Obama and Ted Kennedy See Plans Foiled as Caroline Withdraws?

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ted caroline obama.jpg
At noon today EST, New York Governor Dennis Paterson will announce that Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand will succeed Hillary Clinton’s recently vacated U.S. Senate seat. But until forty-eight hours ago, most still had their money on Caroline Kennedy, daughter of America’s most iconic modern president, getting the nod.
Kennedy withdrew her name from consideration for “personal reasons.” Now that she has removed herself from the race, one can hope that the media and other gawkers will leave her personal matters alone and move on. If she was in the game to get the Senate seat, her entire life was fair game — but now that she has stepped back, I believe she has rights of privacy that should endure.
But the question that is legitimate and remains is what machinations drove Kennedy to reach for this Senate seat. What was she thinking — and how did this fit into the game plans of two of America’s biggest political kingpins, Barack Obama and the ailing Ted Kennedy? And did she end up getting derailed by the Clinton machine?
Caroline Kennedy’s flirtation with this appointment animated deep tensions in American politics over the question of political aristocracy and dynasties. Names like Gore, Dole, Clinton, Bush, Salazar, Udall, Cuomo, Kennedy frequently appear in American politics because of brothers, fathers and sons, nephews and spouses building out the family political machine. It’s useful to remember many decades ago, that actress and feminist provocateur Tallulah Bankhead’s father, for instance, was Speaker of the House of Representatives and her nephew and grandfather both U.S. Senators. And thus while family dynasties have always been a part of the American political scene, throwing aristocracy in the face of voters reeks of the kind of nobility that Americans ‘thought’ they threw off in the American Revolution.
Kennedy, loved by so many because of her own good deeds for schools and social causes but also because of just being the daughter of JFK and Jackie, came close to ruining her own personal brand by appearing hungry for political appointment. Of course, she is a Kennedy — and the Kennedy’s are known for their pursuit of power — but Caroline was supposed to be different. Her own brand seemed more pure than her family brand. So this raises the question of why she threw her hat in the ring.
Most writers limited their attention to the surface explanation she provided when she announced her interest in the Senate appointment. Kennedy said that her work for the Obama campaign stirred in her a desire to do more — and doing more for the public was what the Kennedy family operation had always, in her words, committed itself to. She said that she was ready in this phase of her life to move to a new career and that she was comfortable moving out of the shadows and into the public spotlight — though this was difficult to tell in her tightly scripted early press events in New York that couldn’t help but remind of the over-handled, over-scripted roll out of Sarah Palin.
But other machinations may have been at play as well.
Barack Obama, who admits to a close personal friendship with Caroline Kennedy after their work together on his campaign, is probably the best political ‘mergers and acquisitions’ guy in the business. The story of Obama is not just that his unique brand, background and DNA charmed the nation achieving a landmark political victory. Obama has the preternatural ability to acquire political franchises and morph them together, changing their character and leadership and making them his own. Obama started with the Daley franchise in Chicago and then built into that the Daschle franchise, followed by the Kennedy franchise, and is now working very hard to absorb the Clinton political machine which is larger and more potentially dangerous to Obama than any of the others.
Obama has Rahm Emanuel, Valerie Jarrett and David Axelrod managing the Chicago wing for him — and then hired many of Tom Daschle’s key people including Pete Rouse and Denis McDonough. Daschle himself is in the picture though his office is in the basement of the White House and while close to Oval office power may prefer to be closer. There is a saying that “those who supported Obama got a President and those who supported Hillary got a job” — as many of her loyal followers are popping up with key positions throughout the government while many of those who helped Obama from the beginning of his candidacy are still in the cold. And then there is Kennedy — and that big family brand that connects with so many in the country, particularly in labor union America. Ted Kennedy will soon die — and Obama (and many other of the Kennedys) want to see Caroline in the political game in a high profile way to provide leadership for the tens of thousands of capable political hands that Kennedy’s machine has produced to be loyal both to her stewardship of the family operation and then loyal to Obama.
Some of Ted Kennedy’s loyal retainers have conveyed to me privately that the Senator — who became the responsible flag-bearer for the Kennedy clan after both John F. and Robert Kennedy’s assassinations — believed that Caroline needed to stand up and play the role he had given his deteriorating health. But the plan Ted “may have had”, they say, had little to do with the New York Senate seat. It had to do with succeeding Obama in 2016.
The game plan — whether real or fantasy — is intriguing. It goes something like this. Caroline Kennedy would be appointed now to the Senate. She would perform well above the very low expectations many had for her and win handily the seat in the 2010 mid-term race in which that Senate seat needs to be contested again. She would then be in place until 2016. Ted Kennedy’s view “may be” that Caroline would instantly out-shine Hillary Clinton in the eyes of New York voters and in the American political scene and that in 2016, Caroline Kennedy would be 59 while Hillary Clinton would be 69.
I have no idea whether Ted Kennedy owned this narrative. All I know is that his friends and many key pillars of Kennedy Land believed that something along these lines is what animated Ted’s highly strategic approach to Caroline’s political future.
Now, Caroline Kennedy is out of the running for this particularly political contest — but she may be back.
I have advocated that the Obama team offer her a high profile and distinguished Ambassadorship. Perhaps to London where her grandfather, Joseph Kennedy, once served — or perhaps to France, which her mother loved so much. In such a spot, she’d have an opportunity to show she was more than a brand name and could contribute to the substantive interests and welfare of the United States. And then perhaps run in an election for something big — and perhaps even win. We will always have political aristocrats in America, but the barrier that should always be imposed for those who are inheritors of political fortune is that they actually be elected — not appointed — to the nation’s highest offices.
Caroline Kennedy may yet be a factor in American politics. Obama would love it for his own reasons — and so would the powerful political franchise that Ted Kennedy helped build.
And while Hillary Clinton, the woman Caroline tried to succeed in the Senate, is now Secretary of State — it is clear that Obama still has some work to do to get the keys to the Bill/Hillary political franchise — and that this derailment of Caroline Kennedy removes for the time being a threat to Hillary’s longer term political interests.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

44 comments on “Obama and Ted Kennedy See Plans Foiled as Caroline Withdraws?

  1. DavidT says:

    Thanks Steve for your response. I appreciate it and marvel at your usual graciousness.

    Reply

  2. AnonymousinDC says:

    I’m only an anonymous lurker and occasional poster on Steve’s blog, but I wanted to comment that even though C. Kennedy was very much on Paterson’s list until the end even if he won’t admit it, Steve’s first post encouraging Obama to consider appointing her to an Ambassadorship was widely passed around the Obama top tier circuit and did more to undermine the enthusiasm for her and T. Kennedy’s US Senate hopes. Most saw Steve’s blog note as respectful and on target. I would expect that Caroline will get some appointment in the next year, like a foreign country or something like UNICEF. Clemons saw the handwriting on this and just put it out there and folks some time don’t like to be told the truth.

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  3. Steve Clemons says:

    DavidT — good post. I don’t draw the same lines most progressives do — and often engage those who would seem at odds with my views, particularly when they are helpful or with me on foreign policy — though not on domestic. I think that explains Grover for instance. I’m not anti-Caroline, for the record; I respect her — and have always written respectfully about her, but I don’t think she was right for the Senate seat on a lot of levels. On the quote regarding Obama, Hillary and jobs — I didn’t contradict myself…I reported what others said. Just fyi. Or I think I did anyway.
    Anyway — I understand and hear your frustration. That’s part of being engaged in a complex world with a complex blogger. We all don’t see these things the same way. All best, steve

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  4. DavidT says:

    I share some of the frustrations of this post as a few others do. This is in combination with a number of previous posts. This is because I believe Steve has so much to contribute on helping us understand foreign policy issues yet spends so much effort here on domestic politics, frequently making questionable conclusions.
    I don’t see how putting Hillary Clinton in as Secretary of State enables Obama to take over the “Clinton franchise”. Are Hillary’s most ardent supporters really now big Obama supporters? Did W gain the “Colin Powell” franchise (as Steve claimed elsewhere was part of Bush’s motivation) by placing him at the head of the State Department? As for the “Daschle political franchise”, yes he had some terrific staffers, but otherwise, what political franchise? When the Senate Democratic leader can’t even get reelected and has never run for national office (nor came close to) and is a Dakotan, he’s not likely to have much of a political franchise.
    Clemons even contradicts himself quite explicitly in this post. He points out that Obama’s long-time supporters got a president but not the jobs, questioning Obama’s loyalty to those supporters (who Clemons in so many previous posts had so many problems with — read his Obama “endorsement” and his reference not long before election day to the Obama people and the Muslim community). If Obama is not particularly loyal (which I think in many ways is an admirable and rare quality in a politician — we would have been rid of Rumsfeld and Gonzalez so much earlier if W hadn’t been so loyal) then why would he care so much about Caroline’s ascension to the presidency? What evidence does Clemons provide on this front? Are the Kennedy advisers privy to the inner recesses of Obama’s mind?
    Yeah, its natural for Kennedy to wish for another Kennedy to take on his mantle. But its frankly silly (and maybe its that well-known king-maker Kennedy confidant Bob Shrum who’s been spinning this yarn) to have much thought past 2010 about Caroline and the presidency given that she’s never even run for public office before, irrespective of what 3 or 300 Ted Kennedy advisers might contend.
    I also find myself frustrated on Steve’s loyalty to friends over the principles he advocates. If he wishes to focus on domestic politics, then where is the reference to Grover Norquist comparing corporate taxes to torture? If someone who was not a Clemons friend had said that and was as prominent a political player as Norquist, he’d be all over this. Furthermore, along the same lines, how come there are no references to the Biden stumbles — his wife saying that he could have had State or the vp. How about his Senate campaign collecting federal money after he was elected vice President? Not to mention his putting a placeholder to fill his seat so his son can take it when he returns from Iraq?
    I say these things as a fan of Steve’s and as a frustrated regular reader of this blog. Where are the thoughts and analysis of Obama’s new national security advisor? Liked the piece on Mitchell but how about a piece on how this administration will manage so many different voices on foreign policy? What are the implications of the Indians not being part of Holbrooke’s portfolio? And are the contentions that he’s made so many places that a staffing of former Clintonites in foreign policy (and elsewhere) really mean a continuation of a Clinton policy (see Jim Mann’s piece at the National Interest re: Cheney and Rumsfeld with W being Ford II)? What about Quaddafi’s editorial about a one-state solution in the New York Times?
    Again, I’m a fan but feel frustrated. While its of course up to Steve, I would so much rather he focus on his area of expertise, foreign policy, where he has so much more to offer (with the utmost respect).

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  5. Zathras says:

    I think it worth mentioning that if it weren’t for Rod Blagojevich, the U.S. Senate would have no African-American members.
    Look, I know Steve Clemons and most of his regular readers don’t spend too much time thinking about things like this; they are not that kind of liberal. But this is just not something we ought to be proud of. I understand that it would have been just as easy for Gov. Paterson to have appointed a bad black Senator as a bad white Senator. New York, though, is a really big state, and Paterson had a rare opportunity to find some African-American politician (or even someone who was not a politician) and elevate him or her to prominence. This could have influenced politics in New York and perhaps beyond in ways that the appointment of an upstate backbench House member won’t.
    It would have been easy, and would have been worthwhile. I’m not surprised that so many people are caught up in the personal drama of Caroline Kennedy’s interest in transitioning from New York society to politics, or the maneuverings of people with famous names like Clinton and Cuomo. It’s just striking that in this particular instance the assumption that Hillary Clinton’s replacement had to be white was so universal here, with the exception of perhaps the most conservative commenter who ever posts on this site.

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  6. WigWag says:

    My comments were by and large substantive. The sexist comments Obama made were real. His lack of experience was real. And I never commented about President Obama’s coffee drinking habits, I commented about the coffee drinking habits of some of his supporters.

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  7. Paul Norheim says:

    “When Gore was running against Bush, Dowd ridiculed his
    weight, his style of dress, his “sensitivity” and the causes he
    believed in (like global warming and other environmental
    issues). When Kerry ran against Bush she spent precious column
    space trying to convince her readers that Kerry was to
    effeminiate to be President. There are thousands of dead
    Americans and Iraqis because of opinion makers like Dowd.
    Whats so hard to get about that?” (Wigwag)
    Ok WigWag, since you mentioned this… We all agree that the
    comment section of TWN has far less impact on voters than the
    op ed columns of the New York Times. But have you forgotten
    how much space you spent here, trying to convince the readers
    of TWN that Obama lacked the required experience to be
    President? That he was a sexist?
    Do you remember the cafe latte drinking Obama? His eating
    habits? Have you completely forgotten your obsessive attempts,
    day after day, week after week, month after month, to character
    assassinate Obama when he and Biden ran against John McCain
    and Sarah Palin?
    People who live in glass houses…

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  8. WigWag says:

    And when Dowd does zing Obama even if I think a particular column was unfair, I won’t call Dowd “mentally ill” or “a bitch.”
    Dowd is mentally ill and she is a bitch; and it’s not just about Clinton; in fact, it’s more about Gore and Kerry.
    When Gore was running against Bush, Dowd ridiculed his weight, his style of dress, his “sensitivity” and the causes he believed in (like global warming and other environmental issues). When Kerry ran against Bush she spent precious column space trying to convince her readers that Kerry was to effeminiate to be President. There are thousands of dead Americans and Iraqis because of opinion makers like Dowd. Whats so hard to get about that?
    Linda, anyone who could write this is either mentally ill, a bitch or both:
    “Al Gore is so feminized and diversified and ecologically correct, he’s practically lactating.” (6/16/99)
    Anyone who could write this is either mentally ill, a bitch or both:
    “I have zero desire to see President Gore round the clock, putting comely interns to sleep with charts and lectures on gaseous reduction.” (10/19/00)
    I could go on and on but why don’t you just cruise over to the thread below on Dowd for more examples of her hate speech?
    Maureen Dowd either needs to be confined to a mental institution or kicked off the staff of the New York Times like her former friend Judy Miller.
    People like Dowd and Andrew Sullivan represent the worst in American journalism; in fact they’re not journalists, they’re anti-journalists and they are very destructive.

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  9. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Yes, Linda, Wigwag’s overzealous hamstringing of Obama due to Hillary’s loss is truly awe inspiring. Particularly in light of the fact that I see very little difference between what on Aoibama foreign policy looks like compared to what a Hillary foreign policy would undoubtedly look like. And with Hillary as SoS, Wigwag should be delighted that the Israelis can undoubtedly continue to saute Palestinian women and children in White Phosphorous with the blessings of our State Department.
    But equally as amusing as watching Wigwag pull Obama’s fingernails, is noting your silence as Obama repeatedly reveals himself little more than a posturing fake, still cow-towing to Israel, refusing to seek criminal indictments against the treasonous members of the Bush Administration, taking Bush’s side on the FISA issue, and spending 170 million dollars on an obscene display of vulgar national narcissism while middle and low income Americans are losing homes and jobs at a record pace.
    Hiring the expensive and over-lauded Interior Designer Michael Smith is the perfect exclamation mark to the conclusion that Obama is just one more fucking posturing Washington whore, who, if given an inch of power, will steal a mile’s worth, and if given a dime of taxpayer’s money, will spend a dollar.

    Reply

  10. Linda says:

    Wigwag,
    It is upsetting me to see you be so transparently showing your highly emotional attachment to the Clintons–just because it detracts from your often very intelligent and interesting comments here.
    I too am a lifelong Democrat, and we’ve been this route before, i.e.,we like having Democrats in office, but disagree that Clinton was a great President–fair to middling is where I place him.
    I consider both of them to have wasted a lot of their talents—always thought she should have left him in 1998 or never married him. So she squandered most of her adult life and career potential being Hillary Rodham, Mrs. Clinton.
    I totally agree that Bill Clinton was brilliant, but he wasn’t a mature grown-up and squandered his second term and his Presidency by just plain bad behavior—embarrassingly bad behavior and extremely poor judgment and impulse control. And then lying to everybody for half of 1998 rather than just coming clean and apologizing, i.e., acting like a grown-up. He should not have been impeached.
    We don’t have a king or prime minister–so there is only one First Family in this country, and that was very embarrassing time, especially if people had a 7 or 10 year old and had to censor the evening news that they might have on while preparing dinner. While I’m sure most who read and comment here believe in comprehensive age-appropriate sex education in schools and at home. But explaining oral sex to a 7 year old is not age appropriate.
    I was not popular with my liberal Democratic friends in 8/98 when I thought that Hillary should leave Bill and that Bill should resign and let Gore be President. That was and still is my opinion because I think that Gore then would have been elected in 2000.
    You obviously haven’t liked Dowd’s columns (and Dowd because you can’t seem to separate the person from her writing) since then because Dowd won her Pulitzer for her columns about the Monica Lewinsky affair. I tried to be subtle by just linking to that earlier in this thread.
    I fully expect Dowd to zing Obama, Biden, everybody as that’s what she does professionally and well in my opinion. I’m not now nor have I ever been in awe of Obama as you obviously are of the Clintons. I like that he’s no-drama and has a model First Family that could be the Huxtables.
    And when Dowd does zing Obama even if I think a particular column was unfair, I won’t call Dowd “mentally ill” or “a bitch.”
    I strongly disagree with you on this, but I don’t call you those things. And I’m probably ill-informed in your opinion because I never heard of Somerby because I don’t read any blogs except TWN.

    Reply

  11. PW says:

    I think Steve is pretty far off-base on this one. Robert M @ 1/23, 3:26 is closer to the mark.
    But I don’t look forward to having “Tracy Flick” in the Senate. She’ll be a Blue Dog — oh wait, that’s a Blue B…..

    Reply

  12. Paul Norheim says:

    Maureen Dowd:
    “So now we have an N.R.A. handmaiden in Bobby Kennedy’s old
    seat?”
    As if Gillibrand not only stole a seat that belonged to a Kennedy,
    but also was behind the assassination of her uncle. Clever.

    Reply

  13. WigWag says:

    “Directly pertinent to Mrs. Kennedy. In one of her next few columns, Dowd will almost certainly inform us about how the implosion of Kennedy’s senatorial aspirations can somehow be attributed to Bill and Hillary Clinton.”
    Wow, J. Barrington Wooster nailed it. The mentally ill Maureen Dowd (yes, we know you like her, Steve) used her very first column after Gillibrand was appointed by Governor Paterson to blame Hillary and Bill Clinton for the fact that Caroline Kennedy was passed over.
    Here’s the repulsive witch from today’s (Sunday, January 24th) column,
    “Paterson’s five weeks of dithering let the jealous vindictiveness of the Clintons and friends — still fuming over Caroline’s endorsement of Obama and Teddy’s blocking Hillary from a leading health care role in the Senate — poison the air. With his usual sense of entitlement and aggrievement, Bill Clinton of Arkansas did not want Caroline Kennedy of New York to have the seat that Hillary Clinton of Illinois held.”
    Earth to Dowd; Kennedy pulled out. Whether it was nanny problems, tax problems, marriage problems or the realization that she wasn’t up to the job; Kennedy pulled out! Unless Caroline Kennedy’s marriage problems stem from an affair she is having with Bill Clinton, the Clintons had nothing to do with it (although who could blame them for delighting in Caroline’s embarrassment; I know I am).
    This is what the mentally ill columnist had to say about Caroline Kennedy,
    “Then the Democrats would have had another Kennedy in the Senate representing New York — Bobby’s niece and a smart, policy-oriented, civic-minded woman to whom the president feels deeply indebted in an era when every state has its hand out.”
    Then the “Democrats would have had another Kennedy in the Senate” Dowd cried; what a moron. They would have had “Bobby’s niece.” Oh goodness me, what are we going to do now that Bobby’s niece was passed over? They would have had a “smart, policy oriented civic minded woman the president feels deeply indebted to.” How exactly does Dowd know Kennedy is smart or policy oriented? From cocktail party chatter at one of her parties in the home her father used to take his mistresses to?
    Congratulations Mr. Wooster, you predicted this the day before her column appeared. You hit it out of the park.
    Bob Somerby is going to have great fun with this at the Daily Howler. Advice to all those who might be inclined to defend Ms Dowd-you better lay low.
    Somerby is going to rip the bitch apart.

    Reply

  14. Tahoe Editor says:

    GOV SAYS CAROLINE TURNED ‘NASTY’
    Gov. Paterson rapped Caroline Kennedy at a private event the night before he tapped Kirsten Gillibrand for the Senate, telling guests Kennedy had been “nasty” to him and shown “disrespect” with how she bowed out, attendees told The Post.
    http://www.nypost.com/seven/01242009/news/regionalnews/gov_says_caroline_turned_nasty_151614.htm
    Gov. Paterson was underwhelmed with Caroline Kennedy from the start
    ALBANY – She lost him at “hello.”
    Gov. Paterson was completely underwhelmed with Caroline Kennedy from their first conversation about Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat, a source close to the governor said.
    Paterson’s thinking has become clearer in the two days since Kennedy withdrew her name for the Senate seat that Friday went to upstate Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-Hudson).
    Friends said Paterson was adamant that she was never going to be appointed, even though she was considered the front-runner.
    Paterson was turned off when Kennedy first called him and asked if she “could” be considered for the seat.
    By asking if she could, rather than saying she wanted to be considered, Paterson immediately felt she wasn’t really interested, the source said.
    In meetings, the governor and his aides decided she had no political depth, the source said.
    She had no firmly held views and little idea about why she wanted the job, the source said.
    Her abysmal public rollout cemented the governor’s fears that she had no political instincts.
    The governor felt the sheltered Kennedy had no communication skills and absolutely no empathy with the voters, the source said.
    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/2009/01/23/2009-01-23_source_gov_paterson_was_underwhelmed_wit.html

    Reply

  15. PacificCoastRon says:

    Am I the only person in America who cares about the principle of anti-nepotism ? I need a new job, I guess I will have to start a lobby/PR group on this problem because far too many others seem perfectly willing to throw away the republic of their forefathers on a two-bit aristocracy based largely on the hot air of brain-dead media.
    The strong way to go would be with a Constitutional Amendment. Something like, “No person may hold any local, state or federal office if they are the son, daughter, spouse or sibling of a person who has held that same office previously. This prohibition shall include all types of blood or legal relationship, such as stepsons, stepdaughters, widows and other ex-spouses, and relationships of adoption.”
    This wouldn’t in itself totally outlaw all political dynasties, but they would have to branch out and run for different offices than their relatives.
    The clever way to do it is with a simple legal change to go after the enablers of nepotism in our lazy media. Basically, just change the rules of allowable lawsuits so that if any media person discusses the possibility of appointing or electing a person who is a relative of a prominent officeholder, that media person and their organiztion can be sued for actual and punitive damages by any person who believes themself to be more qualified for the office discussed than the officeholder’s relative.
    The question of whether the litigant is actually more qualified and deserves damages, and questions of whether any commentor or blogger qualifies as influential media, will essentially be decided by the jury in their decision on the verdict and award.
    Even if some juries are sloppy and starstruck, it would be an important weapon to keep nepotism in check and to get editors to challenge their lazy reporters who might be inclined to give unearned space to the relatives of officeholders.
    If the actual small-d democrats in the blogosphere would just raise a heckuva ruckus every time some lazy, celebrity-struck journalist discussed the promotion of nepotistic relatives, that would be a good start.

    Reply

  16. Alice says:

    The Bush administration was characterized by cronyism and the appointment of unqualified people to high positions. Obama was patently the less experienced candidate. It troubles me that Obama has not repudiated this crucial aspect of Bush’s term(and Republican rule in general), that he in fact exemplifies the idea that an inexperienced but ideologically pure candidate is as good as someone with actual qualifications for a job. Kennedy was wrong because she was not qualified. Clinton’s people are being hired because they are experienced and qualified, in ways that Obama’s neophytes are not. You cannot have an inexperienced President surrounded by inexperienced staff. Clinton’s approach is to find and use qualified and talented people. It is no surprise that Obama, who poached Clinton’s ideas throughout the primary and general election, is now poaching her team. Caroline Kennedy had as much business seeking the senate seat as Oprah did. Why have people seemingly forgotten that a product with a solid brand and a bang-up advertising campaign will still fail if it is unacceptable in terms of quality (think Edsel)? There is more to being president than glad-handing and giving speeches, and don’t forget that Caroline Kennedy couldn’t even do that part of the job convincingly.

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  17. WigWag says:

    National Rife Association Rating on Gillibrand=100 percent.

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  18. MNPundit says:

    I still do not understand why Caroline Kennedy should have a role in the US Government. Nothing she’s ever done indicates that she should.

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  19. Linda says:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/01/23/kirsten-gillibrand-called_n_160331.html
    She apparently is already reaching out to “overcome the worst tendencies.” Probably has more politics in her genese than Caroline Kennedy ever had.

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  20. DonS says:

    “Her father . . . with close ties to former Republican Senator turned lobbyist, Alfonse D’Amato.” Al, from Long Beach, Island Park actually. Can you spell unprincipled pol any more succinctly? And then, working for dem Andrew Cuomo at HUD. I mean, this gals got politics in her genes. Hopefully, she can overcome the worst tendencies.

    Reply

  21. Linda says:

    Does anyone here really care about Caroline Kennedy’s marriage? Are we supposed to take pleasure or feel badly if it fails?
    Does it matter that Gillibrand’s parents are divorced? Do we then need to know which parent had more influence on her?
    Or do we care about so much detail of political contributions that looks pretty typical of many politicians?
    Maybe we should wait and see what she does in the Senate and judge her on her record though really only NY voters need to do that.

    Reply

  22. WigWag says:

    It is being widely reported that Caroline Kennedy’s personal problem that caused her to withdraw has something to do with her marraige.
    Some additional information about Kirsten Gillibrand:
    1. Her father, Douglas P. Rutnik, is a well known Republican lobbyist with close ties to former Republican Senator turned lobbyist, Alfonse D’Amato. Ironically Gillibrand’s father is also a business partner of former State Senate Majority Leader (Republican)Joseph Bruno. At just about the same time Governor Paterson was announcing the appointment of Gillibrand, her father’s business partner, Joe Bruno, was being indicted in Federal District Court for the Norther District of New York on various charges of bribery and corruption.
    2. Her mother, Polly Noonan Rutnik, is a Democrat and a lawyer. Gillibrand’s father and mother are divorced.
    3. Her maternal grandmother, Dorothea “Polly” Noonan is the founder of the Albany Women’s Democratic Club.
    4. Hillibrand is a former Special Counsel to HUD during the Clinton Administration where she worked for Andrew Cuomo.
    5. As a lawyer she represented Altria (formerly Philip Morris). Altria has become one of her largest contributors.
    6. She has opposed legislation designed to ban cop killer bullets.
    7. Her position on immigration appears similar to the position articulated by Lou Dobbs.
    Her Top Contributors
    Boies, Schiller & Flexner $115,474
    Davis, Polk & Wardwell $81,450
    EMILY’s List $37,859
    ActBlue $18,930
    Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett $18,550
    Altria Group $17,700
    Goldman Sachs $15,500
    Teamsters Union $15,000
    Human Rights Campaign $14,798
    Citigroup Inc $14,250
    Cablevision Systems $13,800
    Durst Organization $13,500
    Kirkland & Ellis $12,800
    City University of New York $11,950
    Morgan Stanley $11,700
    Willkie, Farr & Gallagher $11,650
    Paul, Weiss et al $11,400
    American Federation of Teachers $11,000
    Schulte, Roth & Zabel $10,700
    Marsh & McLennan Companies $10,600
    Top Gillibrand Contributors by Industry
    Lawyers/Law Firms $596,135
    Securities & Investment $306,515
    Retired $250,860
    Women’s Issues $237,272
    Democratic/Liberal $146,710
    Leadership PACs $122,300
    Real Estate $121,325
    Candidate Committees $107,000
    Business Services $104,665
    TV/Movies/Music $103,100
    Printing & Publishing $93,830
    Health Professionals $68,328
    Education $66,500
    Misc Finance $63,000
    Public Sector Unions $61,500
    Building Trade Unions $60,500
    Transportation Unions $54,500
    Computers/Internet $46,741
    Commercial Banks $44,046
    Crop Production & Basic Processing $43,950

    Reply

  23. Pacos_gal says:

    I want to jump in here and point out that what Steve usually writes about is what he knows, whether that be foreign policy or what is going on within the Washington circuit, or a number of other things. All of these are things that most of us have opinions on (foreign policy) and know nothing to little about ourselves (Washington circuit). Why slam him for writing about either of those things? It’s his blog after all and I for one, appreciate the knowledge that he shares, whether I agree with it or not.
    It is possible to disagree with someone on their issues and do so in a respectful manner. When that gets out of control and respect is no longer shown, what else can you do but cut the conversation short and move on.
    You can’t really disagree with someone because they attended a party to which they were invited and they chose to share it with their readers.
    I can’t blame someone for being excited about something like that. Sheezzz people.
    If you don’t enjoy reading about those events, then skip that article and move on to the next one that Does interest you and comment on that.

    Reply

  24. elizabeth says:

    Perhaps it is the “illusion of central position,” but this New Yorker found it surprising that your article failed to mention the power politics in New York surrounding Caroline’s possible appointment. I refer you to the article in the Village Voice by the great investigative reporter Wayne Barrett about the Paterson/Bloomberg deal. Of course, it’s possible that Caroline was also a pawn in a beltway power play between the Kennedys, Clintons and Obama but don’t they say all politics are local? The bottom line is unfortunate: New Yorkers lost a potentially strong progressive voice and the governor looks inept, as he sets up what will no doubt be a hotly contested election for Senate in 2010.

    Reply

  25. Linda says:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/24/nyregion/24gillibrand.html?hp
    I still think Gillibrand is a brilliant choice, and I only know about her because I happened to talk with a Republican friend who lives in her district about a week ago. They didn’t vote for her the first time, but they love her. She’s a really good and savvy politician.
    She’s out weekends with her kids talking to people outside grocery stores (and not just before elections.) And she regularly holds town hall meetings all over her district for her constituents. Not many members of Congress do that, and I’ve been represented by some of the best like Henry Waxman and John Lewis.
    I personally would repeal the second amendment, but she just could be a leader in sensible gun control laws that would make urban areas safer. She seems to think for herself. And I think Democrats and Obama will have her vote when they need it.
    It’s very difficult to find any politician that agrees with me or with anyone on every issue.

    Reply

  26. John says:

    It would be nice if you spent a little time
    critiquing Paterson’s actual choice. In the most
    anti-gun city in the country, with the most anti-
    gun Mayor, etc… Choosing the NRA poster child to
    represent New York is a slap in the face. Pretty
    scary stuff. Careful what you wish for. You were
    concerned about Kennedy’s qualifications. Now the
    Senate will have a gun-toting political hack from
    the boonies. The only “experience” difference
    between Caroline and Kristen is two years of
    elected service. What say you?
    Also — mark my words — Kennedy will be the Dem
    Nominee for President in 2016.

    Reply

  27. Robert M. says:

    {A previous-previous Robert M.}
    What did Sam Rayburn say about JFK’s legacy to LBJ, the Best & Brightest? “If they’d only run for dogcatcher…” And that’s at least where JFK himself started, walking Boston’s street for his House election. The Courtiers need to wise-up & move on. Politics ain’t no bean bag, ya know.

    Reply

  28. Ben Rosengart says:

    Gov. Paterson’s first name is David. And while I’m picking nits,
    the plural of “Kennedy” is “Kennedys”, with no apostrophe.
    Many internet forums, particularly older ones like Usenet, have a
    traditional expectation of thick-skinnedness. I frequently enjoy
    that type of discourse, but I think it’s a mistake to expect that
    tradition to translate to this blog. This blog’s moderator has
    chosen to set a different tone — and IMHO, it works well for this
    subject matter and this set of posters and commenters.
    It’s not obvious, until one tries it, that one can use a calmer tone
    here and still be heard. To those who are dubious, my advice is
    to give it a shot. The adjustment is minor, and you may even find
    you enjoy it.

    Reply

  29. Robert M says:

    cross posted at JJP
    One, I never thought she was a good pick. She had a very private life w/ little exposure to the media except in very controlled situations. The media had a new diamond to mine and they so by strip mining. Her real value was to raise money and I doubt she will not help out quietly as she has done for Candidate/President Obama. Two, if Patterson needed to pick a woman there were several, shunted aside by the wrecking crew called the Clintons, whom were very capable. Three, do not look for her to go to London. Britain has proved to be very weak military supporter of the Iraq/Afghanistan campaigns and she has limited knowledge of military affairs. Until the breach between the military’s is resolved I suspect we will want a harder hand at court. Four, I always thought Patterson would need upstate support and it was there in Mayor Byran Brown of Buffalo.
    to NMP whom I assume lives in New York. His Republican pick I believe is Peter King of LI. To much dirt from Bush to be effective in my opinion. Money is going to be a problem for all Democrats especially since state rules require elections in 2010 and 2012. King is going to have problems raising money as well because financial institutions are going to be significantly restrained because government assisstance. Giuliani is no shoo in given his mystery performance in the Republican Presidential primaries regardless of how local poltics is.
    Lastly I expect 2010 to be an anomaly in terms of Congressional elections. The Republicans will be seeking to hold onto seats where they have resignations. I do not think they will. By November 2010, the Democrats with strong candidates, will sweep because the economy will be improving in very perceptible ways. People vote their pocketbooks.
    Lastly in New York the situation is as Clemenza described in the Godfather given that the Clintons jumped in front of many a local politician
    “Pretty goddam bad. Probably all the other Families will line up against us. That’s all right. These things gotta happen every five years or so, ten years. Helps to get rid of the bad blood. Been ten years since the last one”.

    Reply

  30. Franklin says:

    Plausible explanation. Perhaps Uncle Ted and Family (including kids who thought it would have been “cool” to have Mom in DC) encouraged the one previously non-partisan Kennedy to get into political office.
    The presidential run idea though strikes me as a pipe dream. Even the Senate seat idea was pushing the limits. A famous name and family connections may open doors, but those two elements are not sufficient keys to gaining power in a large populous state like NY. Even Uncle Ted’s pull within smaller Rhode Island only leveraged a House of Rep seat for son Patrick (if Patrick gets the Senate seat someday it will be based on more than just the family name – it will be in part because he has proven himself as a representative).
    As far as national office goes, even with Chappaquiddick, Uncle Ted was a formidable power player at the national level. He is skilled in the political game in a way that Caroline is apparently not (one of the reasons that her “do it for the children” endorsement of Obama resonated so strongly; it’s also a reason why she personally would have a difficult time in the big time political arena).
    Caroline Kennedy was never realistically a direct long-term political threat to Hillary Clinton — not on the national level. Caroline Kennedy still might be a player promoting candidates at the national and state level, but probably not as a candidate herself.

    Reply

  31. J. Barrington Wooster says:

    Mr. Clemons and some of his regulars assure us that Mr. Clemons is no censor but then he goes and shuts down the comment section on the post about the Dowd party. This seems somewhat odd. Mr. Clemons must have paper thin skin if a few scribbles about his Dowd post offends him so much that he had to forbid additional comments.
    After all, his post was widely alluded to all over the blogosphere not just in the Daily Howler.
    Directly pertinent to Mrs. Kennedy. In one of her next few columns, Dowd will almost certainly inform us about how the implosion of Kennedy’s senatorial aspirations can somehow be attributed to Bill and Hillary Clinton. As ususal, Hillary will play the Lady Macbeth role and Bill will be assigned by Dowd to either be Hamlet, Duncan or Othello.
    When this column appears, count on Mr. Clemons to join right in the festivities.
    After all Dowd might have another party. And who knows; she might serve Swedish meatballs. Mr. Clemons wouldn’t want to miss that.

    Reply

  32. Paul Norheim says:

    Karl,
    if you look at what regular commenters say here (some of them
    also under the Dowd post), you`ll realize that Steve Clemons
    tolerate very harsh critique against his views (and his party
    going!).
    Except for ad hominem attacks, I think what pisses him off, is
    when someone drops in for the first time and write highly
    generalizing statements against his blog without any arguments
    supporting them nor familiarity with the blog.
    All of us once in a while disagree with what Steve says, and tell
    him so. Some, like for instance JohnH, WigWag, or kotzabasis –
    disagree with him almost always, and tell him so.
    But it requires a certain familiarity with his views expressed at
    his blog, and not just unfounded claims that he is some empty
    talking head allied with the DC multi millionaire aristocracy.
    Because that is simply not true.

    Reply

  33. Linda says:

    Steve is correct about possible ambassadorship for Caroline Kennedy.
    And Paterson’s pick of Kirsten Gillibrand is brilliant. She’s been supported by EMILY’s list and is definitely a Blue Dog, but she won re-election for a second term in 2008 in a very Republican upstate NY district. She will be able to run in 2010 and carry the state. Others like Maloney, etc. are better off staying in their House seats where they have high seniority and power.
    I really do not understand all the upset here about columnists and pundits. They are paid to write their opinions, and some like Dowd are known to zing everybody from time to time. I am just amazed that people keep writing here that they don’t like her. How could any of us know if we like her or any of them? We don’t know her.
    I believe it is more accurate to say that one doesn’t like her or the other columnists’ and pundits’ writing or broadcast words. And you wouldn’t know you didn’t like it unless you read it.
    I only like Dowd’s writing about 25-50% of the time. She rarely goes on TV (though was on Larry King last night and she does not act or sound like Ann Coulter)except when promoting a book.
    I don’t read NY Times on-line except to search for old articles. I pay to get it delivered, and I have no problem with Dowd though I actually like Gail Collin’s column better and liked Anna Quidlan better than either of them.
    I’d suggest that folks check out /www.pulitzer.org/citation/1999,Commentary Maureen Dowd’s Pulitzer Prize.
    So at lot of these recent threads seem about as silly to me as accusing Steve of not keeping kosher because he ate pigs-in-a-blanket at Maureen’s house.

    Reply

  34. Karl says:

    Well, it’s your blog so do whatever you like, including limiting it only to those who recognize and pay tribute to your brilliance.

    Reply

  35. Steve Clemons says:

    JoeCHI – did you read my piece? Have you read anything else I have written about Caroline Kennedy’s interest in the job? You clearly are on a tear — and enough already on the Maureen Dowd party. I had a great time there and hope to go back — but combining that with this note from you doesn’t help your argument. Caroline Kennedy’s own profile and performance undermined her in the public eye — but this didn’t keep her from nearly getting the appointment. And what I was probing is what was going on behind the scenes.
    Without being flamboyantly ridiculous, why don’t you try the same exercise — or if you don’t want to do that – then rationally lay out what you see happening. I wrote what I think animated some of the Obama crowd and those close to Ted Kennedy in this Caroline issue.
    And yes, I do think that there is tension between those who were trying to push Caroline and those loyal to Hillary. Sorry you don’t see it — but I do, and I know it’s there. It’s a fascinating bit of the terrain here in Washington.
    But let me tell you what I told someone else a short while ago, you better get a tone of respect in your posts and get rational or you will be banned from here. I don’t have patience for turbo-charged rudeness. I tolerate dissent from so many folks here that I can’t be called a censor in true form…but the rude stuff. Not here. I work too hard and spend too much of my life doing this stuff to deal with that.
    I hope you’ll take that positively and figure out how to rail against my views and takes on things in a respectful way. If you can’t — everything you write here will be deleted.
    all the best — and hope you turn this around and have a good week,
    steve

    Reply

  36. JoeCHI says:

    Wow, Steve! Just. Wow.
    Once again, it’s the horrible, power-hungry, vengeful Clintons who are responsible for denying poor, pitiful, pretty, pretty, princess Caroline
    her Senate pony. Now it’s clear why you were so giddy and grateful to rub elbows with the inner-sanctum of elite Clinton-haters like Dowd,
    Sullivan, Carlson, and Hitchens.
    Of course, Kennedy’s widely-panned and clumsy performance in her “campaign” and PR-blitz had nothing to do with it.
    Indeed, MyDD’s Josh Orton provided one of the most telling, and merciful, analysis of Ms. Kennedy after she released her “position statements”.
    The “position statements” were so general and ambiguous, that Orton ironically responded, ‘Whoa, slow down Poindexter! Let’s not get bogged
    down in minutiae…’
    In my opinion, in addition to her inability to demonstrate a grasp of public policy, there were other substantive concerns about Kennedy. For
    one, Kennedy never made a compelling case as to why she wanted to be Senator. Also, her spotty performance with the media and NY elected
    officials neither impressed, nor boded well for the Senate re-election campaign in 2010.
    New Yorker’s noticed, too,. And, if her plummeting poll numbers were any indication, they were similarly unimpressed.
    None of this matters, however, when you have the Clinton’s to blame. Plus, we’re all just village idiots who’ve never tasted Maureen Dowd’s
    pigs-in-a-blanket.

    Reply

  37. WigWag says:

    I think Zathras has it right. I don’t have a clue whether Ted Kennedy ever thought that Caroline might be President some day, but if Steve is right, and this is what Ted was contemplating, than he was sadly deluded.
    It is obvious to anyone who watched her performance over the past several weeks that Caroline Kennedy is simply not ready for prime time. She was barely able to put two cogent words together to explain why she wanted to be a Senator from New York; the thought of her campaigning for President in 2016 (or ever) is ludicrous. She actually reminded me of her Uncle Teddy; when she tried to explain to the press why she wanted to be a New York Senator it put me in mind of Ted Kennedy trying to explain to Roger Mudd on 60 Minutes (November 4, 1979) why he wanted to be President.
    The Democratic Party is in the process of shooting itself in the foot again. Governor Paterson handled the whole appointment thing terribly; it was a big mistake to let it turn into a soap opera. The Republican candidate in 2010 will be Peter King, a Long Island Republican who is tough, smart and has a history of winning Democratic voters over. While he is conservative, he’s not so conservative that it’s impossible for him to win. He resembles no one quite so much as Al D’Amato who was a successful three term Senator from New York.
    By picking Gillibrand, Paterson insured that there would be a Primary fight in 2010 and then again in 2012. Gillibrand, while capable, is unknown in the most populous part of the state (the 7 downstate counties comprising New York City and its suburbs). She is supported by the National Rifle Association; until last week she opposed gay marriage; she voted against the TARP Bill twice (despite the fact that this legislation disproportionately helped New York institutions.) Several Democrats are likely to oppose her in a Democratic Primary. And all of the talk about Gillibrand’s fundraising ability is exactly that; mostly talk. Democrats could easily end up losing this seat.
    Meanwhile the Kennedy’s are going to have to get use to the fact that their time has past. The younger generation of Kennedys (with the exception of Ted’s pathetic son from Rhode Island) have had little electoral success. There’s a reason that the Plantagenets, Tudors, Stewarts, Adams’ Roosevelts and now Kennedys have to watch their dynasties come to a crashing stop. The gene pool deteriorates over time as the younger generations become less and less capable. Another perfect example of this outside of the political realm can be found in the world of journalism. Just look at how the New York Times and the Washington Post have deteriorated now that later generations of Sulzburgers and Graham’s have taken the helm at those newspapers.
    Of course, one man can celebrate all of this; Chuck Schumer. As one of the biggest ego maniacs in America it has frequently been said that the most dangerous place in the world to be standing is between Chuck Schumer and a microphone. Schumer has clawed his way up in less than 12 years to be the number three Democrat in the Senate. It obviously galled him to have to play second fiddle to Hillary Clinton and he couldn’t have been looking forward to playing second fiddle to Caroline Kennedy. Now that the junior Senator from New York will be a “nobody” Schumer can bask in the sunlight reflected by his own huge ego.
    What a happy day for him this must be.

    Reply

  38. WigWag says:

    I think Zathras has it right. I don’t have a clue whether Ted Kennedy ever thought that Caroline might be President some day, but if Steve is right, and this is what Ted was contemplating, than he was sadly deluded.
    It is obvious to anyone who watched her performance over the past several weeks that Caroline Kennedy is simply not ready for prime time. She was barely able to put two cogent words together to explain why she wanted to be a Senator from New York; the thought of her campaigning for President in 2016 (or ever) is ludicrous. She actually reminded me of her Uncle Teddy; when she tried to explain to the press why she wanted to be a New York Senator it put me in mind of Ted Kennedy trying to explain to Roger Mudd on 60 Minutes (November 4, 1979) why he wanted to be President.
    The Democratic Party is in the process of shooting itself in the foot again. Governor Paterson handled the whole appointment thing terribly; it was a big mistake to let it turn into a soap opera. The Republican candidate in 2010 will be Peter King, a Long Island Republican who is tough, smart and has a history of winning Democratic voters over. While he is conservative, he’s not so conservative that it’s impossible for him to win. He resembles no one quite so much as Al D’Amato who was a successful three term Senator from New York.
    By picking Gillibrand, Paterson insured that there would be a Primary fight in 2010 and then again in 2012. Gillibrand, while capable, is unknown in the most populous part of the state (the 7 downstate counties comprising New York City and its suburbs). She is supported by the National Rifle Association; until last week she opposed gay marriage; she voted against the TARP Bill twice (despite the fact that this legislation disproportionately helped New York institutions.) Several Democrats are likely to oppose her in a Democratic Primary. And all of the talk about Gillibrand’s fundraising ability is exactly that; mostly talk. Democrats could easily end up losing this seat.
    Meanwhile the Kennedy’s are going to have to get use to the fact that their time has past. The younger generation of Kennedys (with the exception of Ted’s pathetic son from Rhode Island) have had little electoral success. There’s a reason that the Plantagenets, Tudors, Stewarts, Adams’ Roosevelts and now Kennedys have to watch their dynasties come to a crashing stop. The gene pool deteriorates over time as the younger generations become less and less capable. Another perfect example of this outside of the political realm can be found in the world of journalism. Just look at how the New York Times and the Washington Post have deteriorated now that later generations of Sulzburgers and Graham’s have taken the helm at those newspapers.
    Of course, one man can celebrate all of this; Chuck Schumer. As one of the biggest ego maniacs in America it has frequently been said that the most dangerous place in the world to be standing is between Chuck Schumer and a microphone. Schumer has clawed his way up in less than 12 years to be the number three Democrat in the Senate. It obviously galled him to have to play second fiddle to Hillary Clinton and he couldn’t have been looking forward to playing second fiddle to Caroline Kennedy. Now that the junior Senator from New York will be a “nobody” Schumer can bask in the sunlight reflected by his own huge ego.
    What a happy day for him this must be.

    Reply

  39. Steve Clemons says:

    Kevin — sounds like you need your own blog. I wouldn’t have provided the scenario unless it had plausibility. I have spoken to a number of old friends and staff members of Ted Kennedy who shared this scenario with me. It is what it is. You either use your critical faculties to assess whether it might have been real, or was fantastic fiction — and then you move on. You seem to be so irritated by this blog that you really should move on….let me encourage you.
    all the best, steve clemons

    Reply

  40. Dan Kervick says:

    Your account rings emotionally true, Steve. I suppose Ted Kennedy and other Kennedy loyalists may be experiencing dynastic anxiety over the fact that Ted appears to represent end of the line for the Kennedy clan in politics. And maybe that motivated this hasty and desperate Hail Mary pass. With none of Kennedy scions poised to step into a national role, this appears to be the imminent passing of a dynasty.
    I feel bad for Caroline Kennedy, because whether it was Ted Kennedy’s hopes and ambitions, some of her own friends’ uninformed goading, or her own personal ambition, she was thrust suddenly into an arena for which she seemed ill-suited, and for which she had not prepared herself. She is apparently a smart and compassionate person who has done much good work. But this was a bad step for her.
    However, I’m not sure Kennedy was ever actually much of a threat to Clinton. Gillibrand herself seems like much more of a political threat: a smart, experienced, hard-working and aggressive campaigner and legislator who is only 42.
    This whole episode bespeaks an aloof, aristocratic insularity among a small, powerful, but not-so-powerful-as-they-imagine segment of the American establishment.

    Reply

  41. Kevin says:

    “The game plan — whether real or fantasy — is intriguing.”
    So you have no idea if it is “real or fantasy” but you just can’t help yourself. You have to repeat it.
    Can you even begin to understand how much harm BS like this is doing to the national discourse?
    Not to mention that this is celebrity journalism at its worst at a time when thousands will lose their homes and thousands more will lose their jobs. This week.

    Reply

  42. Zathras says:

    I can’t remember whether we have an embassy in Bermuda or just a consulate. Anyway, that sounds like a better post for Caroline Kennedy than London or Paris.
    Look, I have nothing personal against this woman, but the “strategic thinking” Steve Clemons has been attributing to senior members of the Kennedy group — starting with the aging, ailing Senator himself — exudes a sense of unreality. Caroline Kennedy wasn’t prepared for the slightest bit of press or public attention; this was obvious from her televised interviews. Why should she have been? She was shielded from public attention from an early age, and maintained that shield of her own volition throughout her adult life. People like that are ill-suited to elective office. The Presidency? If Ted Kennedy really believed his niece had a Presidential campaign in her future, well, he seriously misjudged his relative.
    Frankly, it sounds as if either Kennedy has gone ga-ga or his entourage has been casting around for ways to extend the family’s prominence after he has left the scene. Brain tumor or not, I think the latter possibility is more likely.

    Reply

  43. DCattendant says:

    Steve, it is increasingly clear given your encouragement to Obama to point Caroline to the Court of St. James’s that despite the criticism you sometimes get from the uninformed mob, your sense of what is really happening is impeccable.
    I have a feeling that Caroline should have spoken to you first to do a cost/benefit before proceeding.
    Your scenario above is very high concept. Fascinating to hear. I know that you are not saying that Ted was absolutely thinkng this. But the plausibility of it all is real enough.

    Reply

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