Caroline Kennedy: Talk to Us
Everything about Caroline Kennedy going for Hillary Clinton’s New York Senate seat – and then abruptly dropping out via a single sentence in a statement – bothers me.
How do you step into a race, demand all this attention by flying around New York State lobbying mayors you’ve never met before in cities you’ve never set foot in and then – in a single sentence in a statement – announce you’re out?
Don’t you owe the public — your public, whom you ostensibly wanted to serve — a bit more respect by spelling out the real reasons beyond it’s “deeply personal?” I think you do.
If you had a nanny, tax or marriage problem, which is what anonymous sources allege, why’d you get into this fray to begin with? Surely you’ve been around politics long enough to know it’d come out.
The truth is that I was bothered by her candidacy from the start when she announced her intention to lobby Gov. David Patterson for the seat — having never served in any elected office or, apparently, on any board or committee where she had to face rigorous questioning before being chosen.
Sure, she no-doubt solicited a ton of money from rich New Yorkers for the New York City public schools that my children attend (for which she accepted just $1 a year) but she hardly had to fight for the job: her neighbor, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, tapped her for it.
And, it doesn’t take a ton of brains to know it was in Bloomberg’s self-interest to choose a rich woman, from a storied political family, to help with the schools. Brilliant for both of them, and of course for families like mine who’ve benefited.
But being a United States senator is a gigantic responsibility — one that should be earned through hard work and public trust, which culminates in a vote by the people.
I love the Kennedys — and Caroline’s cousin Maria Shriver was one of my favorite bosses many years ago — and I have no doubt she would have done a fine job representing New York because she has enough access to support to ensure her success, but doesn’t this whole thing smack of entitlement? Another well-to-do person with connections being tapped for a post that so many other more deserving people had probably earned.
Granted, Caroline Kennedy is an exceptionally smart woman (despite the excessive “you knows”): she went to Harvard, got a law degree from Columbia and has written a number of books. Americans rightly owe her father and two uncles gratitude for their enormous service to our country.
But I know women who have her education, who have accomplished as much or more than she has and whose families have also sacrificed for the country. Yet their names are unknown and their connections aren’t deep, so nobody is tapping them for the most prestigious posts in politics.
We didn’t ask her to throw her hat in the ring. And we didn’t ask her to take herself out. After stringing us along for weeks now, Caroline Kennedy owes us an explanation for what happened. I’m not asking her to open up a vein, just to give us a better sense of what went wrong, especially after asking for New Yorkers to side with her candidacy.