I have liked and admire Caroline Kennedy. We are almost the same age, so I’ve watched her for a long time. What I have most admired about her is was her reluctance to enter public political life, when her name and money would have opened up almost any possibility to her. This private persona is what made her public endorsement of Obama so meaningful.
But now Kennedy is openly seeking appointment to the New York Senate seat being vacated by Hillary Clinton’s (presumed) move to the State Department. And the country is debating it in a very public way. The era of Caroline Kennedy’s private persona is officially over, and all the benefits that accrue with that can be considered forfeited.
In many ways, Caroline would be a good Senator. She has good positions on the major progressive policy planks. She’s worked in education and the arts and would probably be a top knotch advocate for those issues — a role someone with clout needs to play. She’s an attorney and has studied and written about civil liberties and the Constitution. She would be Obama’s right hand in the Senate, helping to pass a lot of good legislation.
So I would like to support her, in spite of all the dynastic concerns that surround the matter. Last night I was listening to some cable TV pundits discuss it, and was quite taken with the notion that she could really be a strong leader in Congress on freedom of expression and support for the arts in general. I was strongly leaning toward endorsing her despite all those other concerns.
Then, today, I read about her first “campaign” decision, and am completely disgusted with her.
So, for whatever my worthless opinion matters (i.e., nothing), NO on Caroline Kennedy being crowned Senator.
Let another celebrity, Fran Drescher, serve for two years (last night on Larry King, Caroline’s surrogate dismissed Drescher as an “interesting actress” so don’t think Caroline is some sweet innocent), then if Caroline wants to duke it out in the political arena in what would still be an unfair fight to her advantage, she can get in the ring legitimately, like yet another celebrity, Hillary Clinton, did. Hill’s a dynastic politico, and I don’t care for her (or her husband’s) brand of politics, but at least she campaigned among the commoners all over the state, and won fair and square.
Now, being realistic, will Caroline be the next junior Senator from New York? Of course.
Rachel Maddow put it well, in her sweetly sarcastic way: “Let’s just rename it the House of Lords and stop pretending!” [paraphrase based on recall]