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.