Thanks for picking up a gauntlet that I didn't drop. As you might have gleaned from what I actually wrote, I specifically said that Americans, especially New Yorkers, "don't owe Caroline Kennedy anything." That doesn't mean, however, that Americans -- and New Yorkers, especially -- don't respond instinctively to the charismatic power of particular brand names, with the political brand name "Kennedy" among the most powerful: both in a positive sense for Democrats and a negative one for Republicans. Two sides of the same coin, really. Love/Hate. That sort of thing. Nonetheless, Democratic and Republican politicians alike would kill for just half the name-recognition, media magnetism, and fund-raising appeal that Caroline Kennedy brings to the table, so to speak. I think the currently shakey Governor Patterson of New York appreciates this as well as anyone.
I also said that Republicans -- unfortunately a demographic consisting at times of more than half of all Americans if you include in their ranks the so-called "Reagan Democrats" -- love monarchy when it serves and/or entertains them. Republicans demonstrated this overwhelmingly when they collectively found the royal pull of the "Bush Dynasty" too overwhelming to resist, twice. I can still remember reading about the year-2000 primary contest in South Carolina where the base of the Republican Party -- now temporarily discredited (again) -- chose Dubya (over McCain) because they "really liked his daddy." I report. You decide.
I didn't invent these powerful societal forces. I only mentioned them as part of a response to some really nasty people on another blog who don't know much about the history of colonial and post-colonial America. Anyone who visits the supermarket check-out counter in America, for example, cannot help but notice the blaring tabloid headlines of the National Perspirer extolling the latest lurid exploits of the slutty British royal family, especially not just the now long-deceased Princess Diana but her two "princely" sons, as well. For a great many Americans, if they can't legally have the "royal" British "first family" themselves, then they'll take Elvis Presley, Bill Clinton, or Arnold Schwarzenegger: all of whom come close enough to native "Hollywoood" royalty for bumkin/yokel American tastes.
Caroline Kennedy, though, stands in a class all her own, for reasons that most Americans implicity understand, but will -- like you -- never admit to themselves or others. For my part, I only sought to describe the emotional pull that the Kennedy name exerts in-and-over the country in general and that the personal, often tragic, history of Caroline Kennedy and her family elicits even more deeply. And I tell you now that when Senator Ted Kennedy finally loses his struggle with brain cancer, that the mystical appeal of the Kennedy name in American politics will only grow even stronger still. I didn't invent this phenomenon of national identification. I have just lived through it and witnessed its power, for good and otherwise.
Like most politicians in America -- and especially New York -- Caroline Kennedy will have to kiss the hirsute Hebrew hindquarters of the AIPAC Israeli lobby every bit as shamelessly and obsequeously as You-Know-Her and Barack Obama have enthusiastically done if she seriously wants to win elections in America. I don't like that or admire that or want to see one more day of that pandering to a foreign dependent parasite. Nevertheless, I recognize that little I can say or do will make American politicians listen to me and not Israel and its self-styled "friends." On the other hand, Caroline Kennedy opposed Deputy Dubya's stupid vendetta in Iraq, as did Barack Obama, and so old-anti-war-me supports her political candidacy (for whatever office) as long as she can work for it through bringing her intellect and talents to bear on the task of peacemaking. I think, objectively, that she has conducted her life pretty well to date and has done an effective job championing the Barack Obama candidacy which, you might have noticed, succeeded rather convincingly in large part due to the early and enthusiastic support of Caroline and Senator Ted Kennedy. Did you miss this famous-name-exploiting stuff somehow?
Caroline Kennedy, I have no doubt, will make every bit as good, if not better, Senator for her home state than You-Know-Her ever did with her flag-burning Constitutional amendment stunts and anti-violent-cartoon crusades. Really, what has Senator You-Know-Her ever done of consequence for either New York or America other than make damn sure that millions of Americans haven't had health care for almost two decades?
So I dispute your comments about New York's junior Senator You-Know-Her, whose purely family association with a former popular husband/President -- most notably one made even more popular due to his tom-cat aristocratic sexual misadventures -- absolutely gained her an instantaneous Senate seat in New York without her ever having lived in that state. Caroline Kennedy, on the other hand, has lived in New York for a great part of her adult life and has long involved herself in worthwhile endeavors beneficial to the people of that state. I really don't get your beef with Ms. Kennedy. What has she ever done but keep her name clean and loyally try to assist the interests of the Democratic Party and less-advantaged Americans?
But so what? I once expressed the same anti-entitlement views as you just have to my son Vincent, the New Yorker, at the time of You-Know-Her's carpetbagging arrival for her "entitled" senatorial corronation. He frankly told me -- as I think most New Yorkers would have -- that he wanted someone well-known and well-connected to represent his state and that the Republicans had only offered up a complete "putz" in the person of the unknown Representative Rick Lazio. Remember him? Vince also said that New Yorkers understood perfectly that You-Know-Her had only descended upon them and their Senate seat as a temporary stepping stone to the Presidency. But New Yorkers didn't care, my son said, so long as You-Know-Her's family fame as "first lady" could do something for New York until such time as she left for other pursuits. The alacrity with which You-Know-Her has just bailed out of New York for Washington and the State Department (once New York no longer served her ambitions) neither surprises nor offends realistic New Yorkers who now only want someone else, equally -- if not more -- well-known and effective to represent their state. After all, New Yorkers had no problem electing Caroline's assassinated uncle Bobby Kennedy Senator when he moved to New York from Massachusetts to further just the same political ambitions as You-Know-Her has thankfully failed to achieve. As a (once) New Yorker yourself, it surprises me that I should have to explain all this to you.
Finally, getting back to those other "qualified" candidates for New York Senator (I don't know the plural of "putz"), but I've never heard of any of them other than some guy with the last name of "Cuomo," who seems to have some limited appeal due the fact that another guy with that name -- his father -- once served as Governor of New York. Do you not see the overwhelming irony of all this "qualification" stuff staring you in the face? New Yorkers as I have known them in all their in-your-face "humility" really do seem to think that their state's U. S senators should rise to somethig approximating international stature. Unfortunately, New York politics tends to produce much mediocre local talent and so importing -- not the case with Caroline Kennedy -- someone famous to fill a Senate seat often has to suffice for an "important" state like New York. Again, I would have thought that you understood this.
I could go on and on and on, but I think I've made my point. In my earlier post, I described the national emotional bond that Caroline Kennedy enjoys -- to her possible political benefit. She did not, however, plot to have her own father and uncle shot and killed in order to win this deep and abiding affection: one that might just come in handy in seeking higher office in which to further serve the country. And I will repeat again, as one who has noticed the last forty years in which no American has set foot upon the moon (or done much else of significance in Space), that if another president named Kennedy had put forth a "vision" for exploring our solar system -- instead of the cynical joke perpetrated upon the country by Deputy Dubya Bush -- that we would already have very large telescope arrays (optical and radio) on the far side of the moon and colonies on Mars. It does make a very significant difference WHO challenges the country to do WHAT. Deputy Dubya asked us to go "war" by going shopping. I suspect that a President (or even just Senator) Caroline Kennedy would set the nation's sights a great deal higher than that. The country would respond, too. It tends to do that, given the right sort of personal example in the "leadership."
I do agree with you about vigorous contests to select our politial office-holders. If nominated by Governor Patterson (who inhereited his own office after Governor Elliot Spitzer had to resign in disgrace) Caroline Kennedy will have to run for re-election in only two short years. But the same goes for any other qualified "putz" the governor (accompanied by his own multiple-mistress scandals) might appoint. The only real issue here involves the appointed Democratic Party Senator running as an incumbent, which helps greatly but does not guarantee success in every election.
It also seems obvious to me (and othe sentient carbon-based life forms) that the Senate seat now occupied by the already-departed You-Know-Her will not become truly open while the Always-Indecisive-One dawdles until the last possible moment of her own State Department confirmation. No sense boldly taking any chances with a solidly Democratic Senate majority. Anything could happen, you know. But I'll go ahead and draw the crayon sketch anyway, just to leave no stone unturned in making my point. This extended period of unnecessary vacilation in resigning by You-Know-Her can only serve to delay consolidation of the Democratic Party ticket in New York (about which You-Know-Her could not give a shit) and damage, if possible, the political fortunes of Caroline Kennedy -- potentially the first woman President in American history. Republicans can only rejoice as their stalking-mare heroine You-Know-Her, once again seems determined to work tirelessly against those Democrats the Republicans fear most: like first Barack Obama and now Caroline Kennedy.
But, anyway, Caroline Kennedy has more than done her share to help the national Democratic Party over the past two years. In addition to stumping tirelessly for President-elect Barack Obama, Caroline Kennedy also helped pick Joe Biden (no favorite of mine) as Barack Obama's successful running mate. In spite of all that hard work and team-playing, though, she will still have to work more and compete harder for whatever she wants to achieve in political life. I've never maintained otherwise. I just happen to also admit that she has impressive, if not unique, qualifications and legitimate name recognition that can help not just herself but other Democratic Party candidates defeat even more repudiated Republican Party candidates, wherever they still lurk. If Caroline Kennedy can help defeat Republicans for both the Senate seat of New York and Presidency of the United States, I really don't see what possible objection you could have to that desirable outcome.
The Kennedy name in American political life should not guarantee anyone anything. Neither, though, should it absolutely disqualify any Kennedy who has done nothing but advance the interests of the Democratic Party and the United States of America.
If you care to actually dispute the real issues here, I'll play. I can't, after all, spend each and every minute of my day sculpting Taoist relief gargoyles. I can still work in a few minutes writing poems and non-existentialist essays about whatever. So, my friend, back to you ...