Monday, December 29, 2008
Caroline Kennedy and the Media
I have been trying very hard to avoid posting on the Caroline Kennedy thing, partly I suppose because it just seemed so obvious to me that she could not possibly be qualified for this job/appointment nor taken seriously as a contender. Her primary qualification seems to be that her maiden name is Kennedy.
But then I saw this CNN poll today: 52% of Americans nationwide think she is qualified to fill the New York Senate seat, 42% say she's not.
Seriously? 52% of Americans think she is qualified? Based on WHAT? She's written some fluff books. She's been around politics her entire life. So have a lot of people.
If I were truly eloquent I would have written this column which ran in today's National Review, written by Victor Davis Hanson. He compares Kennedy's experience to that of Sarah Palin and examines the media treatment of both. A sample:
"But, no, the real embarrassment proves to be the media itself that apparently can't see this weird unfolding self-incriminating morality tale: It is not just that Palin is conservative, Kennedy politically-correct (e.g., pro-abortion, gun control, gay marriage, etc), or Palin a newcomer to public attention, Kennedy a celebrity since childhood. Rather it is the aristocratic value system of most NY-DC journalists themselves who apparently still assume that old money, status, and an Ivy-League pedigree are reliable barometers of talent and sobriety, suggesting that the upper-East Side Kennedy's public ineptness is an aberration, a bad day, a minor distraction, while Palin's charisma and ease are superficial and a natural reflection of her Idaho sports journalism degree.
A few generations ago, Democrats would have opposed Palin but appreciated her blue-collar story, and applauded a working mom who out-politicked entrenched and richer male elites. But now the new aristocratic liberalism has adopted the values of the old silk-stocking Republicans of the 1950s—and so zombie-like worship rather than question entitlement."
So true, Mr. Hanson. I'm not trying to rile up my Obama supporting friends here, but it seems that the same 52% that think Kennedy is qualified is also roughly the same margin that thought Obama had the experience to be president. As we argued back and forth in the campaign - he was Senator for only a short time, he published a couple of books, he passed no major legislation, his work background was sketchy (community organizer).
Caroline's main accomplishment has been philanthropy and I'm just not sure that's a qualification for U.S. Senator. If she wants to get involved in politics maybe she should run for the local school board.
(Photo by Joseph Moran)