Caroline Kennedy Qualification Question.

Harvard grad. Lawyer. New York Times best selling author. Multi-million-dollar fundraiser for one of the nation’s largest public school systems. Member of the boards of several non-profit organizations ranging from the Commission on Presidential Debates and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, to the American Ballet Theater. Part of a three-member team which found a running mate for a presidential nominee.

 

Sounds like the resume of an accomplished professional. But throw in these two words -- Caroline Kennedy -- and suddenly, that same resume is considered to be so slender as to render its owner unworthy to even ask to be considered to fill a soon-to-be-vacant U.S. Senate seat from New York.

 

Whatever you think of the Kennedy family and whether members of so-called political dynasties should be considered for public posts based on their names alone (like a Bush, a Cuomo, a Clinton, a Jackson), what really disturbs me about the criticism of Kennedy’s request to be included in the pool of candidates to potentially assume Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat when New York Governor David Paterson makes his final decision, is that people are describing her as unqualified simply because she hasn’t held elective office. When it’s pointed out that First Lady Hillary Clinton had held no elected office when she ran for Senate -- when, unlike Kennedy, she didn’t even live in New York -- Kennedy detractors say, “Well, at least Hillary ran for the office. She earned it by getting her hands dirty.”

 

Here are the facts: There will be an open U.S. Senate seat in New York after Clinton officially becomes the Secretary of State. The person who will fill it, until the term expires in two years, will be appointed by Paterson, whose own father was deeply involved in New York politics. The election for this seat is two years away. Like it or not, someone will be the chosen, not elected, for that seat. That’s the way the system works. So what’s with all the hating on Kennedy for simply tossing her name into the mix?

 

As a New Englander, I’ve witnessed a number of male Kennedys come and go in public office over the years. When a Kennedy’s name is bandied about for this post or that one, it’s not unusual to hear grumbling about the fact that we are no longer royal subjects and that we shouldn’t have a de facto royal family whose members automatically get political posts simply because they desire them. So when it comes to the anti-dynasty line of argument, I can understand to some degree. In a piece in the Washington Post, Ruth Marcus, while calling Kennedy’s resume “impressive,” said, “. . . [P]olitical dynasties are fundamentally un-American.”

dgisola7
01.14.09

As a woman, I realize the double standard is alive and well -- (e.g.,hearing Joe Biden make moronic comment after moronic comment -- and no one cared --Palin would have been crucified, but I digress). My reservation with Caroline comes from her persona. She almost comes off as a wallflower -- as a NYer I'm much more comfortable with someone with a more forceful presence to stand up to all the nonsense goes on in DC. If you put them side by side, I think Andrew Cuomo is the better choice.

bkmomnmd
12.24.08

@bloggingmom, i saw that and had similar feelings.

bkmomnmd
12.23.08

i was born and raised in ny. when hilary ran for the senate up there i was flabbergasted. she knew nothing about NY yet she politicked her way into her senate seat. the issue regarding caroline has nothing to do with her role as a parent. that argument is insulting and further polarizes women. the issue is that she comes with 'no experience' and has a questionable record regarding about consistently voting and whatever else critics and the media want to come up with. the problem is that the folks in ny set the standard by letting hilary and bill set up shop like the know what it means to be a part of the bridge and tunnel crew. frankly, the critics are moot and if caroline wants to do it, go for it. hilary set the trend and i think caroline will probably do a good job at it.

gidget214
12.23.08

Well, I am a big Republican and I do not live in New York, but I do care a lot. I care a lot because this is my country AND she is woman. I am a big supporter of women. I think it is unfortunate we have to be champions for our gender but that's life and I hope that the gals that come after me will have it a bit easier on their turn.
All this said, Caroline Kennedy deserves a chance as much as the next GUY. I think probably does work very hard for what she does. She does not do little things but has obviously found a way to maximize the circles she runs in and leverages her name and position in our social strata to do great things. I applaude her and would hope that if chosen she doesn't settle for anything less than now.

--and one more - this is the process, let her be chosen and when she is there will be no shortage of tabloid junk for us to "objectively" decide if she is worthy - let her live in peace until she can't anymore (and really isn't her peace way less than the average "Jane the Plummer"....

stresso
12.23.08

I think she is more than qualified. There were these same conversations when our soon to be US SOS Clinton, ran -- she's never held elected office, blah, blah, blah. Look where she is today. I say Go Girl!

mensa63
12.23.08

Have re-checked the Constitution and could not find a word about experience being a criteria for the US Senate. As for the journalist's questions from what I understand they were probing her about personal and private information and if it had been me I would promptly have told them to stick it where the sun don't shine. Contrary to what the public seem to think the people don't have the right to every tid bit of information about people who serve in government. Perhaps that is why there are so many misfits and crooks in our government at all levels because opening one's private life to scrutny has become a criteria to public service a criteria that is keeping good people away. If you want to know who Britney Spears is shacking with this week or if you want to know which drug Paris Hilton is sucking up this week then by all means read your print media but don't expect those who would serve in the public arena to be subject to the same.

bloggingmom67
12.23.08

See for me, it's not Caroline Kennedy's experience or lack of it that bothers me. I tend to agree with you that she's quite accomplished and that holding elective office is not the only measure of being qualified for elective office.

What bothers me is I'm not sure she can shed her privacy cloak she has lived under since she was a child. And that bothers me if she's going to be my senator.

I admire her for shielding her kids from the press, as her mom did. But I was really shocked and saddened when she visited Syracuse (Upstate New York) last week and refused to answer any questions from journalists about her experience.

I don't think she's inexperienced, but I think it's fair for journalists to ask about her experience. And it came across as really arrogant that she refused to even discuss the topic -- or any topic.

Sure, she says she'll come back and discuss it. I doubt that will happen, but even if it does, so what. She can't seek a high-level office and shun the media. Either be in the limelight or not.

That's what bothers me about Caroline Kennedy.

She had a great chance to make Upstate New York, which already feels disenfranchised because most of New York's most powerful leaders are from downstate, feel like she cared. And she failed.