Waiting For Guinevere

by digby

Jane Hamsher has been questioning the potential Caroline Kennedy appointment for a while. I've been sort of lukewarm on the issue, thinking that Jane is certainly right that there should be no automatic deference simply because baby boomers have warm memories of her as the adorable daughter of the martyred young president of their youth. Neither does being a Kennedy automatically confer some sort of political magic, as we've seen with the younger generation who've had a mixed record of success.

I have been going on the idea that New York, like my state, likes its politicians to be stars, and Caroline, with her pedigree and Garboesque mystique could be expected to have great fundraising prowess and enough celebrity status to win the seat in 2010. But Jane points out that with Kennedy's "signal" today that she is indeed seeking the seat, it really isn't too much to ask that she at least let the public know what her positions on the issues are. There is no record anywhere of what she thinks about policy and merely relying on the fact that she is a Kennedy and endorsed Obama shouldn't be enough. After all, some Kennedys marry GOP cyborgs and there are Republicans who endorsed Obama and have very different ideas on some important issues.

Earlier this year Hillary Clinton was excoriated by certain gasbags for allegedly winning the seat because people felt sorry for her, even by some people who now wax sentimental about the prospect of Senator Caroline. Yet, Clinton was a political figure whose positions on national issues, anyway, were quite well known, and who spent months cultivating New Yorkers and learning about their concerns and developing an agenda for addressing them. By the time of the election, the voters knew exactly where she stood and yet eight years later she was still being belittled for being the recipient of dynastic privilege.

I'm not suggesting that Caroline Kennedy would be subject to Clinton rules by the press, they clearly like her. But the right will make a great deal out of it and it's bound to haunt her. And that changed my hackish calculation. I think Clinton only survived in New York because of the hard political and campaign work she put in and recent hard scrabble political experience in Washington. Kennedy has not given any indication that she's the type of person who has those skills and that makes her a weak candidate for 2010.

If Patterson names her, I won't be surprised. But I also won't expect that New York will necessarily have two Democratic senators after 2010 and that's a shame. Helping the Republicans rebuild their party in the northeast shouldn't be one of the first acts of the new Democratic era.