I have been following the "Caroline Kennedy to the Senate in place of Hillary
" saga as long as everyone else, and I confess -- I still do not get it.
Why is Liberal America in such a tizzy of distaste at the prospect?
Of course, not just liberals veer from astonished to annoyed about this matter, but it's understood that conservatives would be in opposition. Being anti-Kennedy is a Republican birthright.
No. It's evident that as the Left blog about Governor Paterson's forthcoming decision, they are each day less and less amused that the choice should fall on the demure shoulders of this 51 year-old woman, one of the earliest to break with the Clintons and back Obama, at that.
It's just really fascinating to watch this unfold with such thinly disguised animosity towards Caroline's candidacy. And here I must say this -- I use her Christian name not as an intimate, obviously, but as recognition that she's been a part of American life since she was 3 years old. If her late brother was "America's Prince", she was his princess foil.
But hers is a life touched by endless tragedy, a story all of us could recite by rote from her father's assassination to her brother's disappearance off of Martha's Vineyard.
Such characters in a novel or in a film are usually hateable (due to the curse of human jealousy), unless their elevated social status is tinged with tragedy, or they redeem themselves by liking the poor. That has been the hook of almost every story dealing with the high and mighty since Aeschylus all the way to wayward Rose's love of the impoverished Jack in that dismal "Titanic". Only Proust could write about aristocrats with such approval, and still make people like them.
Could it be Kennedy herself that causes such a backlash?
I have heard liberal bloggers say she is a bad speaker. Yes, she's stilted. But have you heard Nancy Pelosi in action? Eye-crossingly boring.
I have heard some refer to her "debutante" New York status. Yes, but she's done an impressive amount of charity work, a legacy she took over when her mother died.
I have heard people say she is a dilettante. Then so was Obama when he ran for the Senate. They are both Harvard grads, both lawyers, and both published authors.
Unlike Barack Obama, her first book was a well-received co-authored one about the Bill of Rights
, called The Right To Privacy
. In fact, had this been an Obama book instead of a Kennedy book, I would've considered him less of an empty suit.
Having mentioned privacy, I think we are getting closer to the reason why 'Caroline Kennedy for the Senate' is off to such a rocky start.
This woman is notoriously
, almost morbidly private, or as much as she can be as the fabled daughter of that political dynasty -- the Kennedys.
You can see her doing the entertainment rounds in New York, but rarely for the exclusive benefit of social diarists. It's always a cause, a benefit, or an awards ceremony, not a movie premiere preening in front of paparazzi.
Also, by all accounts, she is an involved and caring wife/mother.
She is certainly taking her mother's famous dictum to heart that it doesn't matter what else you do in life, if you fail as a mother first, the other stuff is almost meaningless.
(That must've been a zinger to the heart of Ethel Kennedy)
I have heard it say that Democrats don't want families becoming political dynasties with a sense of entitlement, which is real funny coming about the lady who would succeed Hillary Clinton. Honestly, do people even think out their objections? Dear God.
I could go on and on about this, including re-emphasising the fact that Caroline backed Obama for President over Hillary Clinton in such a way, as to make his dedicated followers proud of her sound political instincts.
But it's almost as naught.
For them, she intrudes in some strange way into their fantasy that the Democratic Party is for the working-class, or for those who rose up by their talent or grit -- and no one else need apply.
Kids, I got news for you: You guys have more millionaires and celebrities who back you publicly than we Rethuglicans do. It's long been the Party of Moët and private jets, not of Pabst Blue Ribbon and F-150s. Wake up and smell the Prada.
What do we have so far as points against her becoming a Senator?- She has nil political experience.
Except for the fact that she's actively
breathed politics since she was in her cradle.
I'm sorry; it counts. I know Americans don't like to hear this, but one's background really does give you a leg up in certain matters, and politics is definitely one of them. It may not appeal to the democratic nature of American culture, but to discount it totally smacks of a lack of sophistication, and not knowing how life works.- She has never given a political speech in her life and was "scrambling" in Syracuse yesterday, putting herself forward as Senate candidate.
Really? Did I imagine all those interviews and discourses on politics not just in 2008, including at the DNC, but throughout her adult life?- She is just a celebrity.
Riiight. Because we all know New Yorkers do not like famous people to horn in unto their political caste...
At the end of the day, she would be a caretaker Senator from New York, who would at worst have to run again in two years.
This isn't a life-time appointment, and if she's not up to snuff, there are other Democrats who I am certain would gladly run against her in 2010. In fact, she may decide the Senate gig isn't for her (it is really an intrusive proposition for a woman disinclined to be a public figure), and decline to run altogether.
You know, 2008 revealed itself to be a year where two women battled for two of the highest positions in the land, and for their bothers, they had to endure incredibly embarrassing levels of abuse, not from Republicans, mind you. But from Democrats.
Today, as I read the oft-insipid Jane Hamsher
making her mealy-minded points about Caroline Kennedy on Huffington Post, I am reminded yet again that women do not support women. Worse yet, we make sexist points when referring to them (sometimes even in an otherwise positive piece), which in Hamsher's case was her original post
about the topic, which included this lovely line:
Really? She's "making calls this morning to alert political figures to her interest?" I guess it was either that or get her nails done.
I have it on good authority Jane was making this moue when she wrote this.
(Was that really necessary? It's so petty, Jane. Since you don't mind petty, I am repaying you in kind with that comment above. You like?)
And how else is she going to inform the political establishment of casting her hat into the ring, but to actually go out and place some calls -- does HuffPo provide its writers with telepathic lessons that we do not know about? Because you know, maybe Caroline could've closed her eyes, and transmitted her thoughts to Paterson like Uri Geller.
(Don't believe it for a minute that if Kennedy-Schlossberg had called a press conference to formally announce this, that the Left would have given her less of a hard time. They would've probably had said she was being a prima donna. Also, I am reminded of people moaning about the cost of rescuing the remains of her late brother from the bottom of the sea, and those moaning the most seemed to be Democrats...)
By now, you are wondering if this makes me her champion. Not really. I respect her though.
I respect her tenacity and respect her political courage to break with a sure thing, as Hillary Clinton looked to be in January.
I think Caroline Kennedy should be given the same consideration, without the snark and reverse class-snobbery, same as any other candidate.
The point is not that there are better choices out there to fill the Senate vacancy left by Hillary Clinton -- but that Caroline Kennedy is not so bad herself.
Labels: Elitism, Kennedy, Party Of Donkeys, Politicos, Sexism