Hey, Caroline — You’re Not Entitled

Caroline Kennedy thinks that she is entitled to be appointed — or, more appropriately, coronated — as the next junior senator from New York.

She shouldn’t be. Think about it.

Her qualifications? Her name is Kennedy and she can raise a lot of fat-cat money for herself and for New York Democrats who support her.

Is there a more cynical message in the Age of Obama?

Her strategy? Ignore the voters and the press and meet with political bosses behind closed doors to convince them to pressure Gov. David Paterson to appoint her to Hillary Clinton’s seat.

Among her chief backers is New York City’s billionaire mayor, Michael Bloomberg, who recently decided to ignore a legitimate and binding citywide referendum that prohibited him from seeking a third term. In one of the most appalling examples of an arrogant “the public be damned” attitude, Bloomberg convinced the City Council to overrule the will of the people so he could stay in City Hall. He’s a big contributor to many of the folks who supported this brazen move. Legendary Tammany Hall boss Carmine De Sapio would love both Bloomberg and Caroline for bringing back the old “power to the bosses” style of politics.

Her position on issues that will face the next senator? She won’t tell you. She’s adamantly refused to speak about any issues. In her first foray outside Manhattan, she declined all questions from the press. Her handlers provided written answers to some of the questions posed by The New York Times. She ignored some of the tough issues — like whether she supports increased taxes for rich people.

Her involvement in politics? Not much. She campaigned for Obama and worked on his committee that recommended the vice presidental candidate. She’s never been active in New York politics and she hasn’t even voted in about half the contested elections in New York since 1988.
Her experience?

· She is a longtime patron of the American Ballet Theatre
· She is active in her father’s presidential library
· She was a part-time volunteer fundraiser for the NYC schools for less than two years
· She’s co-authored two books on civil liberties and one on Britain’s sex scandal involving John Profumo
· She’s written four books. She is at her most derivative in her published works. Of four New York Times best-sellers, three of them were compilations of other people’s work. One was The Patriot’s Handbook: Songs, Poems, Stories, and Speeches Celebrating the Land We Love. The only thing these songs, poems, stories and speeches had in common was that she didn’t write any of them. Then followed The Best-Loved Poems of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. In this book she not only didn’t write the poetry, she didn’t even choose it. Her third best-seller was A Family of Poems: My Favorite Poetry for Children, again a compilation of works that were not her own. In her most recent book, Profiles in Courage for Our Time, she swiped only the title from her late father but wrote the copy herself.
· She hasn’t had a full-time job since before she went to law school in the 1980s.


Why should Caroline be appointed senator?

Does anyone seriously believe that her audacious grab for the New York Senate seat is based on anything more than a misplaced and somewhat grandiose sense of entitlement, coupled with a cynical claim of access to big money for the next election?

If her name weren’t Kennedy, would anyone give any consideration at all to someone without any experience to prepare her for the job or even to inform the voters about what she stands for?

Is there a single person in the United States who doesn’t wish Caroline Kennedy well and hope that she’s spared from further tragedy?

Probably not.

But affection, sympathy and nostalgia shouldn’t be the basis for appointing this woefully inexperienced woman to a key Senate seat in these troubles times.

Her father’s and uncle’s names are the only things that make her a contender.

Doesn’t anyone use his own name anymore? Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of the former president, wants to take the Senate seat of Hillary Clinton, the wife of the former president. But some people are pushing for Andrew Cuomo, the son of the former governor. Are we stuck in political dynasties? And who will make the decision? New York’s David Paterson, the son of Basil Paterson, the former New York State senator, secretary of state and deputy mayor of New York City.

Don’t we have any talented people who don’t feel entitled to inherit a seat? Can’t we stop the political dynasties?

At least Cuomo has his own accomplishments. He was the secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Clinton administration, and as the elected New York state attorney general, he’s done an outstanding job. Caroline Kennedy has done absolutely nothing to deserve elevation to the United States Senate. A review of hundreds of newspaper articles mentioning her name over the past 20 years show rare substantive issues: her books, awarding the Profiles in Courage Award to Lowell Weicker for instituting an income tax in Connecticut, and fundraising for the city schools. Even in that regard, her influence is questioned and others are given as much or more credit. The majority of the articles are about her wedding, her mother, her brother, her socialite activities and her auction of her mother’s old blankets, picnic baskets and other household effects.

No, Caroline has not been heard from on any of the important issues facing New Yorkers.

Paterson will probably appoint Cuomo anyway, for one simple reason: to get him out of the way. Acutely aware that he was not elected governor but only got the job when Eliot Spitzer self-destructed, Gov. Paterson would probably face an uphill primary fight against Cuomo in 2010 if he doesn’t shunt him off into the Senate. Other than the attorney general, there is nobody with the stature to offer Patterson serious opposition in the Democratic Party.

So, Caroline, you’re not entitled.

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