Discomfort with Potential Caroline Kennedy Senate Appointment

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— Steve Clemons

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26 comments on “Discomfort with Potential Caroline Kennedy Senate Appointment

  1. gdh says:

    what a pig……………..

    Reply

  2. dorothy stracher says:

    It is not acceptable to have Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg named Senator in NY State. She is a nice lady, has enormous sums of money but does NOT have the background, toughness or commitment to union people to be the candidate. Further, people in NY State LOVE Hillary. Caroline Kennedy went out of her way NOT to support Hillary. Instead, she supported Obama. She HAS NOT even voted every time she was expected to go to the polls. This from someone who claims that she “knows” constitutional law; presumably, because she “knows it” she doesn’t have to live it.”
    NO NO NO to Caroline Kennedy. Let her go back to the millionaires with whom she circulates and all the parties that place her in the NY Times social section.
    We in NEW YORK STATE believe in participatory democracy –NO CAROLINE KENNEDY!!!!
    Dr Dorothy Stracher

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  3. dorothy stracher says:

    It is not acceptable to have Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg named Senator in NY State. She is a nice lady, has enormous sums of money but does NOT have the background, toughness or commitment to union people to be the candidate. Further, people in NY State LOVE Hillary. Caroline Kennedy went out of her way NOT to support Hillary. Instead, she supported Obama. She HAS NOT even voted every time she was expected to go to the polls. This from someone who claims that she “knows” constitutional law; presumably, because she “knows it” she doesn’t have to live it.”
    NO NO NO to Caroline Kennedy. Let her go back to the millionaires with whom she circulates and all the parties that place her in the NY Times social section.
    We in NEW YORK STATE believe in participatory democracy –NO CAROLINE KENNEDY!!!!
    Dr Dorothy Stracher

    Reply

  4. WigWag says:

    Steve Clemons asked in his initial post on Caroline Kennedy, “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?”
    Well Steve, Caroline Kennedy or more likely one of her myriad of political operatives, has provided written answers to a number of questions posed to her by Politico. I particularly call your attention to her answer to question #8.
    QUESTION 1: Will you commit to supporting your party’s nominee for mayor against Michael Bloomberg in 2009? Did you back the mayor’s efforts to suspend term limits?
    ANSWER: Declined comment.
    QUESTION 2: Same-sex marriage. Do you support the right of gay and lesbian couples to marry? Do you think it’s appropriate that Rick Warren, who campaigned to ban gay marriage, is delivering the invocation at Obama’s inauguration? If not, have you expressed that to the president-elect?
    ANSWER: “Caroline supports full equality and marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples.”
    QUESTION 3: Do you think Senator Schumer made a mistake when he successfully pushed to have the Glass-Steagall Act repealed, breaking down barriers between securities firms and banks? What priorities would you set for restructuring New York’s financial services industry? And which of the current financial regulatory plans would you support?
    ANSWER: “At this time, Caroline does not have a specific plan to fix New York’s financial services industry. But, if selected, she will work with President Elect Obama, Sen. Chuck Schumer and Sen. Chris Dodd to pass laws that protect investors and working families across New York and the country.”
    QUESTION 4: Governor Paterson has promised to deal with New York’s deficit by cutting services and other spending, and promised not to impose any income tax increases, even on the wealthy. Do you think he was right to rule out a tax hike?
    ANSWER: “Based on what she’s read about the budget released a few days ago, Caroline believes that Governor Paterson’s budget appropriately includes both revenue increases and budget cuts while still protecting the most vulnerable. On the issue of where to cut or what revenue to increase, she leaves that up to the governor and the legislature. Governor Paterson was one of the first elected officials in the nation to sound the alarm about our fiscal crisis and he has led the charge to get Washington to give aid to the New York because we have been hit so hard by the financial meltdown.”
    QUESTION 5: Did you support or oppose the war at the time of the Oct. 2002 resolution authorizing the use of force? Is there any way to document your stance? Did you say anything public, or participate in any anti-war demonstrations? And, do you now think that 16 months is a reasonable timeline for getting American combat troops out of Iraq?
    ANSWER: “Caroline opposed the war in Iraq from the beginning. She supports President-Elect Obama’s plan to work with our military leaders to begin a responsible withdrawal.”
    QUESTION 6: Did you support or oppose the lawsuit charging that Albany shortchanges New York City on school aid? Do you support the use of local, state and federal money for charter schools? Do you think teachers at charter schools should be unionized like public school teachers?
    ANSWER: “Caroline did not take a public position at the time on CFE, but supports fair funding for New York City schools. She supports charter schools, using government money for charters and the right of teachers to organize at charters if they choose.”
    QUESTION 7: Do you support the auto bailout President Bush announced by Friday?
    ANSWER: “Yes, Caroline supports the auto industry bailout package passed by the House of Representatives earlier this month and welcomes the president’s actions yesterday to use TARP funds.”
    QUESTION 8: Do you think Israel should negotiate with Hamas? Do you agree with Israel’s Gaza Strip embargo? Would you support an Israeli airstrike on Iran if they felt Tehran’s nuclear program represented a threat to their survival?
    ANSWER: “Caroline Kennedy strongly supports a safe and secure Israel. She believe Israel’s security decisions should be left to Israel.”

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  5. WigWag says:

    Dan Kervick says, “What I objected to is the line that has been pushed that in addition to this particular concern about nepotism, in this particular case, a further concern is that the United States suffers from some larger problem of a broad systematic affliction with political dynasties, or a national “obsession” with such dynasties. I just don’t see it.”
    No problem with political dynasties in this country? Let’s examine the situation in New York. We have Governor David Paterson, the son of a former Deputy Mayor of New York City and a former State Senator (David Paterson went on to inherit his father’s seat)deciding whether to appoint Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of the 35th President of the United Sates or Andrew Cuomo, the son of the 52nd Governor of New York.
    Looks like a problem to me.

    Reply

  6. Sweetness says:

    I think Beth in Va is on to something. It is interesting to see how
    people who are accomplished in an arena often spawn similarly
    accomplished practitioners of the same art–in the arts, sports,
    and, I guess, in government. Not a genetic, but a matter of
    being around master practitioners. Most people don’t go into
    politics because they don’t understand the process of running
    and can’t “see” themselves doing it. Caroline can, most
    definitely.
    Just because Caroline hasn’t been in politics herself, she has
    been AROUND politics all her life and has probably absorbed
    more than one might think. She’s also absorbed the ethic of
    “noblesse oblige” which has been a governing principle for many
    wealthy people to go into politics, e.g., Roosevelts.
    And Caroline will be chosen for this spot for the same reason
    Hillary was “chosen” to run in NY the first time. Celebrity status.
    The normally perspicacious Wig is blind to this point for some
    reason. i think he’s still licking his election wounds.

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  7. tuma says:

    “There wouldn’t be any talk of privilege if it was Michael Bloomburg
    being talked about as an appointed New York Senator, would there?
    Of course not.”
    No, because Bloomberg has experience, credentials, qualifications,
    built a media empire and got elected on his own steam–at least
    as much as anyone does who has a bunch of money.

    Reply

  8. Beth in VA says:

    Somehow I think that if you looked at Bowling Alley ownership, one could find the same nepotistic trees. Isn’t there something to the saying that it’s “the family business”?
    But you know, I always felt like it’s not fair that so many actors get into movies because of family!
    I’ve always liked Caroline Kennedy, but mostly because she’s not been in the trenches of politics. I’m kinda torn, but I really don’t get all worked up over this.
    Steve, you’re great on the teevee by the way! I hope to see you more. You have a great relaxed presence. Confident, but not egotistical. Well done!

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  9. WigWag says:

    Here’s a question some enterprising reporter could ask Caroline Kennedy (assuming she ever condescends to speak to reporters):
    “Do you think that President-Elect Obama suborned bigotry by asking Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration?”

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  10. elpaso says:

    How is it that the bloggers above who cry “Nepotism” say nothing about the bushies or the wife of an ex-Presidnet becoming a US Senator? Bah Humbug!

    Reply

  11. Jack says:

    While I love Rachael, I would like to remind her that political families in this country started with our second president, when his son was elected as our 6th president. And, John Quincy Adams seems to have been regarded by history as a good leader. So, this is not a new phenomenon.
    That stated, I find it interesting that most of the uproar around this comes not from the people of New York, who seem to favor Kennedy and Cuomo, but both the MSM and the bloggers. The media are like the folks that watch someone on a ledge and yell “jump”, and I understand that his is their nature these days. What I find curious is how bloggers, outside of NY, are upset over this while New Yorkers seem to like the idea. Curious.

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  12. benjamin says:

    While these appointments may rub a lot of people the wrong way, they cannot be considered nepotism. “Nepotism” is favoritism bestowed on relatives by a person in power. If Ted Kennedy were the governor of NY and wanted to appoint his niece, we could quite literally speak of nepotism, but we certainly cannot in this case. Nor can we speak of potential nepotism in the case of Beau Biden. Should he win a Senate seat during the next election cycle, he will join the Senate because the people of Delaware put him there.

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  13. Lori Duenhoft says:

    Wig Wag has it right. The media is fueling her getting the seat also…Julie Chen on the morning show said come on people leave her alone she would make a good Senator. I have to turn off the talking heads because they have their heads so far up the Democratic parties backside it seems like they are eating fudge brownies every day.

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  14. arthurdecco says:

    “But I probably should be happy if Governor Paterson selects Caroline Kennedy. After all, things could always be worse. The Governor could have taken his cue from Obama and selected Rick Warren.” WigWag
    I wonder if the fact that the Governor hasn’t done what he’s certainly been told to do is coloring the conversation whirling around the possible appointment of Caroline Kennedy to the Senate…the incessant bleating in the MSM about privilege and blah, blah, blah…
    There wouldn’t be any talk of privilege if it was Michael Bloomburg being talked about as an appointed New York Senator, would there?
    Of course not.

    Reply

  15. WigWag says:

    Somehow the thought of Caroline Kennedy leaving her Park Avenue apartment to traipse around looking for votes in Western New York puts me in mind of the Eva Gabor character in the 1960s sit-com “Green Acres.”
    But I probably should be happy if Governor Paterson selects Caroline Kennedy. After all, things could always be worse. The Governor could have taken his cue from Obama and selected Rick Warren.

    Reply

  16. Linda says:

    First of all, it’s not nepotism unless Governor Paterson appoints a relative. It was nepotism for JFK to appoint RFK as attorney general. There is nothing democratic or not about a Governor exercising his right under the law to make an interim appointment.
    The voters in NY will have a chance in 2010 to vote to fill the remaining two years of the Senate term. Whoever is appointed then can choose to run or not, and the voters will decide.
    And it really should only be of concern to people who live in NY. Paterson will appoint a Democrat, and it won’t change the number of Demcrats in the Senate.
    So I don’t understand what all the fuss is.

    Reply

  17. questions says:

    Paul,
    It’s not a matter of “relating to a candidate like….” in fact, we can’t at all relate to political dynasties. The Kennedy family is populated by thrill-seeking, moneyed, privileged, elites whose entire family life is utterly unlike that of most voters. So it’s not about relating. It’s more about refusing to think about policy issues, personality issues, and the candidate’s ability to forge relationships that lead to successful governing Senate-style. It’s tough to parse out who or what makes a good senator because working in the Senate has a lot less to do with policy positions and a lot more to do with gaming the rules, forging mutual satisfaction moments, setting up amendments in strategic ways and so on. Not the stuff of starry-eyed liberalism nor the stuff of ideological conservatism. But who wants to try to figure out if a candidate REALLY can do these things? Far easier to make the judgment based on familiarity. So you’ve heard the name “Kennedy?” Vote for the “Kennedy”. Remember, the first name on the ballot gets bonus votes just for being first.

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  18. Paul Norheim says:

    It’s just not a very big deal in this country. It’s not like our
    sprawling federal, state and local governments are packed with
    Kennedys, Bushes and Clintons. We are talking about a small
    handful of individuals among thousands. (Dan Kervick)
    If you forget about senators, congress members and governors
    for a moment, members from those families were US presidents
    during 23 of the last 50 years – almost 50% of the time.
    Robert and Ted K. were likely candidates for that office as well,
    just like Hillary – and if George W hadn`t screwed up, his
    brother Jeb would have been a likely future candidate as well. So
    at least to me it seems like these dynasties play a rather
    significant role in US politics.
    Even little Norway, proud of it`s egalitarian mentality, has a
    couple of political dynasties like that. But I tend to believe that
    this tendency is inevitable, not only in places like North Korea,
    Jordan or Syria, but also in big democratic entities like America
    and India. The majority of the populations can relate to a
    Kennedy, a Gandhi, or a Bhutto.

    Reply

  19. Dan Kervick says:

    I agree that nepotism is undemocratic. And although I don’t think anyone can say that the case for Kennedy consists “solely” in who her father is, her resume does appear a bit thin by senatorial standards. Those both see to me to be fine reasons for opposing Kennedy. I’ll leave that judgment to New Yorkers.
    What I objected to is the line that has been pushed that in addition to this particular concern about nepotism, in this particular case, a further concern is that the United States suffers from some larger problem of a broad systematic affliction with political dynasties, or a national “obsession” with such dynasties. I just don’t see it. Nor do I see any evidence that American politics is involved with political dynasties to a level that invites comparison with North Korea and Syria.
    It’s a bad thing when a mayor awards a construction contract to his ne’er-do-well brother in law. That sort of thing happens from time to time, and when it occurs it should be contested and decried. And if one thinks that is something like what is happening here in the Caroline Kennedy case, then one should object to her appointment. But I don’t think these cases should be blown up into a grave concern about our horrible national affliction with and obsession with lazy brothers-in-law.

    Reply

  20. questions says:

    Paterson is an elected official. If he screws up an appointment like this, he runs the risk of losing re-election. Check and balance.
    “Kennedy” functions as a short cut for voters, the same way “Kelloggs” or “KFC” does. Short cuts make decision-making less burdensome and in general, deal with cognitive shortfalls.
    Put these two points together, and appointing Caroline Kennedy isn’t particularly anti-democratic. She’s a shortcut that makes it easier for New Yorkers to cope, and she’s one step removed from direct democracy (via Paterson). She may or may not have all of the qualifications necessary for the office. But it’s not like elections get us universally great people either.
    In short, maybe we could find something else to worry about.
    Besides, if Clinton isn’t confirmed, she’ll still have her Senate seat for herself.

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  21. WigWag says:

    “Surely there are more substantive grounds for either supporting or opposing Kennedy’s appointment.”
    The substantive reason is that it is anti-democratic (but apparently pro-Democratic) to select a United States Senator solely because of who her father was.
    That’s what they do in places like North Korea and Syria. It’s not what we should be doing in the United States.
    It’s elitist and it’s degenerate. And by the way, it’s what the enlightenment, the American Revolution and the French Revolution were all about.

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  22. WharfRat says:

    Dan Kervick speaks some here. Why single out one rich person among the 50 sitting Senators and accuse her of being peculiarly indicative of a problem with “aristocracies?” For crying out loud, they aren’t kidding when they call the Senate the millionaires club. Give this one a rest.
    The real opposition to the Kennedy appointment probably has more to do with the fact that the Kennedy machine doesn’t need the same power brokers that had someone else in mind for that seat. Conveniently tie it to an intellectually vapid, baseless “American obsession with dynasties” media-friendly storyline, whisper that storyline in the right ears, media appearances follow, voila, opinion gels.
    …and everyone’s much dumber for it.

    Reply

  23. Dan Kervick says:

    Look I think there are certainly very good reasons to be skeptical of the prospect of Caroline Kennedy as a US Senator. But the “dynasty” issue strikes me as among the very least important.
    The idea that America is peculiarly obsessed with dynasties, or run by them, seems crazy to me. Every country, democratic and non-democratic alike, has prominent and celebrated political families. It’s just not a very big deal in this country. It’s not like our sprawling federal, state and local governments are packed with Kennedys, Bushes and Clintons. We are talking about a small handful of individuals among thousands.
    Surely there are more substantive grounds for either supporting or opposing Kennedy’s appointment.

    Reply

  24. WigWag says:

    So, let’s think. Which other countries are as obsessed with political dynasties as we are?
    Well, there’s Syria where Bashar al-Assad followed his father Hafez al-Asad into power. And there’s North Korea where the “Dear Leader” Kim Jong-il followed his father Kim ll-sung.
    Then of course there’s India. The Democratic Party in the United States resembles India’s Congress Party more and more every day and the Kennedy family resembles no family more than Jawaharlal Nehru’s family. His daughter Indira Gandhi and her progeny Rajiv and Sanjay controlled the Congress Party for its entire existence and in another weird coincidence, they also have been subjected repeatedly to political assassinations (Indira and Rajiv). Like John Kennedy Jr., Sanjay Gandhi was killed in a plane that he, himself, was piloting. Indira’s daughter-in-law, Sonia Gandhi, the wife of the late Rajiv, is the current head of India’s Congress Party and she wasn’t even born in India; she’s Italian by birth.
    Or maybe a Kennedy appointment to the New York Senate seat would make our country more like Pakistan than like India. Pakistan’s People’s Party was founded by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who eventually became the Pakistani Prime Minister before he was sentenced to death by a military coup. And of course, his daughter Benazir Bhutto also served twice as prime minister before she was assassinated.
    Do we admire the political systems of these countries? Do we really want to emulate them?

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