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History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme

vastleft's picture

The Rorschach test that is Caroline Kennedy's bid to become the junior senator from New York has a new ink blot: entitlement.

Resistance is emerging among Democratic officials against Caroline Kennedy as she pursues Hillary Rodham Clinton’s seat in the United States Senate, with Gov. David A. Paterson bristling over suggestions that her selection is inevitable, according to his advisers, and other leading Democrats concerned that she is too beholden to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.

The governor is frustrated and chagrined, the advisers said, because he believes that he extended Ms. Kennedy the chance to demonstrate her qualifications but that her operatives have exploited the opportunity to convey a sense that she is all but appointed already. He views this as an attempt to box him in, the advisers said.

This might remind one of the pearl-clutching over the Clintons' supposed monstrous mechanized certainty that the nomination was Hillary's birthright (was there ever a source for those claims, BTW?), but methinks it smacks more of the bullying that said the Best and Brightest have spoken, so get the fuck out of the way.

That "don't fuck with us" bravura is none-too-subtle:

The governor’s frustration follows reports last week that Kevin Sheekey, a top deputy to Mr. Bloomberg who has been advising Ms. Kennedy, had called a labor leader and told him that Ms. Kennedy was going to be senator, “so get on board now,” and that a member of Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s staff was helping Ms. Kennedy reach out to unions.

Opponents of having CK shoved down their throat seem not to understand the New World Order:

“You have people going around saying, ‘Oh yeah, it’s a done deal,’ ” said one of the advisers, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the selection process and did not want to anger the governor. “The quickest way to not get something you want is to step into somebody’s face.”

Doesn't that adviser know that we're all masochists now?

Done deal or no, the first signals of Caroline's political agenda are coming into view. Most strikingly, she is pro-gay marriage. She also declines to answer whether she'll support Bloomberg's re-election (Unity! Woo-hoo!), and avowed that she's always opposed the Iraq War (Publicly? I don't know).

Another Politico item about the same questionnaire stated:

She also dissed Clinton's Oct. 2002 vote authorizing the Iraq invasion: "Caroline opposed the war in Iraq from the beginning. She supports President-Elect Obama's plan to work with our military leaders to begin a responsible withdrawal."

Let us hope that she spoke admiringly — as all good Democrats must — of Joe Biden's avid support for the war, which was clearly visionary and progressive.

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gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

I can't buy the argument that opposition to Kennedy is because she is a female. The whole process didn't just have a funny smell, we were immersed in the excrement. Rather than Kennedy coming out early and making her case we had behind the scenes mechinations by the Dem power brokers taking place openly. Ted Kennedy may not be overtly bribing or threatening Paterson, but it doesn't feel right either.

But I shouldn't expect anything more from the Dems who orchestrated and cheered the way the primary unfolded.

Damon's picture
Submitted by Damon on

It may very well be that Carolina turns out to have a solid set of progressive stances. That would be great. But, she's hardly the only one of the candidates to hold such views, and may simple not be the best when the others are studied (if they ever do). This is not even to mention that you aren't just what you believe, but where you're from, and where you've been. I won't fault Caroline for not having ever held elective office; in fact, I can't and not be a hypocrite. But, it is not only completely fair, but it is necessary, to critique if her life experiences fit the seat she hopes to fill.

Furthermore, the ends do not justify the means. At least in my view, Caroline's run has started off on the wrong foot. As it keeps being said, perhaps as someone who has put a tremendous amount of energy into keeping herself away from the public, she should have had a bit more of an answer to the question of why she wants the seat. If this intensely private person has had some epiphany in the last few months that has made her want to go intensely public, perhaps she should be letting us (more specifically New Yorkers) know about the "good news" in an intensely public and personal way. Because, all we've seen are power-plays in the shadows, thus far.

If I'd spent my entire life running away from the public, but then found something within myself screaming to go into public office, I'd be shouting it from the roof-tops to anyone that'd hear me.