Caroline Kennedy, daughter of John F. Kennedy, is apparently interested in the New York Senate seat that will be vacated by Hillary Clinton. Good for her. I hope New Yorkers think it is good for them as well.
Markos of Daily Kos however does not think this is a good idea. He thinks this appointment is undemocratic – that someone with name recognition should not be appointed by the Governor. He does some mental gymnastics to convince himself and others why this appointment is such a horrible idea.
Markos says that he doesn’t like dynasties. He says: "When you’re rich and come from a political family, and are heir to American royalty, you can apparently dispense with dealing with pesky voters by simply ringing up the governor." He also declares: "we have little insight into what a Senator Caroline Kennedy might look like, beyond her excellent work in education."
Then he quotes Congressman Ackerman’s tasteless comment to bring his argument home:
Already, some other Democrats have pointedly questioned her credentials for the job. United States Representative Gary Ackerman, a Queens Democrat, said last week that he did not know what Ms. Kennedy’s qualifications were, “except that she has name recognition — but so does J. Lo.”
So, Caroline Kennedy is like J. Lo and we have no insight into what her Senate career would look like. Got it.
I could take Markos’s distaste for dynasty and celebrity a little more seriously if he showed a bit more consistency. Here is what Markos said about Hillary Clinton’s appointment as Secretary of State:
Hillary Clinton at State? One of Obama’s tough tasks ahead is to repair the damage Bush did to our relationships around the world. By picking Hillary Clinton, the second-biggest political celebrity in government today, Obama just told the world he takes that task very seriously. He essentially gave them the biggest name he possibly could, double-underscoring his commitment to re-engaging the world as partners, not as missile targets. On purely pragmatic grounds, it was extremely well played. Politically, I see zero downside, except maybe the idiot traditional media and their bizarre Clinton fetish. But screw them.
I think Markos has a bit of a Kennedy fetish. So, why is a celebrity and dynasty good enough for Secretary of State and not good for Senator from New York? Or is the problem that Kennedy is being appointed by the Governor? Wasn’t Clinton appointed by Obama?
Then there is the qualification argument (the J. Lo argument if you will). I am not sure what qualifies one to be a Senator but I am pretty sure being a lawyer, being around politics all her life, and being involved in public policy does not hurt.
I don’t know if Caroline Kennedy will make a good Senator from New York, but I do know that the arguments offered up against her – from Congressman Ackerman to Markos – are juvenile.