Sunday, January 25, 2009

Caroline Kennedy’s Senate Bid: Dec. 6 to Now

On Dec. 6 I posted Caroline Kennedy New York’s next Senator? It included the following from a NY Times story that day:

Caroline Kennedy, a daughter of America’s most storied political family who for many years fiercely guarded her privacy, is considering whether to pursue the Senate seat expected to be vacated by Hillary Rodham Clinton early next year, a family member said Friday.

“I believe that she is considering it,” said her cousin Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who has spoken to Ms. Kennedy about the matter during the past week. “A lot of people the last couple of weeks have urged her to do it.”

Ms. Kennedy called Gov. David A. Paterson on Wednesday to discuss the position, Mr. Paterson confirmed Friday. The governor will choose a replacement for Mrs. Clinton upon her expected confirmation as secretary of state next month.

“The conversation was informational,” Mr. Paterson said. “She did not express an interest in the Senate, but we talked about the Senate, so I got that she was just trying to get some information to determine whether or not she would like to have an interest in it. And that was it.”

He added, “I haven’t offered the job to anyone.”

Ms. Kennedy, 51, a lawyer who lives in Manhattan, could not be reached on Friday.
Despite Gov. Paterson's caution, it looked to many on Dec. 6 like we were in for another episode of The Camelot Myth, a joint production of Kennedy family pr advisers and fawning media and academic flacks. The Camelot Myth has run continuously since 1961.

But by Dec. 28 I was posting Are Caroline Kennedy’s Chances Weakening? The Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart had listed 5 mistakes Kennedy and her supporters had made; and I added 2 more.

Commenter cks has made detailed, incisive comments noting both why Kennedy might secure the nomination (mostly the power of her name, her wealth and her reputed fund raising ability) and her many shortcomings. Here’s part of one cks comment that gets at the shortcomings:
… Thus, given the Kennedy financial resources (and ability to drum up money) one can see the allure for Paterson to elevate Kennedy to the position.

However, having the money is one thing, possessing political ability is quite another - something that Ms. Kennedy has not (so far) shown.

She has effectively used the Camelot myth (though how much of that was massaged by her Uncle Ted is an interesting question) to help Obama win the election. Though she was a member of his V-P vetting team, one has to question just how much she contributed to that effort. …

She has shown that she is quite inarticulate and has been unable or unwilling to state her positions.

Finally, for someone who considers public service and involvement in politics her family's legacy, how can she get around the fact that she has failed to vote in numerous elections? Was she unaware that elections were going on?
Right in line with cks’s comment was a column by the NY Daily News’ Mike Goodwin which began:
[A] strange thing is happening on the way to the coronation. The wheels of the bandwagon are coming off. Fantasy is giving way to inescapable truth.

That truth is that Kennedy is not ready for the job and doesn't deserve it. Somebody who loves her should tell her.

Her quest is becoming a cringe-inducing experience, as painful to watch as it must be to endure. ...
You’ll find a link to Goodwin’s column in my post: If you love Caroline Kennedy.

Given all the anger, contradictory explanations and scurrilous attacks spewing back and forth today between people, mostly anonymous, MSM identifies as members of either the Kennedy and Paterson camps (but not, it should be acknowledged, from Caroline herself) this Anon comment made days ago was prescient:
I wonder how mawkish Ellen Goodman and other Lefty columnists will get over Kennedy's non-anointment as Senator from Camelot.

"Oh, what might have been if some Kennedy magic dust were spread across the Empire State!" …
So why didn’t the magic dust … spread across the Empire State?

Some reasons bordering on slander are being whispered about. I don’t care to touch them.

And a lot of what we're hearing and reading is just political bafflegab from people who don't know acting as if they did.

But reports that NY's Senior Sen. Chuck Schumer’s unhappiness with being “footman” to “Princess Caroline” helped upend Kennedy's chances should be checked out for many reasons.

Tarheel Hawkeye notes some of them:
The real mystery in the Schumer/Gillibrand saga is why Schumer (who obviously thinks anyone okayed by the NRA is the Devil incarnate) is supporting Gillibrand (who is not only approved by the NRA, but actually believes and accepts the entire Bill of Rights).

To say there's something fishy doesn't quite catch the import of this. There is no greater enemy of the Second Amendment than Schumer; his alignment with Gillibrand begs more inquiries.

Will he get her into the Senate, then cut her legs out from under her when she is challenged by another gun-hating Democrat? To what end?
The plot thickens.

Any upstate New Yorkers out there care to comment?
I hope some do; and I hope many of you will, too.

Final word to No MoDo: I promised to comment and link to you’re blog in this post.

I’m sorry I couldn’t work it in without this already long post getting longer.

But I will as promised respond tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

In light of all that has transpired, the question that baffles is this - why did Caroline Kennedy put her name forward if she was not willing to see it through to the end and why would she go through all of the meet and greet that politics entails without being prepared (with a political agenda) and her personal ducks in a row? Had she drunk too much of the Camelt Kool-aid? DId she really believe that a Kennedy was above the questioning that bedevils other political types?
I suppose that at some point we will have a clearer idea of what really transpired in the New York soap opera - but until then, we are left with the posturings from spokesmen (official and unofficial)and sycophants who are so anxious to paint the other side in the most unflattering of terms.

Expatriate Owl said...

There is no single simple explanation; many come together in the mix. I have to agree that Senator Chuck is the key factor in the selection of Hillary's replacement.

As for turning Princess Caroline's coach into a pumpkin, it probably is not the "reasons bordering on slander" which are now being whispered about. Most of these whisperings have already been making the rounds for many years already, and nobody really, really cares too much about them.

One possible factor in the mix:

New York is actually three separate states: (1) New York City; (2) Long Island; and (3) Upstate (i.e., all that is not NYC and LI). Though the residents of New York City have certain restrictions imposed upon them (e.g., firearms licensing and no right turns at red lights), they also receive many, many privileges. Long Island residents are treated as incompetent Alzheimer's patients, but are milked for their wealth, which is then transferred to NYC. For much of this game, Upstate New Yorkers typically sit on the bench as LI and NYC play.

Schumer, Hillary and David Paterson are all squarely in the NYC camp. They, and Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver, are able to keep control because Long Island and Upstate are so totally foreign from one another that they have never united against NYC.

But as the budget tightens, LI and Upstate are finding increasingly more common grounds. And the one thing the NYC crowd does NOT want is for LI and Upstate to be able to coordinate together.

Paterson had to pick an Upstater, which eliminated Andy Cuomo, Steve Israel and Caroline. Why, then, did he pick Kirsten Gillibrand? Well, not 24 hours passed from the announcement when Carolyn McCarthy (a Long Islander) threatened to run against Kirsten in 2010, on account of the gun control issues.

Selecting Kirsten, then, perpetuates the discord between Long Island and Upstate New York. David (and Chuck, the Man Behind the Curtain) can now continue their political agendas without fear the LI and Upstate will unite against NYC in the next 2 years or longer.

Anonymous said...

Expatriate Owl;

Thank you for the inormation on the political divisions in the Empire State. What you said goes a long way to explain what to anyone not familiar with the inner workings of that state's politics seems unfathomable.
According to a Quinnipiac (sp?) poll of New Yorkers as to who was at fault in the senate seat soap opera - most blamed Kennedy over Paterson for the imbroglio - that she was not sufficiently knowledgeable about the upstate region (tone deaf) and that she would have been yet another for whom there is only one region of NY - the City and that is it. What will be intersting is what happens next - will Headline Chuck remain kingmaker, will the Democrats self-destruct ina primary catfight, or will his honor, the Mayor, deign to get involved in a state fight or instead persist in changing rules so that he can remain as king of NYC?