Tearing out my hair

I seriously wasn't going to post on the Caroline Kennedy story any longer. For a shiny, new blog with a small (but dedicated!) readership, it probably doesn't pay to beat things relentlessly into the ground. One day, I hope to be famous enough that people will put up with my being a crank, and will take the time to read my rantings even if I tend to perseverate a bit. (See Sullivan, Andrew, Sarah Palin and)

However, this article was the top story on the Times website when I checked this morning, and I think I am going to completely lose what remains of my sanity. I don't know if someone at the Times hates her and is trying to subtly scuttle her chances, but this article totally doesn't help. Let's read some of the more infuriating bits.

In addition, a person with direct knowledge of the conversations said that Ms. Kennedy and Mr. Paterson had spoken several times in recent days and that the governor had grown increasingly fond of her. The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid antagonizing the governor, said that Mr. Paterson also had come to see Ms. Kennedy as a strong potential candidate whose appointment would keep a woman in the seat and whose personal connections would allow her to raise the roughly $70 million required to hold on to the seat in the coming years.

Fond of her? Fond of her?!? This is a meaningful criterion for selecting a Senator? Why not a cherished family pet? After all, there's precedent.

And that last sentence translates roughly to "Money, money, money, money. Money."

But, unfortunately for my blood pressure, the article doesn't end there. No, no.

Her uncle, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, is struggling with terminal brain cancer, and his illness has forced members of his extended family to contemplate the possibility that the Senate could be left without a Kennedy for the first time in a half century.
Merciful heavens! The Senate, without a Kennedy? Have you fools not read the prophecy? Do you not know that a plague of boils will descend upon you, the pathetic mortal throng, if a Kennedy is not in the Senate? True, the family should probably have gotten its act together and bothered to field a member that had gone to the trouble of getting elected to something, but that's not really their problem. For lo, unless you wish for pestilence and famine to spread across the land, a Kennedy Must Be Named!! Bwaaaaaaaaah, ha, ha, ha!! *thunderclap*

Pardon me as a bang my head against the wall. *thud, thud, thud, thud* Ahhhh. Much better.

Then there's this article. Apparently, Kennedy's "credentials" are "debated." What credentials might those be?

Last spring, she joined the search committee for a new director of the Harvard University Institute of Politics, where she and Senator Edward M. Kennedy, her uncle, are members of an advisory panel.


As one might expect, she is also the consummate insider: When Rupert Murdoch’s young daughter was applying to the Brearley School, Ms. Kennedy, a board member who had attended the school and sent her two daughters there, wrote a letter of recommendation, a News Corporation spokeswoman confirmed.


True to form, Ms. Kennedy declined to be interviewed for this article. But she did cooperate indirectly, freeing a few friends and associates, through an intermediary, to discuss her.
In addition to the above qualifications, Kennedy also raised $70 million for an NYC education program, which is admirable. It's also the kind of thing that rich people spend their time doing, as opposed to working for a living.

So, she's served on a search committee. And wrote a letter for the daughter of a mega-wealthy media tyrant. And she won't talk to the press.

No. No, no, no. If this woman was named something, ANYTHING else, she would be no more in the running for a Senate seat than the corner coffee vendor. Her candidacy is an insult to the (patently naive, I know) idea that our country is a meritocracy. Her claim to the seat is laughable. And, finally, I didn't like it when this one ducked the media, and I certainly don't like it any more when the person in question is a Democrat.

Hmmmm. Maybe I'm more like Sully than I thought.

Update: Or maybe I'm more like Ross Douthat.


  1. I so want to find the flaw in your objections, and cheer Caroline on. I'm realizing it's because I have a weird childhood passion for the Kennedys. I read JFK's Profiles in Courage at a young age, and I even named my pet gerbil "Jack" after JFK. Sadly, he died of a stomach tumor.

    On the other hand, given the chummy, clubby nature of the Senate, and the tendency of most politicians to be brown-nosers, having a Kennedy in the Senate might be great for New York state. Not great for American democracy, but if you're going to have a junior, inexperienced Senator you might as well have one that has influence, pull, charm and cultural power. I don't see her having any problem setting up meetings, building connections, getting on committees and bringing pork home to New York.

  2. What say we just make her a duchess, and be done with it? Caroline, Duchess of Manhattan has a lovely ring to it, and would be closer to the mark than Senator.