18 dec. 2008

Senator Caroline Kennedy?

By Tom Degan
When it was learned last week that Caroline Kennedy was interested in seeking the New York senate seat which is being vacated in January by Hillary Clinton, some Democrats had a positive hissy fit. The worst example of this was New York congressman Gary Ackerman, a guy I normally admire and respect. "Sure!" opined the positively flustered Mr. Ackerman, "She may have name recognition - but so does J. Lo!" Yo! Gary! Just relax and take a chill pill, pardner! Jeez Louise!
Truth be told, when I heard that Miss Hillary's seat was going to be vacant, my first thought was Bubbah. Oh! I thought, wouldn't that just drive the Right Wing nuts? Bill Clinton making policy? I could just imagine Mitch McConnell and Kaye Bailey Hutchinson having a collective nervous breakdown right on the senate floor at hearing the news. But as the Monkees once opined,"That was then; this is now". I don't know about you, but I am now one-hundred percent behind the idea of Caroline Kennedy Scholssberg as my representative in the senate.
The main argument that many in the media and on Capital Hill are making against Caroline Kennedy's prospective political career is that she does not have the personality to be a politician. Oh heart of mine be still! Would you like to know how I read that? She's not a self-promoting bullshit artist like ninety-nine-point-nine percent of the rest of them. She doesn't have the personality to be a politician, huh? That's exactly what the Boston Pols said about her old man when he first ran for congress in 1946. In case you've forgotten, he turned out to be not half bad. Maybe she doesn't have your classic "political personality" (whatever the hell that means) but neither did Henry Clay. Neither, for that matter, did George Washington. This much is obvious, though: she has a first class legislative temperament. If you need proof of this, read the two books she co-authored with Ellen Alderman, In Our Defense: The Bill of Rights in Action (1990) and The Right to Privacy (1995). She is possessed of a brilliant mind, a compassionate heart and a palpable sense of purpose -- a perfect combination for an outstanding political career -- check the history books.
A number of years ago, Caroline Kennedy established the Profiles In Courage Award, which is presented annually at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston. The award is named for dear ol' dad's 1957, Pulitzer Prize winning book, Profiles In Courage, which chronicled the stories of politicians throughout American History who took unpopular stands at a cost to their own political careers. Obviously, political courage means a lot to this wise and gifted woman. Given her heritage, it's easy to conclude that it is a huge part of her philosophical value system. She is the type of person we desperately need in the senate. What kind of senator would she be?
It's a fairly safe bet that Caroline Kennedy would not have had anything to do with giving a president the authority to launch an unnecessary war just to prove to the boys that she's as hardened a warrior as any man. Given JFK's literary legacy, she's not about to open herself up to charges of political timidity or cowardice. I've got a really funny feeling that she really wants to win that Profiles In Courage Award, baby! Then again, she would look kind of funny presenting it to herself, wouldn't she?
If you've been reading The Rant low these two-and-a-half years, you know that one of my fiercest complaints regarding the Democratic party is their absolute genius for taking a bottle of finely aged, twelve-year-old scotch and turning it into donkey piss. Please, Dems, you're on a roll! Don't blow it, alright? There is nothing wrong with grace and dignity. Don't use the tired old criteria that people wouldn't want to "have a beer" with Caroline Kennedy. We used that standard of electoral qualification in 2000 and 2004 and where has it gotten us? For the last eight years we've had Bobo the Simpleminded sleeping in the White House. Our social and economic infrastructure has been destroyed and we're teetering on the edge of a full scale Depression. Maybe Ms. Kennedy will be the new yardstick by which future senatorial aspirants may be measured! She is an outstanding human being. Am I biased? Sure I am. So sue me!

No, I wouldn't want to - nor could I even imagine - having a beer with Caroline Kennedy. But here's the weird thing: I could very well imagine getting high with her. Go figure.

Here's another reason I want this seat to go to Caroline: since I was about five-years-old, I've had a bit of a thing for her. I'll be blunt with you, campers; this is beyond a mere school boy crush - I'M HEAD OVER HEELS IN LOVE WITH THE GAL, OKAY??? Please, Governor Patterson, do this for me! It would be as good as having Patty Duke as my senator (I had a serious crush on her, too).This would be the fulfillment of all my childhood dreams....I'm sorry, I'm being silly. Back to the serious subject....
Forgive this blunt appeal to your sentiments, but it has to be said. She is the sole survivor of an extraordinary family, all of whom left this veil of tears far too young. Would it not be a beautiful thing to have the unfinished dreams of the father, mother and brother given a voice through the political career of the daughter and sister? Yeah, I know! I'm being really maudlin here. Forgive me, I'm Irish Catholic! (and I've also had a couple of drinks). It may be sappy; it may be sentimental; but I believe I speak for millions of people when I say that we respect and admire this tribe of imperfect human beings for all the good they've done and the awful sacrifices they've made throughout the decades for our beloved nation - all in the name of public service. Let's face some serious facts here, folks: uncle Ted wasn't in it for the money. Neither, you may be absolutely certain, is cousin Caroline.

The question now being asked in some circles is, "Just what are her qualifications?" Damned good question. Please let me attempt to answer it:

She is probably the most intelligent person to run for the senate in decades. You disagree? Name one smarter; go ahead! You can't, can you! I rest my case.
Caroline Kennedy is not Al D'Amato, that's for damned sure. There will not be so much as a hint of corruption surrounding her office - of that you may be sure. Believe me, Grandpa Joe Kennedy left her set for life. Unlike Al D'Amato, her tenure as senator won't be about serving herself. It will be about serving her constituency in general and the American people in particular. How do I know this? I just do. You've gotta trust me on this one, kids! Hey! Have I ever lied to you???
And here's something else that can't be emphasized enough: she has the respect and admiration of the entire world. America's international reputation is lower than at any time since the Civil War. Having so extraordinary a woman in the senate can only help alleviate the damage that has been done to us by the Bush Mob.
As expected, the Hillary Clinton crowd is throwing a monkey wrench into the situation. "A history of public service is no qualification for being a senator" they're saying. Excuse me, but that should be the only qualification! And would one of these hypocrites please explain to me just what Hillary's qualifications were when she ran for the senate in 2000? Eight years as First Lady? Have another sip.

This evening on MSNBC's Hardball, a congressman from Brooklyn, NY with the unfortunate name, Anthony Wiener, was quoted making the observation that Caroline Kennedy would be a terrible candidate because no one could imagine her milking a cow in any upstate county fair. I can't imagine it either.
Think about this: On the morning of November 22, 1963, just two hours before he was murdered in cold blood on the streets of Dallas, Texas, her father, attending a political breakfast in Houston, politely refused to be photographed wearing one of those hideously stupid ten-gallon-hats that some Texans are so fond of. Was the man a snob? Not according to the memoirs of everyone who knew him. My guess is that President Kennedy believed that cheap, political pandering - a silly photo-op - was beneath the dignity of his office. That kind of substance is so rare in politics today. And now along comes Caroline Kennedy, like a nostalgic, long dead dream come back to life.
You know, I was just thinking: on Election Day 2016, she will be fifty-eight years old - just the right age to....I'm sorry. I'm getting a bit ahead of myself.