pageok
pageok
pageok
Caroline Kennedy:

December 16, 2008

Jerry MacArthur Hultin

President, Polytechnic Institute of New York

Dear Pres. Hultin:

I am writing to inform you that I have decided to offer myself for consideration for the Chaired Professorship in Physics and Chemistry at your distinguished institution. As you are no doubt aware, my father, Benjamin Post (1911-1994), held this position for many years (when the institution was known as "Brooklyn Polytechnic," or more familiarly, "Brooklyn Poly") and was an important part of the x-ray crystallography unit that helped establish Poly's pre-eminence in that field. Though I have chosen a different career path up to this point, I believe that, for many reasons I would be happy to discuss with you in person, the time is now ripe for me to ascend to the position that has been waiting for me, and I for it, all these years. I look forward to working with you and your colleagues as we embark down this new road together.

Sincerely yours,

David G. Post

Mark E.Butler (mail):
Nice!

(On the other hand, might she be an easier target for Republicans in 2010 than someone who actually knows what he/she is doing?)
12.16.2008 9:11am
Lesser Ajax:
It's hardly fair to compare chemistry and physics to being a Senator. The sciences are impossible without years of intensive technical training, whereas Senators are considered reasonably effective as long as they don't try to have sex with too many cops in airport bathrooms.
12.16.2008 9:16am
wm13:
What Lesser Ajax said. It is well-established among liberal Democrats that being a family member of an elected politician is more than enough qualification to serve as senator, at least from New York. Deny it who can.
12.16.2008 9:25am
Tucker (mail):
They should change their name from the Democrats to the Aristocrats and just be done with it.
12.16.2008 9:28am
Allan (mail):
Too many dynasties.

It is a scandal that children/spouses routinely follow the footsteps of parents. See - Clinton, Bush, Adams...
12.16.2008 9:30am
DNL (mail):
I want to know what Ms. Kennedy said to Gov. Patterson in arguing that she is qualified to be Senator. Is that conversation (or the notes thereof) accessible via a FOIL (state FOIA) request?
12.16.2008 9:33am
Virginian:
I don't know what is worse...a Kennedy who thinks they are qualified for whatever important job they want based on nothing other than their name...or the idiots who agree with them.

And to think that Democrats make fun of Republicans for wanting to relive the Reagan glory days.
12.16.2008 9:33am
Houston Lawyer:
She probably has more accomplishments than the President Elect.

They have to take her, she's a legacy.
12.16.2008 9:36am
Hank:
I oppose Kennedy because I oppose family dynasties in politics and the sense of entitlement that seems to accrue to family members. At the same time, the analogy with seeking a scientific position is unfair. Kennedy is a lawyer and has written popular books about constitutional rights. Thus, even if Kennedy is qualified, I oppose her selection because she is a Kennedy (unless there is no equally qualified non-Kennedy available).

(It is too bad that politicians, such as Obama and Biden, are afraid to argue that they are better qualified than their opponents because they, and not their opponents, are lawyers. But that is part of the political prejudice against people who are elite, as opposed to people with whom one would have a beer -- though some of us might prefer to have a beer with an elite person.)
12.16.2008 9:55am
Anderson (mail):
Funny.

But I've been thinking that Caroline K. is getting a bad rap. How many senate races are exactly merit contests?

It makes as much sense to appoint a responsible member of a family with a history of public services as it does to, oh, elect Dubya as governor of Texas.
12.16.2008 9:55am
krs:
The surname should be a strike against her. All of the good Kennedys have been gone for decades.
12.16.2008 9:59am
wm13:
Anderson, George Bush was elected by the people of Texas, not appointed at the behest of his uncle. If you think that that doesn't make any difference, then you need to sketch out your anti-democratic philosophy a little more fully, not presume that everyone shares it.
12.16.2008 9:59am
Hank:
wm13, Anderson did not express an anti-democratic philosophy. He simply disagreed with the outcome of a democratic election. Consider also that Bush was not democratically elected to be in the position to seek to be a candidate for governor; i.e., he did not enter politics at the bottom and work his way up. He got there by means of his father's name and money.
12.16.2008 10:04am
wfjag:

They have to take her, she's a legacy.

Houston, how dare you compare New York Dem Party politics to the Delta frat in Animal House.

The differences are so obvious. Just to name a few. Ahh. Ummm. Well, I get back to you on that.
12.16.2008 10:05am
Mongoose388:
The argument is unfair. Being Senator does not require a specific set of skills like a science position. I'm willing to bet that if we match resumes, Caroline's resume does pretty well against some sitting senators (including her uncle Ted's). Even though he was elected ole Ted wasn't that qualified either when he ran the first time.
My objection against her appointment is that it continues the legacy policy, which is a form of discrimination against those not in the political elite. It continues to deny everyone an equal chance at power.Lets hope Patterson see's through this (pun intended).
12.16.2008 10:11am
Al Maviva:
the Aristocrats???

So this poltically-oriented family walks into this governor's office, and the father, Joe, says, "we have this public service routine we'd like to show you... the one grandson then starts giving a Lewinsky to a Central American communist dictator, another grandson actually removes his own brain and starts talking about the health threats posed by vaccination against common childhood diseases, while one of his sons drives this tiny clown car into a fountain in the foyer of the governor's office. Meanwhile, another member of the family pulls out some skis, and a football, and stands on top of a cabinet in the governor's office, while a couple others start doing blow and tequila shots with some random woman..."

Tucker, the humorous subtext of your comment aside, I agree on the merits. A name change to "The Aristocrats" would at least allow the average person to understand that the term "Democrat" is meant utterly ironically, and it's okay to bust a gut every time you see somebody like any Kennedy or John Corzine or Jeane Carnahan with a "D" after their name. Similarly, in the wake of Duke Cunningham, Ted Stevens, David Vitter, Senator Wide Stance and Jack Abramoff, I believe we are meant to guffaw at the utterly ironic name, "Republican" with its laughably disconnected connotation of respect for the rule of law. It occurs to me that for most of my life, I have not been in on the joke that is American politics. *Now* I get it.
12.16.2008 10:17am
Monty:
As much as I may not like Senator Clinton, she was a public political figure before RUNNING. She had gotten involved in a number of controversial issues as first lady, and while previously unelected, we had an idea what we were getting beyond the name. She was ELECTED after facing a pretty serious general election challange.

If Paterson wants the seat to go to Kennedy, he should appoint a caretaker to the office who will not run in 2010, at which point Kennedy can make a legitimate run for the office. Even if something goes wrong and the worst were to happen, a loss in the general election, the seat would be up again in 2012 for the democrats to take back.
12.16.2008 10:18am
wm13:
Could someone fill me in on Caroline Kennedy's resume? She went to Harvard (not a major accomplishment if your name is Kennedy), she went to Columbia Law School (I'm underwhelmed), and she's a perfectly pleasant New York socialite.

As (I think) Ross Douthat said, if you look at where they started and what they have achieved, Sarah Palin has a life story about six times as impressive as Caroline Kennedy's. If the Charles Frieds of the world don't speak up loudly against the Kennedy appointment, they are really beneath contempt.
12.16.2008 10:20am
Smallholder (mail) (www):
Wm13 and Tucker:

You, sirs, are counterproductive partisan hacks.

Your factual basis is correct: The Democrats do have some dynasties (Clintons, Kennedys, Cuomos).

But your tone makes it seem that this is a solely Democratic party failing (or Aristocrat, if Tucker prefers).

The Republicans have their dynasties too - and the current ruling dynasty has worked out badly for us. Or, if you are one of the dead-ender supporters, you will have to at least admit the current dynasty worked badly for the Republican party itself in the recent election.

Notice the next sentence - BOTH parties have the problem of blind partisanship. But we should condemn it in both.

And right now, the Republican party is desperately in need of a log removal from their own eye before the criticize the mote in the Democratic side. Using the "The Dems did it too" doesn't make the Republicans more competitive.

Examples:

A Republican gets caught in a corruption scandal. Partisan hack response: "Well, Jefferson had cash in his freezer." Oops, Jefferson is gone now - as he should be.

A Republican gets caught saying something racist: "Byrd was in the Klan!" Yes. And he is a putz. But trying to excuse 2008 boneheadedness by making a comparison to fifty year old boneheadness is just excusing boneheadedness in general.

Sarah Palin says remarkably ignorant things during the course of the campaign: "Obama thinks there are 57 states!" Dude, comparing a fatigue-induced slip of the tongue to blanket ignorance still leaves you with a weak candidate. And heck, if you care about the Republican party and are making excuses for Palin, you are stepping on the gas while the party heads for the cliff in 2012. Sanford (competent, actually works for smaller government) is the future - not the Barracuda.
12.16.2008 10:20am
Observer:
Hilarious! I can almost forgive Post for his ignorant comments on Sarah Palin now.
12.16.2008 10:21am
George Smith:
This from the party that elected a Senator whose only qualification was that she was a "mom in tennis shoes."
12.16.2008 10:23am
Cornellian (mail):
Not analogous since JFK was never a Senator from New York.

I already think we have so much dynastic politics in this country we're at risk of looking like a banana republic and on that basis hope Gov. Paterson finds someone else.

One of the things I like about Obama has nothing to do with his views on any issue, it's the simple fact that he came from nothing, instead of riding the coattails of his famous, well-connected relatives.
12.16.2008 10:23am
wm13:
I'm with Cornellian about Obama (and that doesn't happen too often). It has been disturbing to me that recent presidential elections have tended to feature the senator's son, the president's son, the admiral's son, the president's wife, etc.
12.16.2008 10:28am
Sarcastro (www):
I agree with wm13. This Kennedy lady has a lot of gaps in her past. Do we really konw who she is, who her friends are?

Who is her pastor? What were her grades like? Where was she born? Do we have proof of her parentage? Could Malcom X have slipped in there somehow?
12.16.2008 10:33am
Randy R. (mail):
Look, I love the Kennedy's as much as any red blooded Democrat. But this is just ridiculous. On other blogs I see people who think Caroline would be great because, well, she's an attorney, and she wrote a book. And helped NYC schools or something.

But she never practiced law. Big deal -- she wrote a book. So did lots of people.

This woman did nothing at all to help Obama win his campaign, and did little or nothing to help the Dems win this election. NOw that the coast is clear, she steps in and wants the spoils! Now that's gutsy, but not is a way that makes me happy.

I've asked many people who support her, what is her agenda? What does she want to accomplish? Goals? Policies? No one can say, but somehow they all support her. Why, I don't know.

And I come from upstate NY -- Buffalo, actually. There is a wonderful congressman there, Brian Higgins, who actually knows what is going on and has a record of solid accomplishments for the region. He should be senator before Caroline, who has never even been to upstate NY as far as I can tell. She won't give a damn about Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and instead will use the Senator position to advance her causes. Well, that's great, but it doesn't do much for the people in upstate.
12.16.2008 10:35am
Joey Plummer (mail):
re: Houston Lawyer and wfjag

...Senator Flounder?

wasn't there an out if the legacy in question was a real closet case?
12.16.2008 10:37am
NowMDJD (mail):
What qualifications does it take to be a senator?

Will she be an articulate spokesman for her point of view?

Can she raise money?

Can she campaign well?

Will she be honest? Will she appoint a capable, honest staff?

Within the constraints of her political philosophy, will she have reasonable judgment with regard to issues and legislation?

I would anticipate voting against her, or against anyone else Patterson is likely to appoint because of disagreement with their political views. But she seems qualified enough for the job. She seems more qualified than some of the hacks whose names have been bandied about.
12.16.2008 10:50am
U.Va. Grad:
wm13:

This NYT article has a good run-down of her "qualifications." I'm not sure exactly what angle they intended to come from here, but she doesn't come out of it looking all that great.

--Experience with bureaucratic infighting: she spent six weeks convincing the board of the Harvard Institute of Politics (on which she and Ted Kennedy sit) to choose former Nashville mayor Bill Purcell as a new director. Purcell left after just one year to become Dean of the School of Public Affairs at Tennessee State, and they had to look for a director all over again.

--Insider connections: Kennedy wrote a letter of recommendation for Rupert Murdoch's daughter to get into a tony private elementary school.

--Political maneuvering: As director of fundraising for the New York City Schools (her last paying job, with a three-day work week and a dollar-a-year salary), she successfully raised over $70 million from private sources. Although chunks of this money came from a tag sale in Central Park (!!), there is one pretty impressive accomplishment here: convincing Bill Gates to give the city schools $51 million despite his personal animosity for Chancellor Joel Klein.

--Winning elections: she campaigned for Obama for six weeks and helped pick Biden. As part of the latter role, she wrote a long memo to Obama weighing the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate.

So, to recap, she:

--Convinced the small board of an institute at a school named for her father to pick her choice for director, who subsequently left after a year.
--Wrote a letter to the school she went to as a child urging them to admit Rupert Murdoch's daughter.
--Convinced Bill Gates to give the NYC schools a lot of money (again, I think this is a pretty good one).
--Campaigned for Obama for six weeks.
--Helped Obama pick Biden, in part by writing a long research memo, something first-year associates at law firms are expected to do.
12.16.2008 10:54am
Allan (mail):
Qualifications? Are we really asking about qualifications?

From a country that elected George W. Bush and Barack Obama president, the thought is amusing.
12.16.2008 10:57am
BT:
You think you have it bad in NY? Jessie Jackson Jr's lawyer says he (Jackson, that is) is entitled to Obama's senate seat!!! Thank God for Rod the Mod who has effectively taken out JJ Jr's groveling and pathetic attempt to get into the US senate.
12.16.2008 11:03am
Al Maviva:
For the record, I see no reason not to appoint Ms. Kennedy. She is at least as qualified to be a Senator as anybody. The requirements are:

No person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the age of thirty years, and been nine years a citizen of the United States and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of that state for which he shall be chosen.

That's it. There's nothing about having attended Harvard Law (though she may have for all I know) or being a wise judicious person or highly experienced in public affairs. If Gov. Patterson trusts her judgment to be a Senator, that's good enough for me. Highly educated, well connected, highly experienced jackasses have proved very good at running the country into the ground over the last several years, and the financial sector bailout does a pretty good job of showing how clueless the smartest guys in the room actually are. Even though I disagree with Ms. Kennedy's politics, what I know of them from her limited public persona anyhow, I'm willing to give the amateur a shot. She may surprise us, and at the very worst, she's starting from the position of merely being incompetent for the position, rather than having a proven track record of being incompetent and corrupt, like so many of her would-be colleagues.
12.16.2008 11:03am
Sean O'Hara (mail) (www):

...Senator Flounder?


That's Senator Blutarsky.
12.16.2008 11:05am
wm13:
Allan, I don't get your comment, which echoes that of Anderson above. If we had a long campaign, in which Caroline Kennedy raised money, fielded a campaign organization, participated in debates with the other candidates, and convinced the voters that she was the best candidate, then I would have no problem with that process. But when a senator is being appointed, as when judges are appointed, it seems to me that the party doing the appointment has the obligation to choose someone who can be plausibly be considered the best-qualified person, not merely one of several thousand reasonably bright New York socialites with substantial inherited money and powerful relatives.
12.16.2008 11:10am
Hank:
This woman did nothing at all to help Obama win his campaign, and did little or nothing to help the Dems win this election. Now that the coast is clear, she steps in and wants the spoils! Now that's gutsy, but not is a way that makes me happy.

Randy R. (who wrote the above), do you mean to imply that if she had helped Obama or other Dems win the election, that should be a factor in whether Patterson should select her? That may be how politics works, but it shouldn't be, because she should be selected on the basis of her qualifications, not as a payback.
12.16.2008 11:10am
Tucker (mail):
I'm open to any disrespectful nicknames for the Republicans...

Smallholder, it's remarkable you got that much out of a 17-word post.
12.16.2008 11:13am
DiversityHire:
Shouldn't there be some kind of affirmative action to help-out the American Aristocrats that aren't doing so well? Isn't there a DuPont, a Vanderbilt, a Getty, or a Hearst laying around in NY that could fill the seat? I bet Ala von Auersperg doesn't have a lot to do right now.
12.16.2008 11:35am
Joey Plummer (mail):
Sean:
Nah I am sure Bluto was elected--probably in the Watergate fallout election of '74. He and Babs, if I remember correctly, bought a co-op in Georgetown next to Sally Quinn.
12.16.2008 11:46am
Mike Keenan:
Actually, you should be writing to the head of the chemistry department at UC Berkeley and asking to be named to a chaired professorship. That would be a better analogy for you. Mass is to New York as Poly is to Berkeley.
12.16.2008 11:47am
Suzy (mail):
I assume one reason she garners support is her ability to raise money for a future run and for the Democratic party as a whole, as well as her instant celebrity status. She would be a media magnet. So I understand why at some level it's a pragmatic choice.

The problem is, if those are your values, then what does that say? Wouldn't it be terrific to appoint someone who has carefully demonstrated the ability and character, yet who perhaps wouldn't normally have access to the race precisely because of no name recognition? You know, someone who actually gets the job done rather than seeking the spotlight? That would say something to me about good values.
12.16.2008 12:12pm
Cornellian (mail):
Insider connections: Kennedy wrote a letter of recommendation for Rupert Murdoch's daughter to get into a tony private elementary school.

This is what I dislike about the appointment. I have no doubt she's well connected and that she can use those connections to make that happen that a nobody might not be able to do. But this is essentially an argument that we Senators should be chosen from among the class of well connected people, which really grates on my republican sensibilities. I don't want a Senate filled with the friends of Rupert Murdoch (or any other billionaire). I want someone who can 1) hold the seat in the next election 2) understand the issues 3) articulate his/her positions on the issues and defend those positions under vigorous questioning and 4) has a genuine interest in questions of policy. He/she doesn't have to agree with me on every issue, just on a few fundamentals.
12.16.2008 12:14pm
Seamus (mail):
Not analogous since JFK was never a Senator from New York.

But Uncle Robert was. In fact, RFK held the very same seat. It's getting to the point that the seat is an entry-level elective office for relatives of famous politicians. Goodell and Moynihan are the only holders of the seat since 1965 who don't fit that pattern (although it could be argued that Sen. Buckley's brother Bill wasn't really a politician, despite having run a campaign for mayor in 1965).
12.16.2008 12:16pm
Freddy Hill:
How did Al Maviva get that great green frame around his comment?

How do I get one? I want one!
12.16.2008 12:18pm
Seamus (mail):
But she never practiced law. Big deal -- she wrote a book. So did lots of people.

When President-elect Kennedy announced the appointment of Caroline's uncle as AG, he said it was because he thought it was a good idea if Bobby got some experience as attorney general before he went out and practiced law.
12.16.2008 12:18pm
DiversityHire:
Cornellian, the surest path to your goal is congressional inflation: drastically increase the number of senators and representatives so that each is worth far less.
12.16.2008 12:20pm
Cornellian (mail):
It's getting to the point that the seat is an entry-level elective office for relatives of famous politicians. Goodell and Moynihan are the only holders of the seat since 1965 who don't fit that pattern

My point exactly. Moynihan was a better senator than any of those relatives of famous politicians.
12.16.2008 12:20pm
John Moore (www):
@wm13

It is well-established among liberal Democrats that being a family member of an elected politician is more than enough qualification to serve as senator, at least from New York.


Funny that these same people are against the rest of us inheriting just plain old assets, and want to tax them away at death.
12.16.2008 12:25pm
rarango (mail):
I didn't think it would be necessary on this particular blog to distinguish between appointment and election. Alas.
12.16.2008 12:45pm
Cornellian (mail):

Funny that these same people are against the rest of us inheriting just plain old assets, and want to tax them away at death.


If the government is going to take my money, I'd much rather they do that after I'm dead rather than while I'm still around to spend it.
12.16.2008 12:47pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"It is too bad that politicians, such as Obama and Biden, are afraid to argue that they are better qualified than their opponents because they, and not their opponents, are lawyers."

It's common sense. They know the voters disagree.
12.16.2008 12:48pm
Der Hahn (mail):
It is too bad that politicians, such as Obama and Biden, are afraid to argue that they are better qualified than their opponents because they, and not their opponents, are lawyers.

We were voting on who would be President, not the Attorney General.
12.16.2008 12:59pm
RPT (mail):
It's much easier if the replacement has the same name; i.e. the "Duncan Hunter Rule"
12.16.2008 1:14pm
Sammy Finkelman (mail):
I think Caroline Kennedy is actually a pretty good choice - not in general buit because iof unusal circumstances this year.

First, Hillary hates her. She is completely independent of the Clintons. This is a very good thing. It means that the Clintns get no protection from her being theer

Second - or further on this point - she is a great admirer of teh book "Profiles in Courage" and even wrote a book about that and founded an award about that. Now her ideas may not be so good but she has the idea of independence. Of course she wouldn't be indeendent from Ted Kennedy very much but that's not much of a loss. It would have be a Democrat anyway, right?

Third, Obama called her a "dear friend" He would like her theer. This is probably good for New York.

Of course the name recognition and the family help would help her run a campaign.

So this is not too bad. What are the alternatives?
12.16.2008 1:30pm
Anderson (mail):
How did Al Maviva get that great green frame around his comment?

Yeah, that's my question.

Re: the civility-in-comments issue, we should have people register for red, blue, or purple borders based on partisan bias, and then everyone can just read the comments in their own color.

Anderson -- bringing you a better America, one idea at a time.
12.16.2008 2:02pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
wm13 sez: 'It is well-established among liberal Democrats that being a family member of an elected politician is more than enough qualification to serve as senator, at least from New York. Deny it who can.'

I wouldn't deny it, but why do you think it applies only to Democrats?

Weren't 4 generations of Tafts enough?
12.16.2008 2:03pm
Anderson (mail):
I wouldn't deny it, but why do you think it applies only to Democrats?

Because one of the top 3 GOP rules is that all *class* issues must be redefined as *party* issues.

There is no elite in America -- just elitist Democrats, and the godfearin', hardworkin' Republicans who try to reclaim the country for the Common Man.
12.16.2008 2:07pm
Floridan:
I would be interested in knowing what David Post considers to be the minimum qualifications for an appointment to the U. S. Senate.
12.16.2008 2:10pm
Bob from Ohio (mail):
Uncle Teddy has already written Patterson to promise taxpayer goodies to NY.
12.16.2008 2:15pm
Kazinski:
As I told my wife at the beginning of the primaries: "I'll promise not to vote for any more Bush's if you promise not to vote for anymore Clinton's." That goes for Kennedy's, Tafts, and Murkowski's too. I'm not sure that applies to Jeb Bush, he has his own extensive track record, and I'm not sure he's picking up many votes just because of his famous brother, even in Florida.
12.16.2008 2:18pm
glangston (mail):
It's not without irony that we kicked King George out so we could develop and enrich our own chosen aristocratic menagerie.
12.16.2008 2:18pm
guy in the veal calf office (mail) (www):
Gov. Patterson should appoint Al Sharpton. That'd be fun. He'd filibuster his own party.

Or Lebron James.
12.16.2008 2:30pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
If name recognition is key, I suggest Kerry Kennedy Cuomo (so what if she's divorced?).
12.16.2008 2:39pm
Al Maviva:
Yeah, that's my question.

No sense of humor, Anderson. No sense of humor.
12.16.2008 2:41pm
DiversityHire:
You don't want Lebron in D.C., gitvco, appoint Marbury, he can not-play for the Wizards.

~

Anderson's suffering from class envy. What are we to read into the normal/comment/white great/comment/black class subtext?
12.16.2008 2:52pm
J Mann (mail):
Has Caroline Kennedy ever actually written a book? As far as I can tell, all of her books have co-authors.

Given that Kennedy is the famous one of the "authors" in each case, my guess would be that she hasn't done much actual writing, but I don't personally know.
12.16.2008 3:10pm
wm13:
J Mann: Like father, like daughter; except that she names the actual authors.
12.16.2008 3:40pm
Sarcastro (www):
wm13 Obama is Caroline Kennedy's father? That explains everything!
12.16.2008 3:58pm
Dave N (mail):
I am of two minds. On the one hand, like other commentators here, I have this thing against dynastic politics--whether the dynasty is Kennedy, Rockefeller, Bush, Taft, Roosevelt, Murkowski, or whatever.

That doesn't mean I am in favor of disqualifying those with famous forebears. My understanding is that Lisa Murkowski is a much better Senator than her father and Jeb Bush was effective as Governor of Florida (and to provide bipartisan fairness, Jay Rockefeller hasn't been a bad Senator for West Virginia, either).

Tammy Bruce, the radio talk show host, noted today that Caroline Kennedy has done something that, in itself, is fairly impressive: she has spent her entire life in the public spotlight and has never embarrassed herself or her family (and that is particularly remarkable since she is part of a family that seems to thrive on embarrassing themselves and each other).

I am agnostic on the choice--but I do agree with Bruce that Carolyn Kennedy appears to be a person of honor, which means, if nothing else, that New York could do much worse.
12.16.2008 4:05pm
b (mail):
Oh right Hank, candidates should start arguing they are more qualified for office because they are lawyers.
12.16.2008 4:25pm
Barbara Skolaut (mail):
Yee-ouch!

That's gonna leave a mark. :-D
12.16.2008 4:36pm
Federal Dog:
Why are people whining about Caroline Kennedy? She's at least as qualified as Hillary Clinton was for the position. Hillary's sole "qualification" was her status as Bill Clinton's wife; Caroline's equal "qualification" is her status as John Kennedy's daughter.

It's not as though qualifications matter anyway. That point has just been definitely established. People just put into the Oval Office someone completely devoid of anything even remotely approaching executive qualifications or experience.

If Barak and Hillary count as "qualified," Caroline certainly does.
12.16.2008 4:52pm
Randy R. (mail):
"Randy R. (who wrote the above), do you mean to imply that if she had helped Obama or other Dems win the election, that should be a factor in whether Patterson should select her? That may be how politics works, but it shouldn't be, because she should be selected on the basis of her qualifications, not as a payback."

Agreed. But we also know that there are certain realities in political life.

Her qualifications are non-existent next to several other people who would actually do a decent job. Brian Higgins is no hack -- he knows upstate very well, negotiated some tough issues for the benefit of the citizens, has pushed local politicians to get off their ass and actually do something, and enjoys widespread respect through out the community. He would make an excellent Senator. Jerrold Nadler is also high on my list. Both these guys have proven themselves in a way that Caroline has never had to.

To those who support Caroline, I will ask once more: What is her agenda? What is her platform? What does she want to accomplish? For New York? For the Country? WHY does she want to be a senator? So that she can write lots of letters on behalf of the rich and powerful to get their kids into the right schools? Please tell me what she plans to do and why you support that.

When I see proof that Caroline can spell and pronounce Skaneateles correctly, then I'll believe she's in it for the people of NY. Until then, she's just another lightweight -- like Sarah Palin, but without the religion. I don't see how this helps the dems.
12.16.2008 5:53pm
Randy R. (mail):
Kathleen Kennedy Townsend was governor of Maryland. She brought hope, honor, the Kennedy mystique, intelligence, is an attorney, and no doubt wrote several letters on behalf of the rich and famous.

She was at best a mediocre governor, and was ousted by a Republican.

Tell me again why Caroline deserves to be Senator?
12.16.2008 5:56pm
Dave N (mail):
Randy R,

Quick factual correction. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend was Lieutenant Governor of Maryland, not Governor.

She did run for Governor in 2002, but lost to Bob Erlich.
12.16.2008 6:03pm
Al Maviva:
Everybody is missing the obvious solution here. Appoint Caroline the Senator of Illinois. She can't be worse than VACANT, and because there is no indication that she wants to be the senator of Illinois or has made any offers to purchase the seat, she's above suspicion. Then appoint Obama's aid - what's her name - to the New York seat. She is female, liberal, doesn't know anybody in New York and doesn't have any ties to New York, all of which appear to be requirements to be elected to that particular seat.

Alternately Gov. Patterson could appoint Elliot Spitzer to the seat, since it's about time we start rehabilitating him.
12.16.2008 6:07pm
ZH:
Just a minor point David, it is no longer called "Polytechnic Institute of New York". Since the merger with NYU it is called "Polytechnic Institute of New York University". Poly has probably had more name changes in the past 40 years than any other well-reputed college.
12.16.2008 6:08pm
Henry (mail):
Oh right Hank, candidates should start arguing they are more qualified for office because they are lawyers.

When I made that comment, I acknowledged that the argument would not go over well because it "is part of the political prejudice against people who are elite." It is also, of course, part of the prejudice against lawyers. But superior candidates might give some thought to raising the public to their level instead of lowering themselves to the public's. That is what Obama did in his Rev. Wright speech: he spoke to the public as if it were made up of adults.
12.16.2008 6:30pm
All the Kennedy Men:
A "well-reputed college"? Does that mean there are colleges of ill repute? If so, where?
12.16.2008 6:33pm
neurodoc:
What are the people of NY likely to say when they get to weigh in two years from now? Would Kennedy compete for the job in 2010, and would she prove a stronger or weaker candidate at that time than others Patterson might appoint now? Who would the Republicans like to see him appoint?
12.16.2008 7:04pm
Floridan:
Dave N: " . . . and Jeb Bush was effective as Governor of Florida"

I'm not sure how you determined that. Florida is much worse off after Bush's tenure than it was before.
12.16.2008 7:05pm
deadkennedyisgoodkennedy (mail):
She does not meet the normal kennedy quals..no rapes, no kills, no affairs, no alcohol/drug/metal problems..
12.16.2008 7:30pm
A.C.:
Well, if Hillary hates her, that's good enough for me.

Wasn't it clever of Obama to find Hillary a job where he could send her out of the country all the time? I've often felt that way about diplomats in general. All my interactions with the State Department have made me think that I wanted to send the people I was talking to to Borneo.
12.16.2008 7:43pm
Randy R. (mail):
"Would Kennedy compete for the job in 2010?"

What? You mean like dirty her precious hands in the slimy waters of politics? Oh no -- not Caroline! She's much to high minded, writing books about Big Important Issues of Our Day to actually know what life is like for the rest of 99%. She might even have to travel to such unhip places like Syracuse and Jamestown! Wouldn't that just be godawful to have to do such a thing? Heck, I suspect even the upper west side just isn't good enough for her.
12.16.2008 7:43pm
Randy R. (mail):
"Quick factual correction. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend was Lieutenant Governor of Maryland, not Governor."

quite right, Dave N. So much for the dynasty -- they can't even win a governorship for a second rate state. But we are all supposed to bow down before the Kennedys? Please someone -- tell me why!
12.16.2008 7:45pm
David Letterman:
TOP 10 WORDS YOU NEVER SAY TO A KENNEDY:

10. Protestant
9. Republican
8. Elitist
7. Conservative
6. Meritocracy
5. Responsibility
4. Won't
3. Don't
2. Can't

AND THE #1 WORD YOU NEVER SAY TO A KENNEDY:

1. No
12.16.2008 7:49pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
Federal Dog sez: 'It's not as though qualifications matter anyway.'

Tell it to the Minnesotans, where the choice about senator is now in the hands of 200 people who can't or won't follow the complicated instruction to mark a ballot by filling the circle.
12.16.2008 9:07pm
fortyninerdweet (mail):
I don't care about Caroline Kennedy and New York state. I, too, just want to know what Al Maviva had to pay [or do to Eugene or Orin] for his green border. Somebody better come clean or I'll be forced to find a lawyer somewhere and sue.
12.16.2008 9:16pm
Sagar:
wouldn't Hillary! have a say in this?

isn't Chelsea 30+ yet?
12.16.2008 9:23pm
Dave N (mail):
Sagar,

No to both questions (Chelsea will be 29 next month, so she's about the age Joe Biden was when HE decided he would be a pretty swell U.S. Senator).
12.16.2008 9:57pm
neurodoc:
All the Kennedy Men: A "well-reputed college"? Does that mean there are colleges of ill repute? If so, where?
Last week, the Washington Post reported on the schools that Obama team members attended, noting the high percentage of those who went to "elite" ones. "Elite" = Ivy, MIT, and Stanford, plus Oxford and Cambridge. (UChicago may have been among them; not sure about "little Ivy" like Amherst.) An older alumna of Wellesley, Hillary's alma mater, wrote the editor taking great exception to the fact that the WaPo had not counted their school among the "elite." I think there is some justice to her complaint, especially as it pertains to the school before the '70s. Back then, exceptional women like Hillary, Diane Sawyer, and others (Barbara Bush, Nancy Davis Reagan) were not admissible to the then all-male Ivy schools.

Randy R:...they can't even win a governorship for a second rate state
Why the scorn for Maryland, the Free State? And Teddy's kid, the one arrested for driving around the Capitol while seriously intoxicated, went to Rhode Island for a House seat didn't he? Similar scorn for the Ocean State, which has proven itself no slouch in political corruption either?
12.16.2008 10:57pm
neurodoc:
BTW Randy R, why couldn't Caroline come quickly up to speed on the non-NYC parts of the Empire State, including those provincial northern parts. Hillary did it back in 2000, going all out to get those votes. You know, milk a few cows and stuff like that.
12.16.2008 11:00pm
ManBearPig:

Sarah Palin says remarkably ignorant things during the course of the campaign: "Obama thinks there are 57 states!" Dude, comparing a fatigue-induced slip of the tongue to blanket ignorance still leaves you with a weak candidate.


Ugh.


Are you really making competence argument? Really? The defenses that you point out (a) have nothing to do with competence and (b) are meant to show that the supposed issues of corruption, racism, and stupidity(?) cross party lines (but maybe blind bias doesn't...).

When have "the republicans" been caught saying something racist? It seems to me it comes from the left side of the aisle far more frequently than the right side of the aisle.

If you're going to campaign on corruption (see: 2006), then maybe you should make sure your house is clean first.

If stupidity/ignorance is evidenced by slips of the tongue a(style is > substance, i guess), you should make sure your tongue has unimpeachable traction.
12.16.2008 11:12pm
Sagar:
Dave N,

thanks. i know Hillary doesn't get an official say in who replaces her, but was asking if the political climate in NY is such that the Clintons might be able to somewhat influence the decision.
12.16.2008 11:24pm
Randy R. (mail):
doc: "BTW Randy R, why couldn't Caroline come quickly up to speed on the non-NYC parts of the Empire State, including those provincial northern parts. Hillary did it back in 2000, going all out to get those votes. You know, milk a few cows and stuff like that."

I suppose she could. The question is that if she had any political ambitions at all over the past few years, why hasn't she done so already? I can only assume that she has a total lack of interest in anything happening outside of Park Ave and mid town manhattan. Aside from the occasional speech at the Dem convention, what other political activities has she engaged in?

Or -- she just thought about becoming senator only after she found out that Hillary was picked for State. If so, then how isn't this just a lark for her? Why should we take anyone seriously who just decides, hey, the position is open, I'm a Kennedy, I'll take it!

But it gets back to what is her reason for being Senator? Has she shown ANY concern at all for her fellow new york staters? Does she know that there actually is an upstate new york?

She is treating this like she is running for class president -- you know, you just do it for the fun factor and prove how popular you are. But the issues facing our country are much too important to leave to a class president.

I'll ask again: What is her position on anything at all? What is her plan to revive the economy of upstate new york? What are her positions on the auto bailout, gay rights, outsourcing, education, taxes, historic preservation, the war in Iraq, terrorism?

At least Hillary had a track record and a plan when she ran for senator, and she had to hustle for her votes. Caroline doesn't even believe she owes us that much. We should just give her the position, and it's not for us peons to ask what she'll do with it.
12.17.2008 12:44am
Randy R. (mail):
If Caroline wants a position, then I suggest she be the next ambassador to Ireland. That seems to be something that she might actually be qualified. We would expect as little from her as she is offering to us, so it's a fair bargain.
12.17.2008 12:46am
Randy R. (mail):
If I were governor of NY, here is what I would ask of Caroline:

If appointed, will you run for re election when your term is up?

If her answer is no, then that proves she isn't serious about this. She would be a lame duck from the moment she takes the oath of office, not taken seriously, and she is accountable to no one and therefore a loose cannon. Why would I want that for my state?

If she answers yes, I would press her: Who would she have as her chief of staff? What sort of campaign would she run? How will she raise money? If she gives vague answers, then she hasn't thought about the office seriously, and I would give her the boot.

Here's why this is important: If she doesn't run for re election, the seat becomes open, and it's much easier for a Republican to take the seat. Why, as a democratic gov. would I want to risk that? If she does run for re election, does she have any idea how to be a politician? She has no record whatsoever, therefore, it's not likely she knows how to run a campaign, and that makes her re- election much more problematic. AGain, why would I want to risk that?"

The only possible good outcome is that she a) is an excellent senator, good enough to please most of the electorate and b) she runs an very well organized campaign and wins re-election.

Since she is a total unknown quantity for both, the likelihood of her achieving both is rather small. At best, it's a highly risky move.
12.17.2008 1:04am
neurodoc:
Randy R....What are her positions on the auto bailout, gay rights, outsourcing, education, taxes, historic preservation, the war in Iraq, terrorism?...If Caroline wants a position, then I suggest she be the next ambassador to Ireland...What sort of campaign would she run? How will she raise money?
I think that for the most part your analysis from Patterson's perspective is spot on. But some of your questions pretty much answer themselves.

Her positions...none that would be too different from uncle Ted's or otherwise suprising. (Historic preservation?!)

What sort of campaign and raising money...no reason for concern on either of those scores. Her name is Kennedy and you can be sure there will be plenty of highly competent pros to guide her at every step of the way. I can see her doing something of a Princess Di, floating above the fray and leaving her opponent whoever it might be to flail futilely.

Next ambassador to Ireland...no, she wouldn't go along with the implied stereotyping. The ambassadorship to Ireland may have satisfied her aunt, but JFK's daughter has her sights set on what her two uncles have had, the United States Senate. (Her grandfather was ambassador to England, but so much was different about him and the times and that assignment.)
12.17.2008 1:58am
Hoosier:
This gives me an EXCELLENT IDEA!

I could use this hereditary-career argument to get myself into the wallpaper-sales business! HUZZAH!
12.17.2008 5:29am
Hoosier:
"Why the scorn for Maryland, the Free State?"

Perhaps because the state song includes this lyric:

She is not dead, nor deaf, nor dumb-
Huzza! she spurns the Northern scum!



(I've now used "Huzza(h)" in consecutive posts. Do I get some sort of prize?)
12.17.2008 5:34am
huzzah:
No. This isn't abovethelaw
12.17.2008 6:51am
Randy R. (mail):
Hey, historic preservation is important to ME! So I want to know her position.

Anyway, the ambassador to Ireland is sort of a joke, but not really. You're right — only a Kennedy would consider such a position demeaning. Me, I'd jump at the chance, and I'm not even Irish!

Caroline no doubt thinks that being senator is pretty easy — you show up, and you vote for bills you like, and vote agains bills you don't like. Heck, any idiot can do that! Then you have a media post to spout off on the topics that concern you, like making sure the kids of the rich and famous get into their school of choice.
12.17.2008 11:16am
wfjag:
Joey Plummer (mail):
Sean:
Nah I am sure Bluto was elected--probably in the Watergate fallout election of '74. He and Babs, if I remember correctly, bought a co-op in Georgetown next to Sally Quinn.

Obviously, Joey, you don't understand politics. Bluto married Mandy. Babs went to work for Universal as a tour guide.

This is very important, since Babs was played by actress Martha Smith, who is best known as being the July 1973 Playboy (US Edition) Centerfold.

Query: How many of you think that Caroline Schlossberg should be appointed US Senator from NY? Anyone who lives on Park Avenue in Manhattan's Upper East Side obviously understands the problems that working people are now facing.
12.17.2008 11:18am
Bad English:
I can think of no more appropriate replacement for Hillary Clinton than Caroline Kennedy. Ms. Kennedy should strictly replicate Mrs. Clinton's strategy: Go on a "listening tour," have people tell you what they want you to say, and proclaim that a "campaign."
12.17.2008 3:08pm
Sonny Knight (mail):
It is interesting to note that Caroline doesn't used her married name Schlossberg any longer whether it was through divorce or death. I guess Schlossberg has less name recognition than Kennedy. Who knew?
12.18.2008 11:12am
wfjag:

Caroline doesn't used her married name Schlossberg any longer whether it was through divorce or death.

Sonny:
According to the recent NYT bio piece on her (last paragraph), she's still married to Schlossberg, and he's still alive. Either a divorce or his death would probably be a surprise to him.
12.18.2008 1:25pm
mojo (mail):
New York could put two striped-ass baboons (or maybe just one, and leave Chuckles Schumer in place) in the Senate and I wouldn't care. It's New York's problem.
12.18.2008 6:03pm
An Undecided NY Democrat:
In terms of qualities important in candidates these days:

1. She can raise some $50 million dollars despite Wall Street being tight and the Dems over-extended in 2010. And do it again for the 2012 reelection she will also face.

2. She enjoys a close trust relationship with the President-elect about to dole out untold amounts of cash to states with politicians he likes.

3. She is also the favorite of the Senate Majority Leader and has overwhelming influence on the her uncle, generally considered the most influential member of the Senate. (Both of these are pretty big assets when you consider that NY's new Senator will be #100 in seniority.)

4. She is an "clean" outsider who is free of the tarnish that New York's time-serving hack class have in the face of unbelievable government deficits. She is also free of a long and nuanced legislative record ripe for picking by opposition researchers.

Let's face it, with a resume like that she would be top of the list if her name was Caroline Fred Muggs. She is not the one obsessed with the name, it is all you resentment-fetishists.

(By the way, like many woman these days, Kennedy uses her maiden name for professional activities. It is called equal rights. you may want to look into it.)
12.25.2008 12:13am
An Undecided NY Democrat:
I also notice that a number of you seem to have taken it into your head that Kennedy won't compete for the seat, but rather wants it handed to her. Setting aside the fact that I can't think of a single politician in either party who wouldn't prefer that, you all seem not to have been reading the papers.

Kennedy has explicitly said that she will be a candidate in 2010 whether she is appointed or not. In fact, this is one of the major points of controversy because many people (other hopefuls, their supporters, the Governor's staff) have been reputed to feel boxed in by this commitment of hers to compete. they are afraid that if the Governor does not appoint her, whoever gets the job will face a strong, well funded primary challenge from her.

Here in New York, the charge is that she is muscling herself in via the implicit threat of running against the establishment on a reform crusade in 2010 rather than that she expects to be given what she won't fight for. In other words, that she will fight rather than behaving like a good school girl and waiting her turn.

I hold no brief for Kennedy and am still undecided, but I have nothing against her. You haters, on the other hand, don't even know what you hate her for! Seems to me like rather than her being all about her her parents were, you are - hating her because you didn't like them.
12.25.2008 12:31am

Post as: [Register] [Log In]

Account:
Password:
Remember info?

If you have a comment about spelling, typos, or format errors, please e-mail the poster directly rather than posting a comment.

Comment Policy: We reserve the right to edit or delete comments, and in extreme cases to ban commenters, at our discretion. Comments must be relevant and civil (and, especially, free of name-calling). We think of comment threads like dinner parties at our homes. If you make the party unpleasant for us or for others, we'd rather you went elsewhere. We're happy to see a wide range of viewpoints, but we want all of them to be expressed as politely as possible.

We realize that such a comment policy can never be evenly enforced, because we can't possibly monitor every comment equally well. Hundreds of comments are posted every day here, and we don't read them all. Those we read, we read with different degrees of attention, and in different moods. We try to be fair, but we make no promises.

And remember, it's a big Internet. If you think we were mistaken in removing your post (or, in extreme cases, in removing you) -- or if you prefer a more free-for-all approach -- there are surely plenty of ways you can still get your views out.