement of judgment. Yet some people (like several of our most experienced presidents, James Buchanan being one of the best examples) don’t develop good judgment no matter how much experience they have. Governor Palin might be more polished and smoother after another two or four more years in the governor’s post but I suspect that most people who find her frightening as vice president will not be any more reassured then than they were during this election.
    The other problem with this specious argument is as you mention in passing, you’re comparing apples to oranges. If you were to argue that Caroline is less qualified than Wasilla Mayour Palin was there’s a better parallel. However comparing the filling of a position a heartbeat away from the presidency with a heartbeat away from replacing Chuck Schumer as senior Senator from New York (as much as I like Chuck Schumer) is nonsensical (unless you know something that I don’t — like the junior Senator from New York is as close in line for the presidency as the vice president).
    One last thing. I would prefer anyone seeking this seat have to run for this office as well. I I don’t much like political dynasties. But the experience argument that you so consistently (and equally speciously) made against Senator Obama is undermined in this case by the example of Caroline’s uncle who was hardly alot more qualified that she is now to join the Senate.
    Yes, I believe he ran for that office (if I recall correctly), but how qualified was he? Yet scholars and prominent journalists consider him one of the greatest if not the greatest Senate legislator of the past thirty years. Lucky for us you weren’t around back then to pound him in the head for his lack of experience when running for that office.

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  3. Sweetness says:

    “Hillary Clinton chose to spend her entire adult life in the public
    eye and in politics. From her days as a youngster working as a
    staff member on the Watergate Committee down through today
    she has devoted her life to politics and she had a record that can
    be scrutinized. Some of it was good (her commitment to
    children’s causes) and some of it was bad (the failure of her
    leadership on health care reform) but it was there for all to see.”
    I’ll give you this one. Hillary has more going for her than
    Caroline. However, Hillary wasn’t chosen for NY because of her
    background but because of her star power. So, she had the
    goods, but that isn’t why she was chosen or why she was chosen
    above, say, Nita, who had much more experience and who had
    paid her dues IN New York. But it seems that Hillary turned out
    to be a good senator and she’ll probably be a good SOS. And
    who knows? Caroline may well turn out to be a good senator,
    too. Like Hillary, she may decide that she wants to dispel the
    suspicion that she’s just a last name and really buckle down. As
    I’m saying a lot these days…we will see.

    Reply

  4. Paul Norheim says:

    WigWag, if you want to dwell on these wonky family details
    concerning the US political aristocracy, I would still insist that
    Hillary was Bill`s wife. Arguably, John F. was the son of father Joe;
    Ted less so, and more the little brother of John F, as I said above.
    Now Hillary is more than a wife, and Ted more than a brother;
    their own achievements overshadow their background. But W. will
    remain the son of father George Herbert Walker, the black sheep
    of the family.
    Currently, Caroline is a daughter in the political context – we`ll
    see if she turns out to be something more. Personally, I hope
    she`ll never become the mother of any of her kids in a political
    sense, but I guess she will. And Hillary too.

    Reply

  5. WigWag says:

    Caroline Kennedy’s leadership qualities on display!
    New York Times
    By JEREMY W. PETERS and NICHOLAS CONFESSORE
    Published: December 17, 2008
    “SYRACUSE — In a carefully controlled strategy reminiscent of the vice-presidential hopeful Sarah Palin, aides to Caroline Kennedy interrupted her on Wednesday and whisked her away when she was asked what her qualifications are to be a United States senator.
    In her first public appearance since letting it be known that wants to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton, Ms. Kennedy emerged from a closed-door meeting with Matthew J. Driscoll, the mayor of Syracuse, where about a dozen reporters were waiting.
    She offered a 30-second statement saying that she would respect the process undertaken by Gov. David A. Paterson to fill the vacancy.
    Then, as reporters asked why Ms. Kennedy was seeking the Senate seat and whether she was ready, she did not answer, then walked away, heading toward a waiting black sport-utility vehicle.
    When one reporter asked what she would tell New Yorkers who question whether she has the qualifications for the job, Ms. Kennedy, 51, started to respond. But then an aide stopped her from saying more, and led her to the waiting vehicle.”

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  6. WigWag says:

    “If I should compare Hillary Clinton to some of the above mentioned, I would compare her to Ted Kennedy: one a wife, the other a brother; and both chose to spend their “entire adult life in the public eye and in politics.”
    Actually, Paul, that’s not correct. Like his brothers John and Robert, Ted Kennedy is political spawn. His father Joe was at one time, the wealthiest man in America. And he was one of the most powerful Democrats in the United States. He was the US Ambassador to the United Kingdom and Roosevelt appointed him as Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. He had political aspirations for his children (of course, the males only) from the time they were young children.
    Hillary Rodham Clinton was the daughter of a small business man in the textile business. Her mother was a house wife. And both of Hillary’s parents were conservative republicans. When she was 13 years old in 1960 she actually canvassed for Richard Nixon against Ted Kennedy’s brother, John and she campaigned for Republican Barry Goldwater in 1964. She didn’t become a Democrat until she had been at Wellesley for two years. In fact, her first year at Wellesley she served as President of Wellesley’s Young Republicans and she campaigned for Republicans like John Lindsey (Mayor of New York) and Edwin Brook (the African American Republican Senator from Massachusetts).
    Hillary Clinton became a Democrat through self-reflection and by challenging her beliefs and her parent’s beliefs. Ted Kennedy, as laudable as his record is, just adopted his family’s beliefs.
    Hillary Clinton worked for everything she’s achieved in politics. Ted Kennedy just entered the family business.
    They’re not the same at all.

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  7. DonS says:

    “America’s Political Aristocracy ” is absolutely an appropriate heading, whether “aristocracy” is read tightly or coloquially. Let’s not split hairs when it comes to the rich, talented, beautiful and favored. If that’s not aristocracy, its close enough? And, I mean,
    what the hell was the whole “Camelot”
    business about anyway???

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  8. Warren Metzler says:

    Amazing!
    I thought the whole purpose of a representative was to represent.
    I didn’t know it was to be a policy wonk.
    Or have I missed that most intellectuals believe the government
    needs to run everyone’s life and the world, and you need
    extensive academic training for that responsibility? And if
    experienced staff does most of the work, and the senator is a
    final decider, what the problem with Caroline?

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  9. Perry says:

    I lived in White Plains when 9/11 occurred and I greatly admire the work Clinton did during that time. I also believe that she was deeply involved in brokering peace in No. Ireland (as credited by George Mitchell, Gerry Adams and others who were themselves involved). That is good experience for dealing with other conflicts, in my opinion. If Ted Kennedy sees health care reform as his swan song, perhaps he feels that he needs Caroline around to see it through. Every politician has aspirations and I see no reason why his should trump those of others who have earned consideration. This kind of appointment shouldn’t be made out of sentimentality or because a man wants his influence to extend beyond his own life. Caroline cannot tell her uncle “no” but the Governor of NY should.

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  10. carsick says:

    I don’t have a dog in this fight since I don’t live in New York but…
    Kennedy has written books focused on national policy as long ago as 1990. Gov. Palin is the semi-new governor of a state with a population smaller than my city in the Midwest.
    And, I find it hard to believe Kennedy would be as bad as many sitting senators.

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  11. Paul Norheim says:

    If I should compare Hillary Clinton to some of the above
    mentioned, I would compare her to Ted Kennedy: one a wife,
    the other a brother; and both chose to spend their “entire adult
    life in the public eye and in politics.”
    Both prominent members of the American aristocracy, which
    was an important point in the argument I made above.
    And I don`t think I have the patience to read more from you
    about Obama`s lack of experience, WigWag, refreshed by the
    occurrence of Caroline K. on the political scene.
    I capitulate immediately: they both are relatively inexperienced
    in politics! And yeah, Hillary had more political experience then
    Caroline has now.
    But the main point re H.R.C. versus C.K. is selected versus
    elected.

    Reply

  12. WigWag says:

    Sweetness (and Paul Norheim), there is a big difference between Hillary Clinton and Caroline Kennedy. And it has nothing to do with whether you like Hillary Clinton’s politics or personality. Hillary Clinton chose to spend her entire adult life in the public eye and in politics. From her days as a youngster working as a staff member on the Watergate Committee down through today she has devoted her life to politics and she had a record that can be scrutinized. Some of it was good (her commitment to children’s causes) and some of it was bad (the failure of her leadership on health care reform) but it was there for all to see.
    Hillary Clinton was a practicing attorney in Arkansas while Caroline Kennedy, though a lawyer, never practiced. You may not think much of Clinton’s performance at the Rose Law firm, but at least she worked for a living (something Caroline Kennedy is unfamiliar with) and her record as a lawyer was fully available for New York voters to scrutinize if they felt it was important. She was also first lady of Arkansas twice and first lady of the United States twice. I understand that many men and younger women don’t find that a particularly impressive credential. But millions of American women of a certain generation understand what it’s like to have their experience minimized because, while they were intimately involved with their husband’s professional affairs, they were merely “the wife.”
    Like them or hate them, Bill and Hillary Clinton were a political team throughout their entire professional careers; and no one gave them anything; they earned everything they achieved. Can’t say that for Caroline Kennedy, can you?
    The appropriate analogy to Caroline Kennedy is not Hillary Clinton, its Chelsea Clinton. Come to think of it, why doesn’t Governor Paterson appoint Chelsea to the United States Senate? Surely, she’s younger than Caroline, but she’s just as experienced and from what I can tell somewhat more articulate.
    And it’s funny you mention Nita Lowey. Most people would have assumed that the Congresswoman from Westchester County was the natural person for the governor to appoint to Clinton’s seat and if not her, Caroline Maloney. It’s Kennedy, who has never worked for anything (never even held a full time job) that is stepping over these two women because somehow as a Kennedy she’s entitled to the seat.
    I don’t necessarily object to political spawn having political aspirations. But if they do, let them earn their political stripes like Andrew Cuomo did or like Hillary Clinton did or like Lowey and Maloney did.
    Don’t you find it even a little objectionable that a woman who has chosen to live a private life for 51 years can suddenly decide that she wants her first full time job to be as a United States Senator? And don’t you find her utterly transparent motivation (to insure that a Kennedy remains in the Senate) particularly disgusting?
    I don’t know about you, but if I lived in New York, I think I would prefer a Senator who has demonstrated that she knows what it means to work for a living.
    That most certainly isn’t Caroline Kennedy.

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  13. Paul Norheim says:

    Hillary C. is a central member of the American aristocracy, just
    like Caroline and Ted Kennedy, or George and Jeb Bush. Som
    happen to be hardworking people, impressive politicians – like
    Hillary Clinton and Ted Kennedy; others are less impressive –
    like George Bush.
    In Europe “we” (Norway is not a member of EU) have a different
    problem regarding democracy: no one knows the people in
    Brussels, for most people it`s just a bureaucracy in a distant
    city, so they don`t care much at all.
    In the multi-linguistic Europe, the nation state may remain
    relatively strong for the reasons mentioned above.
    USA seems to go in an opposite direction, a combination of
    the monarchic families of old Europe and the American Idol
    model that Wigwag mentioned. This tendency will probably be
    reinforced by the weakening of the traditional newspapers and
    journalistic skills – mentioned in Steve`s post above. 30 years
    from now, electing a woman or a black man may not be an
    issue in America. Neither will it be an issue that this woman or
    man may be Paris Hilton or Puff Daddy.
    Sometimes I see people claiming (even at TWN) that America is
    the worlds “oldest democracy” – and others correcting them,
    suggesting England or Rome instead. But actually it was the
    city-state of Athens, with a population of 250.000, containing
    30.000 men with civil rights, among them the right to vote.
    Democratic entities with 300 million citizens, not to mention
    more than a billion citizens (like India) and huge media
    industries, is an entirely different story, and perhaps elements
    of “aristocracy”, Hollywood and Bollywood are inevitable.
    This may make it even more easy in the future to elect puppets,
    with the real players hiding behind the scenes. The Goebbels`s
    of the day will also find it much easier to manipulate the masses
    through the media industry, especially if education and
    journalism deteriorate to an even lower level.

    Reply

  14. Sweetness says:

    Wig writes: “Hillary Clinton worked her heart out for upstate New
    York and they loved her for it. She regularly outpolled Republicans
    in the most Republican part of the State. Is there any evidence that
    Kennedy cares about those people; and even if she does, is there
    any evidence that she can be an effective advocate for them?”
    About as much evidence as there was for Hillary the first time she
    ran. Of course, she did run, at least, I’ll give you that. But she flew
    over the heads of others, such as Nita Lowey, simply on the basis
    of her name and having married well.
    Americans love the IDEA of fairness, but how much of American
    politics could be called “fair” in all honesty? I think you’re still
    nursing your most primary depression, Wig.

    Reply

  15. WigWag says:

    The new Democratic President hasn’t even taken office yet and the Democrats are already in the process of unraveling and humiliating themselves. Why shouldn’t Caroline Kennedy become a Senator? Why should the fact that she’s accomplished nothing of public note disqualify her? After all, we’ve just elected a President barely more qualified than she is. What’s the difference in experience between Barack Obama and Caroline Kennedy? Well Obama spent a few years in the sleazy Illinois legislature and about 180 days in the United States Senate. Other than that their experience is identical or to put in another way, nonexistent.
    You could tell that the Democrats longed for Camelot (the one brought to us by the English aristocracy not John Kennedy) by watching their behavior at their Convention this past August. First they appointed James Roosevelt (whose only claim to fame is being his grandfather’s grandson) as head of the DNC Rules and Credentials Committee. It’s funny that he ran a Committee involved with credentials; it makes you wonder just what his credentials were to get that job. Then, as Steve Clemons shared with us at the Washington Note, we had Susan Eisenhower endorsing Barack Obama. No one would care a bit about who she planned to vote for if her last name wasn’t Eisenhower. At the Convention itself, Hillary and Bill made sure that Chelsea made an appearance in prime time to introduce her mother. Caroline Kennedy’s presence was ubiquitous and not to be out done, Ted Kennedy left his sick bed just so he could receive the adulation of the collected masses of Democrats; it must have been like medicine to him. And when Obama’s two young daughters made their appearance it was impossible not to wonder which Senate seat they aspired to be appointed to. Or perhaps they’re too young to have those aspirations; it might take one or two civics classes at Sidely Friends School before they set their sights on a political career. The only spawn missing from the festivities in Denver was Amy Carter. But I guess it’s not reasonable to think she would get a prominent roll. After all, the Obama Campaign was so embarrassed by her father that they wouldn’t even let him speak (and he is one of only two living Democratic ex presidents).
    Of course, if Caroline Kennedy is appointed she can befriend that other great legacy case, Jeb Bush who is sure to be elected as a Senator from Florida if he runs for the seat of the retiring Mel Martinez. But at least Bush can claim to have some political experience. After all, he was the Governor of the fourth most populous state for eight years.
    And if New Yorkers are going to be stuck with an appointed Senator who gets the job because of her last name instead of her qualifications, why can’t they at least get Andrew Cuomo, who in addition to having a famous father, spent 4 years as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and 2 years as New York State Attorney General? And Cuomo is almost a Kennedy; he’s married and divorced from Caroline’s cousin. For those who don’t know it; Caroline’s cousin, (following the tradition of infidelity she must have learned from Caroline’s father) divorced Andrew a few years ago so she could marry one of Andrew’s oldest and closest friends.
    While Steve Clemons may be focused on Kennedy’s position on Cuba and Palestine (without saying a word, her position on Israel/Palestine is already clear; if she wants the seat there is only one position she can take) my guess is that people in Syracuse and Rochester and Buffalo have other priorities like the fact that upstate New York is suffering from an economic cataclysm. Hillary Clinton worked her heart out for upstate New York and they loved her for it. She regularly outpolled Republicans in the most Republican part of the State. Is there any evidence that Kennedy cares about those people; and even if she does, is there any evidence that she can be an effective advocate for them?
    Caroline Kennedy is a member of the lucky sperm club; no more, no less. The idea that she can have a Senate seat handed to her is preposterous. But it’s perfectly in keeping with the celebrity driven culture that dominates American politics today. It’s the American Idol version of politics. Sometimes a hot new star like Barack Obama explodes on the scene and sometimes a retread like Caroline Kennedy magically appears out of nowhere to restore the family name.
    Either way, it’s degenerate and disgusting.

    Reply

  16. Linda says:

    Kate,
    You probably should take a look at Caroline Kennedy’s bio on wiki. She’s hardly been a dilettante–written two well-reviewed books, raised a family, surely knows what is required to run for elected office, and has used her wealth and name to promote good causes.
    I’m not sure if we should have family dynasties, but Hillary Clinton ran for Senate in NYC while still first lady having established residency in NYC by buying a house there while her main residence was still 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
    Indeed JFK appointed his brother, RFK, Attorney General, highly unusual that some considered nepotism. RFK stayed on as AG for LBJ in 1963, but in 1964 ran for Senate from NYC. He only established residence in NY to run for Senate.
    So both RFK and Hillary could be considered carpetbaggers, and that was used against them in their Senate races.
    Caroline Kennedy has resided in NYC continuously since her mother moved the family there in 1964.
    So at the very least, she is a New Yorker.

    Reply

  17. rich says:

    section9 @ 10:53AM
    ” . . there’s a general rule in the MSM . . : when Democrats do it, it’s okay.”
    Ah, like when Jack Abramoff’s fraud, ‘lobbying’ and bribery added to Tom DeLay’s iron-fisted machine and riddled the Republican Party with open and unchecked corruption?
    Duke Cunningham, Tom Feeney, John Doolittle, Jerry Lewis, Ted Stevens, Don Young, Tom DeLay?
    The MSM refused to utter the words ‘Republican’ and ‘corruption’ in the same sentence. Even ace reporter Jim Lehrer and Judy Woodruff ran around the barn a dozen times to avoid using both those words. Instead, repeated statements that Abramoff’s briber was “a common lobbying practice”—and that “Democrats do it too.” Yet the news story at hand was—wait for it—Republican corruption.
    Rod Blagojevich is small potatoes next to Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff, who openly organized pay for play and defied anybody to do anything about it.
    The MSM is incredibly reluctant to explicitly call Republican corruption by its name.

    Reply

  18. Kate in Michigan says:

    For the record, I consider myself a Democrat and a democrat. I have nothing against Caroline Kennedy; she appears to be an intelligent woman who has pretty much avoided the limelight and devoted herself to raising her kids and some charitable projects. But — a United States Senator?
    Has she ever had a real job before? Has she ever run for any political office (school board, precinct captain, dog catcher), formulated policy, actually practiced law? Isn’t she a dilettante (sp?), just waltzing in and taking a plum political spot without really knowing anything about the job or the hard work it requires to become a senator, much less the hard work it takes to be an effective senator? Like her or loathe her, Hillary Clinton had a history of real work and policy formulation, and she actually ran for the senate seat and was elected. Twice.
    Ultimately, the choice will be for Governor Patterson and the people of New York to make. But if Caroline’s name was Smith or Jones no one would give her a second look. The whole idea is ridiculous.

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  19. Taylor Marsh says:

    This is a good post, Steve, but your headline does it a huge disservice. As you so aptly compare, Palin v. Kennedy is no equivalent at all, famous name or no.
    The “aristocracy” claim is particularly absurd, though many on our side are quick to use it. After all, it’s not Caroline Kennedy (Schlossberg) has been sitting around spending the people’s money like Josephine, which is what any relationship to “aristocracy” implies.
    As a studied expert on JFK, he was indeed a “hawk” as you say. If chosen, CKS will have to make her own way and your questions are obviously the right ones, which I don’t need to tell you.
    Our founders were rich landowners not having a clue how to construct a democratic republic. Hey, but they did okay. CKS should not be excluded because of birth name, particularly considering that most of the Kennedys have given their lives to public service when they certainly had other choices. Hardly aristocratic in deeds.

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  20. section9 says:

    First off, Steve, there’s a general rule in the MSM that you are an
    honorable exception to: when Democrats do it, it’s okay.
    Trust me, Kennedy will get the seat and there will be very, very few
    substantive questions as to her qualifications for that seat on the
    part of the Propaganda Apparatus that is the Mainstream Media.
    Quite unlike Sarah Palin, I might add.

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  21. dwg says:

    Steve:
    “But can Caroline Kennedy publicly support a process that leads to a viable Palestinian state and explain to her constituents why? Can she embrace that ending America’s anachronistic Cold War with Cuba is low hanging fruit on America’s roster of foreign policy opportunities and that more enlightened policy there can create a positive echo effect elsewhere? Can she make informed decisions on whether American force should be deployed to achieve policy objectives — and can she also stand up to the President, someone of her own party, and work to deny the White House of war-making authority when a conflict is undermining the interests of the country?”
    Ummmmm wasn’t this the job we expected (and expect) Hillary CLINTON to do? And she failed at mmost of it? (I’m still waiting and have SERIOUS doubts about Clinton’s ability vis a vis Palestine) No one seemed to have any problem electing Clinton – whose vast experience included being MARRIED to the president) to the job as a carpetbagger to NY. At least Kennedy passed her bar exam (New York, one of the harder ones) on the first go round, while Hillary failed (the easier) DC Bar exam! Kennedy is a constitutional scholar at least and knows a thing or two about checking the power of a unitary president. Something the current congress has failed to do time after time. Not to mention that in addition to being the daughter of JFK(perhaps more importantly) she is also the daughter of Jackie Kennedy Onassis – perhaps the finest, most intelligent, well educated and popular “people’s” representative Americans have EVER sent abroad. If we need “star power” at State, why not New York senate seat?
    Finally, Kennedy-Schlossberg is at least a long-time resident of NY. HRC was a resident for what? Ten minutes prior to “representing” NY? C’mon!
    Bring on Caroline!
    Why judge her on her name – for good or for ill? Lets look at her real merits – at least as good if not better than HRC in that seat.

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  22. JohnH says:

    “How can we repeatedly assume that someone of unfathomable wealth and privilege will experience the kind of empathy required to faithfully represent the masses.” (POA)
    Exactly! We’d be better off selecting Senators by lottery, like juries. At least then we’d have people with real world experience not tainted by wealth and privilege nor beholden to the oligarchs and American-born agents of foreign governments. Let’s face it, random selection of Senators couldn’t be worse than the Senate we’ve got now.

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  23. alan says:

    Katty Kay of the BBC and others from across the Pond are often bemused by our desire to create a political royalty. We crow a lot about merit, but in the end Senate seats go to THE FAMILY. And the Kennedys are a FAMILY. Lots of recent Senate seats have gone to wife, daughter etc: useful warming pans. I am keeping an eye on Biden’s seat: will Beau get it when he returns from Iraq?

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  24. PissedOffAmerican says:

    How can we repeatedly assume that someone of unfathomable wealth and privilege will experience the kind of empathy required to faithfully represent the interests of the masses?
    Have we learned NOTHING? Look around. Read a paper. Surf the net. How have these elitist dynasties served us thus far?

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  25. Perry says:

    Appointing Kennedy would be a slap in the face to the many people who supported Hillary Clinton for President. If she were just a Kennedy and didn’t have the baggage of this ugly primary her appointment wouldn’t mean anything beyond her Kennedy legacy. Today, appointing her would be telling the strong Hillary supporters that they are unwelcome in the party. It would extend the humiliation of Ted Kennedy’s refusal to permit Hillary Clinton to work on health care issues. Hillary Clinton was elected to her senate position. Appointing Caroline Kennedy will be viewed as a political maneuver that will undermine Obama’s choice of Clinton for SOS. This goes beyond the issue of Kennedy’s qualifications. When politics becomes solely a matter of someone’s ability to do a job, these sorts of musings about qualifications will make sense.

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  26. susan says:

    Steve, I too have mixed feelings on the idea of appointing her-but
    that’s what it is-an appointment. it’s a throwback to the days when
    a legislator died in office an the gov would appointment they guy’s
    widow to take the seat. I think this happened when Sonny Bono
    died, but I remember it for Leo Ryan, who was killed in Guyana.
    Personally, my first thought for a celebrity female candidate for the
    seat was Chelsea Clinton. (only half joking).

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  27. mike/ says:

    interesting that as i’m reading this Scarborough’s show is
    having a conversation with Katty Kay, BBC’s Washington
    correspondent, about this very thing. here initial comment was
    something along the lines of “I thought you got rid of us for
    this very reason, but you replaced one George for another
    George. and now you’re doing it again.”
    i’m not sure if our “political aristocracy” fetish is because of the
    power and enticement of these families or the U.S. people who
    are enamored with the idea of “nobles” or our own idiocy.
    probably the latter. we harken to the past and don’t look to the
    present and future. the fictional Camelot of Arthur and the
    semi-real Camelot of JFK are long past in our mythology. we
    forget to look at the reality of some of the disasters of the U.S.
    Camelot – Viet Nam, Bay of Pigs, etc. – and yearn for a time
    that has become romanticized in our memories.
    as Robin Williams said in one of his best monologues: REALITY!
    WHAT A CONCEPT.

    Reply

  28. jhm says:

    If she will stand up to Hon. Sen. Schumer’s Wall St. pandering, I’m
    for her, perhaps being appointed to the seat is the only way to get
    someone in there who will do so (not that this gives her any
    unique advantages in this regard, plenty of others would be as
    good or better)

    Reply

  29. Spunkmeyer says:

    Ben, Blagojevich was elected by the voters of IL to the Governorship
    and Congress. He may be a douchebag, but he’s an elected one.
    The voters got who they voted for.

    Reply

  30. DonS says:

    “. . . selecting celebrity family members from political dynasties feels undemocratic.”
    This is an aspect that bothers me, as much as appointing someone for a political payoff. The dynasty factor just kicks it up a notch.
    From another pov, it’s almost because she is “litle Caroline” that she needs to show her independent mettle in the public sphere as a requisite to office, or have others forever writing the script. But maybe the “rulers” want another compliant figurehead?

    Reply

  31. Ben, UK says:

    Counterpoint; http://narcosphere.narconews.com/thefield/caroline-kennedys-campaign-blogospheres-christmas-pony
    Not that I agree with it necessarily, but as heredity goes you could do a lot worse.
    Where’s the outcry when a complete tool like Blagojevich gets elected?

    Reply

  32. Spunkmeyer says:

    The lack of even a single elected office is very troubling. Were her
    last name not Kennedy, this blog entry would have never been
    written.

    Reply

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