What Made Caroline Kennedy Change Her Mind?

Tue, December 16, 2008

Moms & Politics

I’ve been rolling the idea of Caroline Kennedy as a New York Senator around in my head going back and forth between, “Why not?” and “Why her?”

Other than the fact that her last name is Kennedy (well, actually it’s Schlossberg), why would she be a good senator?

On the qualification thing, that’s always subjective. She has a law degree, is a published author on constitutional law, oversees charitable foundations and works to make public education better in New York City. The bigger question the Democrats need to focus on is will she be a good campaigner? She gave a nice speech at the Democratic Convention about Barack Obama and her uncle, Ted Kennedy, but nice isn’t going to cut it in the Senate or on the campaign trail when things get tough.

If Caroline gets the Hillary gig, then she has to run in 2010 to stay in the Senate for the remaining years of the term. I could be wrong, but I really have to wonder if she’s got the fire in the belly and sharp enough elbows to survive a New York campaign, not to mention to the committee rooms of the Senate.

Caroline Kennedy is smart and giving and lovely in the way that so many women we admire are, but given the state of politics today, that’s not enough, even when it’s attached to the Kennedy name, to take on whatever pit bull the GOP would be sure to throw at her when she’s actually got to work for the Senate seat.

Let’s face it — Hillary didn’t have an easy time getting elected the first time around. She worked her tail off with the grand tour of New York State as she convinced people she would advocate tirelessly for them. And she did.

Finding a replacement for Hillary Clinton shouldn’t be about entitlement, but it’s feeling a little bit that way. I’d rather that it be about someone who is passionate enough when it comes to Democratic issues that they won’t be afraid to face down the GOP.

Caroline Kennedy and I have something in common. We’ve faced the big 5-0 recently and are doing fine. But it’s no time to look at a very important Senate seat and have it be part of a mid-life crisis plan.

It’s OK if we don’t have a Kennedy in the Senate — the republic will survive that. But we do need someone in that slot who will fight hard to keep it in 2010. And I really wonder whether Caroline Kennedy can do that.

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6 Responses to “What Made Caroline Kennedy Change Her Mind?”

  1. Holly Says:

    what is her stand on issues? What does she believe in or not? This is my problem, I don’t know enough about her to see if she’d be a good fit.

    Of course I don’t live in NY so maybe that doesn’t matter either.

  2. Mauigirl Says:

    I guess we can’t really know how Caroline Kennedy will be as a candidate – but I’d be willing to bet, with her heritage, that she has plenty of the political savvy and will to fight the GOP to keep that Senate seat if she gets it.

    I can think of worse reasons than turning 50 to inspire someone to run for public office. Turning 50 makes you realize you have limited time on this earth and that if you want to really make a difference, you can’t wait any longer. I think she knows she’s already made a difference in a lot of ways but now she’s ready for a bigger challenge and the ability to make a bigger difference. As a Kennedy, public service is in her blood. She will do a great job, I have no doubt. Maybe Hillary had to work harder because of all the baggage she had…for one thing, she wasn’t a New Yorker when she decided to run so she needed to prove her concern for the people of New York. Caroline Kennedy already has that credibility since she lives here.

  3. Gloria Feldt Says:

    With so many congresswomen who have actually earned the right to run for the senate, I think Gov. Paterson would be wrong to appoint Caroline Kennedy. New Yorkers love celebrity to be sure, but I agree with Punditmom that it Caroline’s elbows aren’t likely to be sharp enough for the realpolitic of Washington.

  4. motherjonesrn Says:

    This is crazy. She’s never held public office before, and she wants to be the next senator from New York. Nothing against Caroline, but other than the her last name, what qualifies her to be a senator? I agree with Mauigirl. Letting her be the next senator would just be wrong.

  5. Kelley Irish Says:

    Politics is just a strange thing. The Senate seems a pretty big first step into politics. On the other hand, perhaps that’s just what the Senate needs. Bring in someone NOT jaded with all the trade off’s necessary to get elected.

    Am I the only one worried that the Kennedy’s do seem to be a target for sharp shooters and mysterious deaths? (I still don’t buy the gact that John would fly his plane into the ocean)

  6. Rosie Conservative Says:

    Just because I go to McDonalds, doesn’t make me a hamburger.

    And just because she is a Kennedy, doesn’t make her a politician.

    She doesn’t have it in her and she knew it.

    On the other hand, maybe after Ted Kennedy had his seizure, she thought, you’d rather replace her uncle, and her fathers senate seat. Hmmmmmmmmm, sounds like a Scooby doo mystery!

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