Monday, December 29, 2008

Kennedy Inc.

The "Public Service" Business....

The current kerfuffle regarding Caroline Kennedy has had me thinking about the real business behind the “Political Families ” that we’re all familiar with, like the Kennedy’s, Bush’s, Udall’s, the Clinton’s (can’t wait to see where they try to position Chelsea) and now the Biden’s. They all seem to characterize themselves as families with a tradition of "Public Service”.

Unlike other families who's members have a tradition of serving in the military, the Postal Service, or other government funded jobs, where we call them military families, or civil service families, these folks have applied the term "Public Service" to their activities, and by doing so, seem to attempt to cloak themselves in a type of social ermine, elevating and equating their activities to a noble sacrifice that they are bestowing on the rest of us. But, the real ‘business’ that those families are in, and why it’s so important for them to have ‘Family-Branded’ members continue on in office, is that they are fundamentally in the business of selling influence and making rain - or in their parlance, "Public Service".

Just look at the donation lists for Bill Clinton’s Library and his other organizations. If those donors really were concerned about the particular social issues that they framed their donation around, they would have given it to a primary agency involved in the issue, not some tangential gateway that skims off the top. Those ‘donor’s pure and simply were buying influence. And, in order to sell influence, you must be in a position to ‘influence’ the outcome of issues that they are concerned with. The primary way to do that is to hold, or be closely linked to, a significant decision making political office, hence the strong push to get Caroline in the Senate. The Kennedy ‘brand’ is about to be extinguished with Ted on his way to his eternal reward, and when that happens, all the Kennedy’s on all the Corporate Boards will be vulnerable, unless another quickly segues into the Senate, they won't be able to insinuate the potential to close deals, and make rain happen.

The Democrats aren’t alone in this governmental influence peddling industry, there are Republicans families who have also become embedded in the government as well, but the Democrats seem to have the better "nose" for building and running these family businesses, and more importantly, extracting immense wealth from them.

No slouch, Obama, Inc. , and Biden, Inc. are coming on strong, with Michelle having scored a three hundred percent raise upon Barack's election to the US Senate.....nice...., and Joe setting up his son to take over his Senate position upon his return from Iraq.  Oh, there's also Rahm Emanuel and Jamie Gorelick's multi-million dollar compensation during their brief inter-governmental jobs.  No wonder Gov. Blago was getting frustrated.  He knew he was missing out on the payoff's.  But, unlike the other's he just hadn't invested enough yet in building the right "brand".

Well, we'll just have to see if the Kennedy "brand" will sell well enough in NY to keep the family in the "Public Service" business.  Now that I think about it, that's actually an appropriate term, considering what they do to the rest of us in the Public.


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