Monday, December 22, 2008

Sweet Caroline, New York Senator, A scene from "All in the Family"?

Who is this woman, I wonder?

We all know of her public persona - born to privilege into our American version of Camelot, quiet, attentive, and soft spoken mother, author, behind-the-scenes social activist.

Shall we add politician to that now as well?

Over the last week, while letting her intentions be known that she is interested in filling Hillary Clinton's vacated senate seat, she's almost changed overnight, leaving her quiet life behind for a more public one. Traveling the state of New York, hiring consultants, camera's are following her every move, and in taking more questions from reporters, even filled out a short questionnaire done by the NY Times in which she detailed some of her as yet unknown political beliefs. A few are -

- She's pro-choice, for equal rights for gay and lesbian couples, and gun-control.

- Supports withdrawal from Iraq, the path to citizenship for undocumented workers, and the auto bail-out.

Locally, her views are slightly more controversial in that she's a past supporter of Republican Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg and state Democrats want someone in the senate seat who will support upcoming candidates for that election. (Bloomberg is apparently trying to change the law so he can run for a third term.)

People are asking, even Democrats, do we really want another Kennedy in public office, on the national stage? Does her name, her "family heirloom" thereby ensure that she should be given a free pass into political office, this time only needing to convince one voter, New York Governor Paterson, that she is up to the job, even though she has little experience in the political arena?

I don't buy the 'do we want another family heirloom' argument because politics runs in the family all the time. They are hardly the first. Current Attorney General of NY, Andrew Cuomo is also up for the job - his father is Mario Cuomo, the Governor of NY. There's Beau Biden whose being considered to replace his father Joe in DE. Hillary Clinton rode the coattails of a famous family member. In Utah, the Bennett senate seats went from father to son, the Romneys, and heaven forbid the Bush's. And in the farther past, the Adams, the Harrison's. The list goes on and on.

My concern would fall more along the lines in that she has little experience in politics. For a person who obviously guards her privacy, will she be able to handle the scrutiny of public office? So far, she still seems gunshy.

Unlike Hillary Clinton - who only moved to NY the required amount of time to run for office there - Caroline is actually from that state, but Hillary spent alot of time campaigning for months ahead of time, letting the voters get to know her, not just her famous name. Caroline is only now beginning, and it's starting off shakily.

But then again, she only has to convince one voter while Hillary had to convince a whole state.

So, should people be given a free pass just for having a famous name, or in all fairness, should it be earned? Should the little girl pictured below follow in the foot steps of her iconic father?

Somehow, I hope she can.


Ben and Christina said...

You know, we have a lot of career politicians in office, and what good have they done? One politician doesn't change the world, one person is never going to upset the balance of Congress or Senate or whatever. But, one thing I absolutely LOVE about the Kennedys (especially the women) is their generosity, their kindness, their ability to and willingness to help the less fortunate. It is amazing to see a family with such affluence where the women do SO MUCH good. From starting the Special Olympics to helping their Republican husband run for governor, it is amazing to me how they use their talents for good. Now, if it was Paris Hilton running, I would be much more hesitant- but while Caroline may not be a politician at heart, she IS an avid volunteer who has done many great social deeds, and to me, that is makes her more qualified then any amount of years she may have spent in political office.
But, honestly, it doesn't really matter to me who wins- whoever gets it won't really effect my life in any way shape or form.

okbushmans said...

She won't be my Senator, but I find it all very interesting. I think she is a very smart, charitable, honest woman. She is well-spoken and obviously hard-working, when she honestly could have led a cushy life. She is admirable.

(And you knew this was coming...) However, she isn't ready for politics. If she decided to RUN for office, endure a campaign, make her platform known, survive debates, and THEN she won, it would be a different story. This is an appointment, and should be given to someone who has political experience.

What I find deliciously ironic is listening to the same commentators who DESTROYED Sarah Palin (And I apologize bringing her into the discussion, and it was a MUCH bigger office to fill, yada yada yada, I know!) on the basis of 'experience' are now giving Caroline a 'pass' on actual political experience. The door swings both ways, or it should. Caroline has done a lot, she could be considered a 'public servant' in the best sense of the word. But how much has she had to really work for her positions and accomplishments? Just like her name might help her get a senate seat, I'm sure it has helped with ALL of her other endeavors. How much easier to raise money or start an organization when you call someone saying, "Good afternoon, this is Caroline Kennedy"? I'm not trying to diminish her accomplishments, just trying point out a different view.

My point: Appoint someone who is currently in public office and has political experience, and have her run in 2010.

okbushmans said...

Just curious: Let's say, years ago, the Governor of Texas had to appoint a senate seat and he chose a son of a President who has run a company and owned a professional team? Their name was well-known and respected in their great state of Texas. Would the argument hold up?

Ben and Christina said...

Ahh, you misunderstand- there are plenty of reasons to dislike Palin, not the least of which is her inexperience, but even more so her complete incompetence. It's comparing apples and oranges, Palin is definitely NO Caroline Kennedy! Caroline has been involved with politics her entire life, even if she never ran for office, and I hardly think she is incompetent- I am pretty sure she would at least know what a senator needs to do in office. Anyway, there really is just no comparison except the fact that they are both women.

The real question, which is not for us to decide, is who is BEST suited for the job- I am certain everybody running would do a fine job, and whoever was selected would indeed have to run in an election in less then two years, so it isn't like they can really do anything in that short a time frame- they are just one person. I honestly don't know/don't really care who is running/who gets selected, but I do know that I like the Kennedy family, I think they do a lot of amazing things both inside and outside of politics, and it would be interesting if she was selected. (I, personally, have a major crush on JFK- I would have liked to marry him in the after life, but alas, I married Ben instead. Oh, well. I am, however, most excited to find out who really did kill him...something to look forward to in death, I suppose!)

Lula O said...

Ah, Christina, you beat me to the punch! Well said. Other than the XX chromosomes - and that they are both slim hottie mothers and have brown hair - that's really all they have in common.

Caroline has a law degree from Columbia, has penned several books - one on Constitutional law (civil liberties), she's given ALOT of speeches, in front of alot of people.

An interesting point which saddens me, is this: Would this even be an issue if we were talking about Andrew Cuomo, a lawyer from a political family (who yes I know is the current AG, but how hard was it to get that job with that last name, really?)?

Ah, unlikely.

And like okbushman said, if this would've happened in TX, would it be an issue making all the papers??

Sigh. Doubtful.
Maybe we haven't come so far after all.

But alas, not my problem here. We have two wonderfully Republican defenders in Idaho.
Oh, the joy...

okbushmans said...

I'm not comparing Caroline to Sarah, I'm comparing the measuring stick the majority of people are using. Experience has been demanded on both sides (whether Obama, Palin, etc), but defended when it is their guy/gal. I just find that aspect interesting. Even though I disagree with her across the board, I agree Caroline would be 'competent'. Just not 'appointment material'.

Also, something interesting you said caught my eye, "it isn't like they can really do anything in that short a time frame [2 years]- they are just one person." Obama was only a senator for 2 years when he decided to RUN for the highest office in the land. Two years can make a difference, who knows maybe Caroline will feel ready to run for President, just as Obama did!

Ben and Christina said...

I can see it now- Kennedy vs. Palin in `12- oh, let's all hope not! I think we can all agree Obama is not the norm- not everyone can walk on water. Honestly, though, I can't think of anything great he did single-handely as senator-Lulo will have to help me out here.

Hey, I'm typing this all on my Wii-pretty cool, huh?

Lula O said...

You have nimble fingers Christina!
No, I can't think of anything great Obama did while in the senate as far as creating legislation goes. He was a junior senator. They rarely do much. He helped author some on climate change, energy, and election fraud, and better health care for our returning troops, but that's about it. Probably too busy campaigning...

He did go against the norm and vote no initially on the war, which impresses me immensely. It took alot of guts in my book.

I'd love it if Caroline ever ran for president. NY does seem to be a jumping off point in that sort of direction. Hillary Clinton would probably eat her alive though.
Two females in 2012!!

okbushmans said...

Clarification: I was being extremely sarcastic suggesting Caroline for Pres in 2012! If she had any experience writing legislation, working with government agencies, in the next 8 years, go for it. How funny.

Also, a side note, Barack didn't 'vote' against the Iraq war, he wasn't a US Senator until 2006. He voiced his opinion against it, which was unpopular at the time, but on a national stage, his opinion didn't matter.

And Hillary would devour her!

Lula O said...

I didn't know Republican's could be sarcastic.:o)
I thought you ladies only told the absolute truth..
Not me. I lie. Us unreligious lefties do that occasionally.