One has to wonder about the state of democracy in New York state when it is repeatedly represented by carpetbagging outsiders.

It’s bad enough when political families feel entitled to get nominated because of their chromosomes. Presumably families raise their children with knowledge of politics, so they are qualified (?). So John Adams was the father of John Qunicy Adams, and the political families, from the Tafts to the Saltonstalls to the Roosevelts to the Bush’s to the Gores are familiar in US history.

Similarly, it is not unknown for a spouse to run on her husband’s merits, from Senator Boggs to Senator Clinton, not merely because they were “spouses” but because it was known that they were partners with their husband in his work.

But Caroline Kennedy did not grow up in “political family”: She was essentially raised by her mother, who loathed the give and takes of politics, prefering the arts. Ms Kennedy may have been involved in board meetings for various groups, and on the periphery of her various relatives campaigns, but she has never run for any office, not even Mayor of Wasilla or Brooklyn Park.

Talk about starting at the top.

So what has she done?

I’m watching Larry King, and her cousin defends the choice by saying she is active in raising money for the Ballet in New York City, and “is a mother and we need more mothers in Congress”.

Well, bust my guts. Why not appoint Michele Obama instead? She’s a mother too, and a lawyer. And unlike Caroline, she was raised with parents who worked for a living, so she knows how ordinary people live, think, and work.

At least Caroline Kennedy isn’t a carpetbagger like her uncle Robert, who also used New York State for his own purposes. But her Park Avenue apartment means one doubts that she has ever rubbed elbows with the hoi polloi that she is supposed to represent.

Caroline Kennedy however seems to be known for her father, and for her work as a lawyer for elite causes.

She gives out awards for those showing courage in government, but has she ever showed political or personal courage?

She has raised money for NYCity Public schools, but do her children go to public school, or has she ever taught in public school, or has she spent time with parents who send their kids there? Has she spent time in the inner city as a community organizer? Does she understand how ordinary people live, or does her experience of the common people come from books and experts?

But what is the most disturbing part of all of this is what CNN is saying about her now: That she can raise lots of cash.

So it comes to this: not only is she from an aristocratic family, but she knows a lot of rich people who can donate cash to the Democratic party? But I was under the impression that President Elect Obama proved that numerous small donors were the way to go.

Now it seems to be the party of Park Avenue and big money telling ordinary Democrats who to vote for: a princess who can bring in lots of money.

Silly me, I’m old enough to remember when the Democrats were the party of the little guy.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. She blogs at Makaipa blog.

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