Monday, December 22, 2008

Senate seat

Well, I had been meaning to comment on this earlier, but Charles Krauthammer beat me to the punch this past weekend. That I was on the same wave-length as a big-shot syndicated columnist like Mr. Krauthammer might speak really well for me, or it might just mean I think I'm a lot more original than I am :P
But anyway, I've had some thoughts in watching Caroline Kennedy and her supporters descend on Hillary Clinton's soon-to-be-vacated U.S. Senate seat representing New York. Yes, there's a certain romanticism about the idea of the only daughter of the late President John F. Kennedy assuming such high public office, and she has something of a reputation in NYC as a positive leader and contributor to the community, being involved in charities, education, as well as foundations connected to her dad.
But the fact is, I'm tired of the sense of entitlement the Kennedys seem to feel for high elected office. This country was founded, in large part, on resistance to a hereditary, aristocratic leadership class. That her father was one of the most impactful U.S. presidents of the last century is certainly a distinguished and respectable heritage. It is NOT a qualification, in and of itself, for the upper house of our national legislature. I'm certain you could find a host of people, in NYC alone, with a resume to match hers- and while it's great what they do for their communities, they're not qualified to be Senators, either. But Caroline Kennedy has a name, and that seems to be enough for many in the Left and the media.
An interesting point was also made by columnist Jonah Goldberg last weekend concerning Ms. Kennedy's sudden prominence, which I'll paraphrase here. This is not the first time this year that a likeable but hugely inexperienced woman has aspired to high national office. The other woman is, of course, Alaska governor and former Republican Vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin. She had at least some years of experience in elected office, and in fact was very well-respected for her performance during that time, compared to Ms. Kennedy's zero. Despite the Left's infatuation with with the concept of 'making the American Dream a reality for all,' Gov. Palin was essentially trashed for being a perfect example of it- a self-made, reform-driven elected official with about as Blue-collar roots as you could ask for (raising a family in a small Alaska town with her steel-worker husband while at the same time managing the state). For what it's worth, and I've said it before, I don't think she was experienced enough to be VP either. But her leftist critics have been exposed as partisan frauds; any objection to her on the grounds of her inexperience as a disqualifier, coming from them at least, lost any credibility in the way they've practically beatified Caroline. Gov. Palin's real liability was that she wasn't 'their kind' of female candidate; but Caroline Kennedy is.
Ms. Kennedy has spent no time whatsoever in elected office of any kind, received the Ivy-League education characteristic her privileged upbringing, and has lived largely out of the spotlight. Given the tragedies that have plagued her family, an aversion to exposure is certainly understandable. But it doesn't take from the contention that her nomination is based on the fact that as far as the Democratic establishment is concerned, its royal family's political bloodline needs to be preserved as well as can be done. Her uncle Ted's long Senate career in coming to a close as he battles a malignant brain tumor, and while I mean no disrespect to his situation or the myriad trials that his family has indeed faced, his departure seems to signal an even greater need for the family's supporters to gloss over her nonexistent political resume and get her into that seat while it's open to begin the next dynasty. Democrats love to imagine that every Kennedy is going to be another John F., regardless of how much or little each individual family member has done to deserve the honor, trust, and responsibility that comes with the positions they aspire for.
While the Constitution specifically prohibits the bestowal of "titles of nobility" (Article I, section 10), apparently when it comes political office, some just deserve it more.


  1. Speaking of asking respectful questions: Please explain for the politically illiterate among us just what this amazing legacy JFK left us actually was. Near as I can tell, he was mostly a young, good looking philanderer with a pedigree that, upon closer inspection, was mostly just variations on the same theme. I agree with Goldberg's observation, and I wish the hypocritical left could hear us, since we're yelling it loudly enough: Not all of us are enamored of the idea of American Royalty. But if they insist on dubbing themselves thus, then could they at least imitate the Brits and limit their exposure to hand waving and ribbon cutting?

  2. I agree with DeNae. The only thing I remember hearing about JFK's time in office that he was so handsome and he had an affair with Marilyn Monroe and he was assassinated. Does anyone even remember the issues for which he stood? I'd be interested to know if Caroline even does.

  3. I love your blog! I knew you were philosophical, but you know some serious stuff! Keep it coming! Love, Sis. Perriton