In Her Words
Caroline vs. Sarah
They trashed Sarah; they love Caroline – why?
Here’s a good question that is being asked by The Washington Post and many other commentators such as my friend Jonah Goldberg who writes for National Review Online: Why is Caroline Kennedy’s desire to be the senator from New York being greeted by many with such enthusiasm while Sarah Palin, a much more qualified woman – a very popular governor, in fact – had such a tough time when she sought higher office?
Now Caroline has a very famous political name – though as The New York Times pointed out, younger voters are not exactly sure which Kennedy daughter she is. She is attractive, intelligent and low-key. Up to this point she has shunned the spotlight, concentrating on raising her three children and writing some books with titles such as The Best Loved Poems of Jacqueline Kennedy. Only during the past campaign has she become involved in politics. She said she was encouraged to voice her support of Obama because of her children’s enthusiasm for the president-elect.
Now she wants to be senator without ever running for office, without even voting in some elections. It is New York’s Governor David Paterson who gets to pick Hillary Clinton’s replacement. Caroline is putting on a full-fledged campaign for the position, advised by a battery of consultants and supporters. But in her first political foray last week, visiting mayors of upstate New York cities, she was uncomfortable with the press. She has issued some policy positions, and they are standard Democratic liberal views. Not very exciting.
And in truth, she doesn’t have a politician’s outgoing personality. Most people acknowledge that beside her famous name, her best qualification for the job is that she would be a formidable fund raiser. But even some Democrats have been critical of her suddenly pushing herself forward in this way. Former Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro, who ran for vice president, is supporting any of the New York women members of Congress over Caroline.
But really what is interesting is comparing the soft-ball treatment she had received with the slash-and-burn that was aimed at Palin. Kathleen Parker in The Washington Post thinks it was OK to trash Palin because she was going for such a high office, a heartbeat away from the president. But doesn’t that make it seem that being soft on Caroline is OK because being a senator is kind of an unimportant job? I wonder how Caroline’s Uncle Ted feels about that.
I also wonder if we will we be hearing, as Caroline pursues the job, about the cost of her designer clothes? Will the media re-hash stories about some of Caroline’s unsavory cousins? The Kennedy clan, in fact, has had far more family problems than Palin’s brood. I am sure we have not heard the last of Sarah Palin, who is tough and ambitious, and probably became shrewder and stronger after the hazing she received. And we will just have to see, over the next weeks, if Caroline Kennedy is just a show horse or can be a work horse who can get the job she now, suddenly, seems to want so much.