Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Not so sweet on Caroline

Some have been calling Caroline Kennedy the "Sarah Palin of the Democratic Party." Ouch!

I'd say that's a bit much, but it is painfully obvious that Kennedy hasn't exactly been a dazzler in the weeks since she let it be known that her eye is on Hillary Clinton's soon-to-be-vacated U.S. Senate seat.

Unlike other Kennedys who have gotten into the family business, JFK's daughter has been content to be a mother, wife, education advocate and fund-raiser. So far behind the scenes has she been, that few even knew the sound of her voice (except those who have watched her introduce the annual Kennedy Center Honors event in Washington - the latest renewal of which airs tonight on CBS).

In stepping into the political spotlight to secure Gov. Paterson's appointment, Kennedy has seemed distant, not particularly specific and terribly ill-equipped to meet the predictable New York and national media onslaught.

On our editorial page some weeks ago, we were cool, to say the least, about a Kennedy appointment. New York can do better, our editorial board said, and not just from a pool of established politicians.

We have no problem with a political outsider - like Kennedy, in fact. But we'd prefer the Daniel Patrick Moynihan model: a thinker, an academic, someone with gravitas.

For one example, here's a name to fit that description: Leon Botstein, president of Bard College.

Caroline Kennedy no doubt has lots of offer the citizens of New York and the rest of the country. But it doesn't seem appropriate for her to start at the top simply because of her family tree.
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