Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Senator Caroline Kennedy ?

Winsome:generally pleasing and engaging, often because of a childlike charm and innocence

She is winsome, and the press is agog with the story of Caroline Kennedy as a potential "successor" (sounds dynastic - no?) to Hilary Clinton as NY's junior Senator.  It's an engaging story with elements of pathos, grandeur, intrigue, history, politics, revenge (against Cuomo), and competition.  The elements of history, pathos, and grandeur play especially well in the news at this time of year, especially the references to Camelot.

Let me state that I don't believe that Caroline's celebrity status as a scion of the Kennedy clan should either qualify, or disqualify her for being selected by Gov. Paterson (himself a scion of the Paterson legend).  And, in addition, I believe that she's as qualified (maybe even more so) than Hilary was when elected.  She may not possesses the hand-to-hand combat skills, or killer capabilities Hilary honed over the years, but I'm sure that she can easily summon an executioner to do the grisly task for her.  Royalty has no need to dirty their hands with such tasks.

I've been attempting to come to terms with what the qualities of an effective Senator would be, and quite frankly, it seems like I've been tapping a dry well, primarily because there's no current example who I can think of.

Well, let's see what others are saying that her qualifications are.  The NY Times has this to say:

Aside from a 22-month, three-day-a-week stint as director of strategic partnerships for the New York City schools, her commitments generally involve nonprofit boards: the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc., the American Ballet Theater, the Commission on Presidential Debates and the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation.
But friends and associates say that Ms. Kennedy, 51, is no dilettante, and that her career is replete with examples of the kind of hands-on policy work and behind-the-scenes maneuvering that could serve her well.
As one might expect, Ms. Kennedy is already a consummate insider: When Rupert Murdoch’s young daughter was applying to the Brearley School, Ms. Kennedy, a board member who had attended the school and sent her two daughters there, wrote a letter of recommendation, a News Corporation spokeswoman confirmed.
Ms. Kennedy’s work with the city’s public schools has won much attention, but has not been widely understood. Hired in October 2002 (her $1 salary meant she did not have to fill out financial disclosure forms) to overhaul the schools’ private fund-raising, A rock concert in Central Park raised $2 million; a tag sale there drew tens of thousands of bargain hunters. By the time she left in August 2004, she had raised more than $70 million for an academy to train reform-minded principals. Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein credited her with bringing in a $51 million gift from Bill Gates’s foundation.
Ms. Kennedy's highest-profile foray into politics came when she joined her uncle, Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, in endorsing Barack Obama in the Democratic presidential primaries, despite beseeching by Ms. Clinton's camp. And in the fall Ms. Kennedy spent about six weeks barnstorming battleground states for the Obama campaign and took to it with gusto.

OK, I get it.  She's a fantastic mendicant.  We can use her on the Foreign Relations Committee to beg money from the sheiks and any other folks who have money left after this global economic meltdown. 

Along with contemplating Caroline's qualifications, it seems that the Democrats are enthralled with dynastic and "group credential" succession.  Hilary's seat is now presumed a "Woman's" seat, Obama's seat a "Black" seat.

Hilary became the presumed Senator from NY because of her "Co-Presidency" with Bill; then the "Presumed Democrat Candidate for President; and now the selected Sec. of State....based on her "accomplishments".  Joe Biden’s Senate seat may go to his son Beau (Biden has set it up so that a seat warmer will take his place until Beau comes back from Iraq). Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar, Obama’s pick for interior secretary, could end up being replaced by his brother, Rep. John Salazar. Jesse Jackson Jr. was presumed on track for Obama's seat (which is now presumed a "Black" seat.  I guess once it goes Black, it never goes back).  Then you have the Western Kennedy's, the Udall's: Mark from Colorado and Tom from New Mexico.  

The Republican's are not immune, just much less of it.  The Bush family is the most current example, with Jeb surveying a Senate run.  The difference seems to be more that he Republican's run for office, while Democrats horse-trade for it.

Despite the exclaimed shock over Blagojevich's "selling" Obama's Senate Seat, the same thing is going on in NY.  The real question as to what her qualifications are will be determined by how she can help Gov. David Paterson get re-elected.  

In the final analysis, she seems to be without any known legal, social, or political impediments for NY voters, and she's got the money connections to be the pay to play requirements for Paterson.  She's a shoe-in!


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