Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

For Barack Obama’s consideration, Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg for vice president

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Originally published on BuzzFlash.com on Tue, 05/27/2008 – 9:13am

(Photo: Chitose Suzuki/AP Wide World)

Whether you are a supporter of Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, the one idea associated with Obama is “Change.” Obama supporters are looking for a new direction of leadership. Those who are tired of the infighting politics want something different from Washington. And Obama represents that for them.

Now we know that this infighting started with Newt Gingrich and his cronies after Bill Clinton got elected, and how the MSM finally got tough on a president (funny how it was a Democrat, after all). But the people who are fresh onto the Obama bandwagon, the true independents of this country, and those who don’t vote for president on party but on the person don’t really care who started it and why. They just want it to stop.

I have argued that Obama needs to send a new message in picking a vice president, to go in a direction that truly symbolizes change. And I think I found someone.

Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg

After you have stopped laughing, consider these points.

Yes, she doesn’t have political experience, and has never been elected to public office. But she does have a track record as an attorney, editor, and writer. She and Ellen Alderman have written two books together on civil liberties, a topic that certainly needs to be addressed in an Obama administration. Kennedy Schlossberg is one of the founders of the Profiles in Courage Award. And she has represented her family on a number of occasions, a task vice presidents have traditionally had to do.

Also, she is a woman who didn’t come out of nowhere. If Hillary Clinton isn’t going to be on the ticket, and a woman ends up on that ticket, it will be difficult for Clinton supporters to say Kennedy Schlossberg doesn’t deserve a shot. She is a name that voters know. And she is at an age (50) where her youth will be appealing standing next to 46-year-old Barack Obama.

Kennedy Schlossberg is also a fervent Obama supporter. Her January 27 essay in The New York Times spoke volumes of her feelings for Obama.

“Sometimes it takes a while to recognize that someone has a special ability to get us to believe in ourselves, to tie that belief to our highest ideals and imagine that together we can do great things. In those rare moments, when such a person comes along, we need to put aside our plans and reach for what we know is possible.”

And that gets me to my next point: “put aside our plans.” It is fair to say that she hasn’t campaigned for higher office, but if Obama were to come to her, she might have to follow her father’s own words, “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.”

There is the Kennedy factor – pro and con. She is well respected for her stands and views. It will be difficult for Republicans to attack her personally, even if there will be attacks on her family. And there is the Ted Kennedy legacy. You can easily imagine Sen. Kennedy will give a speech in Denver during the convention in what might be his last Democratic National Convention. Imagine the joy and splendor of him speaking, knowing his niece will be on the Democratic ticket in the fall.

There have been some in her generation of Kennedys who have stepped into higher office: her cousins former Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), and former Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy II (D-MA). But so far, Kennedy Schlossberg hasn’t heard the calling. But Obama and 2008 may change her mind.

“There is a generation coming of age that is hopeful, hard-working, innovative and imaginative. But too many of them are also hopeless, defeated and disengaged. As parents, we have a responsibility to help our children to believe in themselves and in their power to shape their future.”

There is an appeal to her not wanting a lot of power. She won’t be swayed in a situation, unlike Dick Cheney, to abuse her power and trust. She can be trusted in great part because she isn’t eager to be a part of the process.

And there is nothing that says she has to go on and be president. If she were the pick and served eight years, she might have something in common with Dick Cheney: she may not choose to run for president. And that could open the door for someone else to run in 2016, such as Sen. Hillary Clinton, among others.

Unlike Clinton or McCain, Obama has a chance to reshape the vice presidency. It would be a huge risk to pick someone out of the political process. But to those independents, those outside observers, picking an unconventional choice could have strong appeal. And as for Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, this may be her time to step up and be a part of the political process.

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Written by democracysoup

May 27, 2008 at 9:13 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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