Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

Caroline Kennedy should emulate Hillary Clinton to get Senate seat

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Originally published on on Tue, 12/09/2008 – 8:36am

Those who remember my take on Caroline Kennedy for vice president might wonder where I stand on his possible appointment to the Senate.

The beauty of her being vice president is that you don’t really campaign or raise money or generally get too deep in the mud of politics. Being in the Senate requires different skills — anyone appointed to the position who is not seeking re-election would almost have to start unofficially campaigning right from the moment they are sworn into the Senate.

Can Caroline Kennedy be that kind of person in the Senate?

I’m not a personal fan of caretakers, mostly because an open seat is much harder to defend. There are grand exceptions, such as Jean Carnahan, who was gracious in taking over for her late husband in 2000. Though perhaps Carnahan shouldn’t have run in 2002. Ted Kaufman, Joe Biden’s replacement from Delaware, has made it clear he is a caretaker, with the speculation leaning toward Beau Biden when he returns from Iraq. If the Delaware field gives way for Biden, the Democrats will likely keep the seat.

I thought Caroline’s cousin, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., would be better suited for the Senate seat, his father’s old seat. And he certainly spoke of his interest. But he has taken himself out of consideration.

Caroline Kennedy could certainly take the seat for two years, giving way for Nita Lowey, Andrew Cuomo, David Paterson, and whomever else wants a shot in 2010. But what would be the point? There isn’t a whole lot a lowly Senator can do in only two years time.

Her generation across the Kennedy family hasn’t delved much into politics, and has had limited success.

Patrick Joseph Kennedy II (son of Ted) has been a House of Representative from Rhode Island’s 1st district since 1995.

Joseph Patrick Kennedy II (son of Robert) was a House Representative from Massachusetts’s 8th district (his uncle, John F. Kennedy’s old seat) from 1987-1999.

Kathleen Hartington Kennedy Townsend (daughter of Robert) was Maryland’s lieutenant governor from 1995-2003, and ran a very poor campaign for governor in 2002.

Mark Kennedy Shriver (son of Eunice) served as a member of the Maryland House of Delegates for two consecutive terms from 1995 to 2003.

So where do I stand on the Caroline Kennedy Senate run? If she really wants the seat for longer than two years, I truly think someone of her intellect and people skills would be a wonderful asset to public office and the Senate.

But the previous seat holder, whom some people felt would skate by on her name, worked her tail off all across the state, and earned her way into the Senate. So, Caroline Kennedy, if you can do what Hillary Clinton did, you have my blessing. If not, please continue to contribute in ways where you feel comfortable.


Written by democracysoup

December 9, 2008 at 8:36 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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