“We did have a very nice, you know, conversation, and obviously I’m not gonna talk about that…she was very encouraging, and that was, you know, that was nice because she’s a huge inspiration of mine. I’ve been a Democrat all my life. I am, you know, a Democrat through and through. I’ve always voted Democratic. You know, that is where my heart lies.”
– Caroline Kennedy on New York television, saying that she talked to Hillary Clinton about Clinton’s New York senate seat.

Even if you ignore the teenspeak – four “you knows” in as many sentences, Caroline Kennedy’s bid to be appointed to Hillary Clinton’s senate seat is generating widespread and growing skepticism. Even columnist Maureen Down, an admitted Kennedy sycophant, led her recent New York Times piece on Caroline’s conversation thusly: “Ask not, you know, what your country can, like, do for you. Ask what you, um, can, you know, do for your country.”

First of all, there is the issue of entitlement. Caroline is not running for the office, she is asking to be appointed to it by New York governor, David Patterson. She even went so far as to announce to the media that if Patterson doesn’t hand her the position, she won’t run for the office. Kennedy thus invites us to wonder why she feels she has a claim to the senate seat, and is refusing to campaign for it in the traditional sense: meeting the public and the press, begging for dollars, and taking on all the other tribulations that a candidate normally endures.

Here, it is appropriate to compare Ms. Kennedy to President George Bush, about whom was written, “He was born on third base and thought he had hit a triple.” Caroline Kennedy is the daughter of a famous father and mother. From birth to the present moment she has been in the public consciousness. Who cannot conjure up the images of Caroline and her pony “Macaroni” frolicking on the White House lawn? Then there are her famous uncles and her iconic brother who perished in a plane crash at sea.

So, well-known she is. But aside from her hereditary links and her movie star imagery, we know very little about Kennedy’s views on the leading issues of the day. The Sunday Times of London notes, “The prospect of a Kennedy-free Senate (uncle Ted is gravely ill) was apparently too much for the family to bear. And so Caroline Kennedy, JFK’s and Jackie O’s daughter, is running for senator in New York state.”

The paper then asks what are Caroline’s qualifications exactly? “A little less inspiring than even Sarah Palin’s,” the Times continued. Let Kennedy quote her own resume: “I’ve written books on the constitution and the importance of individual participation. And I’ve raised my family.” She chose not to mention her degrees from Harvard and Columbia law and the exclusive private schools she attended.

The New Yorker magazine, in its December 23rd issue, rushed to Kennedy’s support, but in a curious way. While acknowledging the thinness of her resume, the publication spoke of “her quiet fame, which makes people curious about her and will make them eager to know and please her.” The magazine goes on to predict that she will have no trouble attracting a top-flight staff and that she has insights acquired from a lifetime of observing and participating in the history of her time “from the eye of the Kennedy family hurricane.” From this premise one can deduce that Margaret Truman, who was the apple of Harry’s eye, would also have made a distinguished and renowned U.S. senator.

The real obstacle that Caroline Kennedy faces is the general mood of the American people. They are outraged at what Wall Street and their government has done to them. They are fatigued by the longest war the U.S. has ever waged. And they are weary of the nepotism of the Kennedys, the Bushes, the Clintons, the Roosevelts, ad nauseam. Perhaps Caroline Kennedy, without having been elected or appointed to public office, has already committed one of the most common faux pas in politics: her timing is off.

CHASE HAMIL

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