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For Caroline Kennedy, a Standards Deviation

Caroline Kennedy is being held to a totally invented standard by those who say she is unqualified to take over Hillary Clinton's Senate seat and is only under consideration because her name is Kennedy. Of the past ten senators appointed by a governor when a seat became vacant between elections, three indisputably got the job because of their names -- that is, through nepotism. There was no fuss.

The most egregious was Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, who was appointed by her father to fill the seat that he himself vacated when he was elected as governor. Jean Carnahan, Democrat of Missouri, was appointed to the seat won posthumously by her husband after he died in a plane crash. (The governor had promised to appoint Jean Carnahan to the seat if her husband won, so you could say she was really elected, not appointed -- but you could not credibly say that she didn't get the job because of her husband.) And Lincoln Chafee, Republican of Rhode Island, was appointed to a seat vacated by the death of his father.

It's true that two of these three -- Chafee and Murkowski -- had previous experience in elected office. (Chafee had been mayor of Warwick, R.I.; Murkowski was a member of the Alaska state House.) But it would be preposterous to claim that Caroline Kennedy could never get to be a senator except by appointment. In fact, it is precisely the fear that she would be a formidable candidate, likely to be elected again and again, that is driving Republicans to gin up a phony issue and bully New York Gov. David Patterson out of appointing her.

By Michael Kinsley  | December 19, 2008; 3:38 PM ET
Categories:  Kinsley  | Tags:  Michael Kinsley  
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Next: I Know Why Obama Picked Warren. But Why?!


Having read this and Ms. Parker's column, I must remind us all of the sacrifice Ms. Kennedy has already made to our country. When her father was killed, we as a nation adopted her and her brother. We were charged with their well being. That doesn't stop. As far as I'm concerned, she can do whatever she likes and we should always help her accomplish her goals and dreams.

Posted by: knjhome | December 19, 2008 4:24 PM | Report abuse

knjhome, baloney. CK sacrificed nothing. JFK chose to run. She has the wherewithal to achieve her own dreams: connections and money. Do you? I do not. Most do not.

I'm a Dem and have no gripe with Ms. Kennedy-Schlossberg. I wish her well. That being said, I also am steadfast is that no one should be ensconced in any position because of their name. Is she qualified? I'd say many of the people who initially run for office have few qualifications. That doesn't bother me. She has the connections and mentors that will quickly ease her way into the position. I think that right wing-nut Parker was way off the mark that Palin the half-wit is more qualified than CK. Not true, although Palin is probably better qualified to euthanize turkeys...

It's the entitlement issue that irks me. I have an innate sense of fairness and this strikes me as "unfair." Much of life is unfair, of course. But when we can effect a level playing field, we ought to do so.

I'm sure the NY gov will select CK - he's being boxed in. It's probably political suicide if he doesn't. Ck may or may not be the best candidate. But this should be up to the people of NY via election.

Posted by: itsagreatday1 | December 19, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

I suppose the rationale for trying to start at the top is that, if you get in, you've saved all that effort. I don't think Caroline Kennedy sees this as starting at the top -- but it wouldn't hurt if she'd run for some less lofty office in the past. City council, county commissioner, school board.

Admittedly, it's just this side of laughable to use the word "qualification" for what's often a collection of privileged blowhards whose main talent is fundraising, followed by gladhanding.

Hold an election, already. Stop the appointment nonsense.

Posted by: NorwegianBlue | December 19, 2008 5:40 PM | Report abuse

As both a New Yorker and a Democrat, I can assure Mr. Kinsley that despite his glib comments, the concerns about Ms. Kennedy are not simply drummed up by the GOP.

Her total lack of political experience is worrisome, but perhaps most insulting is her sudden interest in her upstate neighbors. Is she really visiting the second, third, and fourth largest cities in the state for the first time in her life?

Yes, Caroline, there is a NY beyond Manhattan.

Posted by: athens30 | December 19, 2008 6:00 PM | Report abuse

So Caroline Kennedy supported Obama rather than the NY Senator Clinton for President, and now she expects New Yorkers to support her? She is probably counting on the support of women too. Until she came out for Obama I don't recall ever heaing anything from her about any issue in the past 20 years!

Posted by: paris1969 | December 19, 2008 6:21 PM | Report abuse

We don't owe Caroline Kennedy anything. She suffered tragic losses that were high-profile; other suffer similar losses without either the public sympathy or the material safety net for even so much as decent funerals.

It's the Kennedy's who are bullying New York's governor - this isn't Camelot, and the Kennedy's are not our once and future aristocracy.

Giving a nice society lady whose kids have had the best of everything while she opposed giving the children of poor parents access to the same good schools her kids got because of her money (thus, able to avoid the crappy ones her uncle's supporters held hostage to the public school industry) is putting sentimentality above the country's needs. So she dreams of being a Senator - sounds like she can't even be bothered to vote, she's so rapt in the dream.

No no no. Find a smart young brown woman who worked her way through CUNY instead of this woman who has made a career of being a member of a famous, rich, sorrow-laden family. Someone who is the people and who understands what privilege is and does to this country.

Posted by: practica1 | December 19, 2008 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Kinsey offers a poor defense of Ms. Kennedy's possible selection -- that it would simply be business as usual. That there may have been no "fuss" over the appointment of past plutocrats to the Senate should not justify or excuse continuing the practice. Governor Patterson's duty is to appoint a Senator who is best able to represent the interests of the People of New York the moment he or she arrives in Washington.

Posted by: stevengerster | December 19, 2008 6:38 PM | Report abuse

I'm wondering what kind of "sacrifices" Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg actually did make. Yes, she grew up without a father - that's something lots of people had to do under much less fortunate circumstances. She grew up wealthy and sheltered, went to a prestigious law school, married wealthy, and now has a political career about to be handed to her simply because of her name. I have no reason not to believe she's honest and competent and would make a decent enough Senator, but please don't bring up her "sacrifice" for the country. She hasn't sacrificed anything yet and may never have to.

Posted by: rmpatera | December 19, 2008 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Tell it to john adams and george bush.At least shes smarter than sunny bonos wife no?

Posted by: truthynesslover | December 19, 2008 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Hate to break this to you but there are great numbers of us Democrats out here who don't want her as our representative!

Just because it's been passed on in the past to the inexpert does not mean that a bad tradition should continue.

How about something a qualified candidate that the people represented would appreciate having as a Senator!

Yikes, that sounds like some kind of evolution....

Posted by: buzzsaw1 | December 19, 2008 7:07 PM | Report abuse


A bit of a different perspective... A seafaring family is a seafaring family for generations, miners, plumbers, firemen, policemen... Farmers on the same land for 100 years are honored...

But if its politics, you call it entitlement?

I think George W. Bush was the worst possible Bush to have been rushed into the White House... just too dumb to serve, and no doubt has tainted the entire idea of politics as a family business..

But we should not take that out on Caroline.

Posted by: dutchess2 | December 19, 2008 7:26 PM | Report abuse

I used to think (a long long time ago) that being a well educated accomplished person of character was enough to be a Senator. Of course it helps to be rich - takes a lot of money to run for the Senate. What wxactly are the qualities necessary to be a credible candidate? Is being a Senator sooooo hard that an intelligent well rounded person can't do a credible job? CK is intelligent, educated, of good character and has been around politics all her life. She is also rich and beholden to no one. She is a person that could call any head of state in the world and they would take her call......but hey, nobody cares what I think anyway. Besides, I don't currently live in New York.....but looking around at some of the bozos sitting in the Senate today she looks pretty good to me.


Posted by: toritto | December 19, 2008 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Dang, if Michael isn't right again. Very much to the point!

Posted by: mmfleming1 | December 19, 2008 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Right or wrong does not depend on if anyone had done it before without notice. You cannot say stealing is a right thing to do just because your brother did that without been caught. People like Mike Kinsley has lost completely in the partisan bickering and forgot there is something called principle. The point here is that, if Kennedy, Caroline were so capable to be a senator of NY, where was she for the past 30 years? Why she suddenly become interested in politics after her "fatherly figure" Obama, Barak got elected" and want an appointment to Hillary Clinton's seat? Her uncle is dying, and if she want to inherit a seat, should it be the MA seat?

After all, all this nonsense is just dirty politics, isn't it, Mr Kinsley?

Posted by: work2play | December 19, 2008 8:08 PM | Report abuse

To itsagreatday: Parker did not say Palin was more qualified. Read her column again. She said Palin earned the governorship and did so without the help of privilege. but she said Palin was unqualified for Veep.

To Kinsley: you already pointed out the inapplicability of the Carnahan example. Voters knew that a vote for the dead guy was really a vote for his wife. As to Chafee and Murkowski: was there really no outcry whatsoever? Really? If everyone just went along with those two nominations, you have made a valid point.

Posted by: Compared2What | December 19, 2008 8:11 PM | Report abuse

New York has already proven that previous service to the state is not remotely a qualification for service. Clinton had been a resident for what, a week, when she announced for the Senate? But she ran and was elected in her own right. If New York wants another celebrity senator, then they have a right to vote her into office. But it's time to end favoritism appointments - like Murkowski, Carnahan or Chafee. We're not a third-world nation with a petty dictator. At the very least - these appointments should have to be approved by the state legislature or something. Between this and the Illinois debacle - the Democrats may be setting a new record for implosion. They haven't even seated their President and they're already playing games.

Posted by: mwcob | December 19, 2008 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Let me answer my own question about the alleged lack of controversy over Murkowski:"After former Gov. Frank Murkowski appointed his daughter, Lisa Murkowski, to his Senate seat in 2004 there was public outcry and the state law changed. Even Alaskans draw a line at allowing a politician to inherit a Senate seat." Source:

And try this one on for size, too:

So: you said it's OK to nominate CK because it was OK to nominate LM. But now that we know it was not OK to nominate LM . . . .

Posted by: Compared2What | December 19, 2008 8:20 PM | Report abuse

First off, appointing the spouse of an incumbent has a tradition in the US; usually, the spouse is a spacefiller who bows out or is defeated at the next (special) election. It is not without merit to think that a spouse a) knows & shares(usually) her spouse's ideology and agenda, and b) has participated in the melee of campaigning and fundraising. Nonetheless, this is a vestige of the 20th Century that might best be retired.

Appointing children is another thing altogether, and while I don't know anything about the Chaffee incident, I do know that the Murkowski incident was controversial enough that the Alaskan governor was stripped by subsequent referendum of the power to appoint a Senator.

Also, no one seriously claims Kennedy wouldn't be able to get to be senator except by appointment. Let her run, or better yet, let her run for council, then State House, then Attorney General, and then Senate.

Just let her run.

It's not Kennedy in the senate that I disapprove of; it's a never-before-elected-to-anything-by-New-York-voters-Kennedy-appointed-to-the-senate that I disapprove of, and I think those pundits who fail to see the distinction are either disingenuous or so misunderstand the basic idea of democracy (ie, representatives submitting themselves to the will of the citizenry, ideally for the office in question, but at the very least for something) that they have no right to continue their punditry in our republic.

Posted by: rvdee | December 19, 2008 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Caroline Kennedy is a New Yorker. Why should she carpetbag into Massachuesetts, just because some of her relatives live there?

The only other credible candidate is Andrew Cuomo, who happens to be the son of a recent governor.

Other than hashing out the minutiae of legislative protocol (and she may have heard a bit of that at family gatherings), she's got more qualification to serve in the Senate than most current Senators. Some of the best Senators are those who bring other qualities and qualifications than mere legislative experience.

The Kennedy family has collectively paid a much higher price than most Americans for serving their country, and she personally owns more of that grief than others. Would you tell the child of a Vietnam veteran that she hadn't suffered because her father died? Just when I thought I'd seen the dregs of Republican contempt for humanity, they find new depths. The people who say that the sacrifices of the Kennedys don't matter are disrespecting the nation that John and Robert died for.

Posted by: lartfromabove | December 19, 2008 9:09 PM | Report abuse

The only qualifications to be US senator include those in the constitution, be breathing, and be either rich or have access to the rich. Caroline Kennedy satisfies all those. If Strom Thurmond in his 90s could be senator, even though he didn't even know where he was half the time, I think Caroline can handle it.

Posted by: ursadog | December 19, 2008 9:21 PM | Report abuse

ursadog wrote:
"The only qualifications to be US senator include those in the constitution, be breathing, and be either rich or have access to the rich. Caroline Kennedy satisfies all those."

Really? One of qualifications for political office requires that one should be rich or know rich people? I rather thought that's one of the ways in which the polical process has gotten perverted over time. That citizens accept it explains a lot about our current political and economic crisis.

The advantage of appointed incumbency given the ridiculousness of having to raise millions of dollars in campaign contributions for any one who runs against the incumbent (in the case of Carolyn Kennedy let's add: rich incumbent) when elections *are* held just adds to the cynicism of the public.

Posted by: generaljinjur | December 19, 2008 11:27 PM | Report abuse

You make an unintended case against Carnahan and perhaps Murkowski -- what with it now being abundantly clear that being elected Governor of Alaska doesn't even mean you're not a boob. You are mistaken in saying the unease about Kennedy is just a GOP plot. I'm uneasy and I'm as rock-ribbed a Dem as there is.

Posted by: davidscott1 | December 20, 2008 2:35 AM | Report abuse

Having read this and Ms. Parker's column, I must remind us all of the sacrifice Ms. Kennedy has already made to our country. When her father was killed, we as a nation adopted her and her brother. We were charged with their well being. That doesn't stop. As far as I'm concerned, she can do whatever she likes and we should always help her accomplish her goals and dreams.

Posted by: knjhome | December 19, 2008 4:24 PM

The idea that anyone owes Caroline Kennedy a Senate seat is preposterous.

Posted by: davidscott1 | December 20, 2008 2:37 AM | Report abuse

Actually, there was a lot of flak over the Murkowski appointment. A voter initiative changed the law so that the Governor could no longer make such an appointment, and the appointment was one of the reasons Palin defeated Gov. Murkowski in the primary.

Posted by: woocane | December 20, 2008 2:47 AM | Report abuse

Yonkers, New York
20 December 2008

Good try, Michael Kinsley.

But, really, what has Caroline got other than her Kennedy name that entitles her to the Senate seat to be vacated by Hillary Clinton?

Has she ever held a public office? Or has she ever worked for a salary in a private enterprise? Has she exercised her right to vote, as a good citizen is expected to do, during the last several years?

If the American people thought John McCain was a fool to personlaly pick Sarah Palin, once mayor of Wasilla and a sitting governor of Alaska his running mate, what has Caroline got compared to Sarah?

Only her name. That's not enough, I'm sorry to say.

Mariano Patalinjug

Posted by: MPatalinjug | December 20, 2008 5:53 AM | Report abuse

How about this scenario?

Governor Paterson appoints Bill Clinton as caretaker to his wife's seat until the 2010 special election. At the same time because of their political ties, Obama appoints Caroline Kennedy to some very publicly accountable and visible "czarina" position in New York, maybe in the area of education, where she is seen as working statewide and producing tangible results. She and all other interested candidates run in an open primary--Cuomo, Kennedy, Gillibrand, Mahoney, et al. Voters decide the election.

Posted by: rdklingus | December 20, 2008 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Oh, come on, people who write such really dumb (pardon me) things as "did she ever work for a salary." omg

Those who talk "dynasty" in myriad ways are really expressing jealousy of supposed
inherited money. This is the bottom line
of objections to Caroline Kennedy.

She is married to a highly successful business man (read about him- he's very private but very smart and very interesting)and has been supported by him for decades and doesn't even need "family money." In fact, it is a full time job to manage whatever inheritance she does have in the form of a cultural and political legacy of one of the greatest presidencies in American history.

The New York State senatorship has in the past gone to stellar individuals who bring
talent and dedication to the people of New York and Caroline Kennedy is a fabulous addition to the list and I think it is absolutely right on that she would run for election in two years and win because of her record.

Posted by: annpatricia1 | December 20, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

I normally agree with Michael Kinsley, but on this issue we part ways. I am a NY Democrat (the kind that voted for Jesse Jackson and never really warmed to the Clinton presidency's "third way" of triangulation).

Caroline Kennedy is not my Senator ... yet. I don't doubt that Paterson is getting railroaded into appointing her. Ted Kennedy's aide is calling the labor unions to pressure them to take Randi Weingarten's name off the short list, which is an abuse of power given Kennedy's position on the labor committee (and that staffer's position as chief of staff). Likewise, Bloomberg has made it clear that the NYC political establishment sees Caroline as another downstate representative at a time when the Golden Age of New York City appears under threat.

If she ran for office, I might vote for her, but I'd like to see her stand in a debate, give sit-down interviews to real journalists and cut the crap about her qualifications as an author of books on the Constitution (she "co-wrote" a high-school level textbook) and a prodigious fundraiser. Raising funds for NYC schools is great, but most of it came from Bill Gates, so I remain unimpressed.

Not to mention, by the way, that we don't need the WASHINGTON Post telling us who our NEW YORK Senator should be.

Posted by: adrianstewart | December 20, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

It's high time,for We,the People to tell our phony crooked corrupt politicians of
both political parties,Democrat and Republican, NO MORE POLITICAL DYNASTY
Of The Kennedys,Or The Bushes Or The Clintons,Period!..Since the USA is not somekind of European Monarchy therefore
we donot need Lords,Ladies,Barons,or
Baronesses in charge or our political leadership and country and our own elected
government. Just Say NO Caroline Kennedy.

Posted by: Kim12785 | December 20, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

So please just say NO Caroline Kennedy for
US Senator from New York and NO more endless Kennedy,or Bush, or Clinton type
dynasty bunch running our USA. Its time
to throw these political dinosaurs out and
take back our America while we still have
one left to take back again.

Posted by: sandy5274 | December 20, 2008 7:07 PM | Report abuse

I'm a NYer and a lifelong progressive (pragmatically a Dem since we have no other real choices- although I voted for Barak on the "Working Families" party)

I DO NOT WANT Carolined Kennedy for my senator. Honestly, she has not put herself in a structured public service role until her support of Barak at age 52 and that single act does not qualify her to be Senator automatically. Run for AG, or congressperson first- her name is not in itself a qualification.

We have plenty of good cadidates here- I support Nydia Valasquez as the best choice, but there are others. Just not Caroline.


Posted by: nycLeon | December 21, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

This is a desperate move to keep the Kennedy name active in politics since Ted's health is declining. What Caroline will gain through all these personally is to make her children motherless. As long as the root cause of the Kennedy assasination is not clear, one could not contain how far the hatred for the Kennedy could have been.

Posted by: statistician | December 22, 2008 5:48 AM | Report abuse

The problem in New York is not simply Ms. Kennedy's lack of political (or other significant) accomplishments, it is the number of accomplished and qualified candidates who would be passed over.

The following are all hyper qualified to serve in the U.S. Senate on New York's behalf.

1. Former Democrat, former Republican, current independent Mayor Bloomberg of New York City. He has expertise in finance, has governed the city well, and has a national outlook.

2. Former Governor Mario Cuomo. This would be a great cap to an illustrious career. It could also serve as a temporary stop-gap tenure to hold the seat for open competition in 2010.

3. Current Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. He has served as HUD secretary and is a rising political presence in New York State. He also presents the most significant near-term political threat to current Governor Patterson.

4. Former Governor, former Attorney General Spitzer. This man's "crimes" were minimal. Although a little seedy no one knows more about the Wall Street mess than he.

5. Former New York City Mayor Giuiliani, although a Republican he has strong experience in national security issues.

6. New York County District Attorney Robert Morgenthau. Admittedly a little old (85), but again a good temporary appointment combined with a proper reward for a long and successful career in public service.

And this does not include the celebrities, the likes of Donald Trump, whose celebrity is as great as Ms. Kennedy's and who, based on his public and business experience, is far more qualified than Ms. Kennedy to represent the people of New York and bring new and innovative ideas. The other great attraction of Mr. Trump is the upside possibility that he could become President leading to a new reality series on law making with each week ending with the new tag line "your vetoed!" followed by the Bill stomping out of the room.

Posted by: krushX | December 22, 2008 8:02 AM | Report abuse

One other nomination: Jack McCoy (or fictional persona of Samuel Atkinson Waterston on Law and Order). At least he has played a politician on TV. And based on his TD Ameritrade commercials he has some experience with Wall Street high finance.

Posted by: krushX | December 22, 2008 8:08 AM | Report abuse

Anyone who thinks Princess Caroline is qualified to be a U.S. Senator isn't fit to clean toilets.

Posted by: shoveit | December 22, 2008 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Kinsley's full of it; he's probably on the guest list for the Kennedy Christmas party; a) Hillary WAS ELECTED - she faced the voters, after being 1st lady for 8 years - Caroline can do the same in 2010, just like anybody else. b) The closeness of this appointment to the election gives whoever gets it an enormous advantage in 2010;

Here's my solution:

Appoint a caretaker - an elder statesman who pledges not to run in 2010; my vote? Mario Cuomo - then let the others - including Caroline and Andy Cuomo - fight it out BEFORE THE VOTERS - as it should be - appoint somebody good and respected who pledges not to run, who would just finish the Hillary term - then the nepotism issue is moot.

It is fascinating to me though that after all these years, when the Kennedy political machine gears up, it is hard to beat - Joe Sr. would be proud.

Posted by: ricr | December 22, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

How amusing all of this faux GOP outrage is. It beggars amusement because, Sarah Palin was all set to appoint herself to Ted Stevens seat had he won and was then removed by Senate action. It would have be interesting to see the completely different reaction we would be getting from the GOP in defending Sarah Palin. They were almost salivating in anticipation.

Posted by: jaxas | December 22, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

The truly amusing factor in all of this is that the congressional critics of Ms Kennedy are guilty of such monumental malfeasance in office that it boggles the mind that they could muster up the tripes to criticize anyone for not having sufficient "experience". Its not as if they have performed so scintillatingly that we should listen to them for advice on anything--excpet may for how to lead the country into economic oblivion. Caroline could not possibly do as bad a job as they have already done.

Posted by: jaxas | December 22, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Let me get this straight. And let me make this clear, I am a Democrat through and through. There have been those of the Democrat persuasion who have criticized Obama's cabinet choices because they were experienced and did not represent "change". Here we have a woman without "political" experience and Democrats are holding it against her.

Since I live in MD I don't have a stake in this, but it seems to me she is as qualified to be Senator. The one thing she would have that not many other candidates would have is the ear of the soon-to-be President Obama. How many junior senators would be able to say that?

So vett her, New York. Don't assume you know her just because of her name and background. That's elitism in reverse.

Posted by: baltimoremom | December 22, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

knjhome--Caroline Kennedy has never sacrificed a thing. She certainly has the same sense of entitlement that all the Kennedys have. Most people, including myself, were born after JFK was killed. As far as I am concerned, this does not mean that she gets to walk into the NY Senate seat. As a NY state resident, I do not want her representing NY. She has no qualifications. She couldn't even tell reporters what her qualification are when asked in upstate NY what they are. I bet that was the first time she ever saw any part of upstate NY. Caroline should continue being a Manhattan socialite. She has never done a noteworthy thing.

Posted by: Maryann261 | December 22, 2008 9:49 PM | Report abuse


Quite independent of Caroline Kennedy's qualifications or non-qualifications for the senatorial appointment, a general question is important:

Is the precedence of past nepotism regarding whichever position a valid argument for continuation of nepotism?


Posted by: AMemberofHumanSociety | December 23, 2008 1:33 AM | Report abuse

Kinsley is spot on! The uproar about Kennedy's "campaign" for the seat is because R's don't want to allow an unbeatable candidate to get the on-the job training that would empower her like anyone else who might get appointed.

Posted by: tigman_2 | December 23, 2008 4:19 AM | Report abuse

"(I)t is precisely the fear that she would be a formidable candidate, likely to be elected again and again, that is driving Republicans to gin up a phony issue and bully New York Gov. David Patterson out of appointing her."

I agree with Kinsley's analysis here.

Posted by: Jeff-for-progress | December 23, 2008 7:01 AM | Report abuse

Would it not be more appropriate for Caroline Kennedy to wait until her uncle retires and run in Mass. for his seat?

Posted by: andyod | December 23, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

The biggest noise about Caroline Kennedy ascending to the throne, I mean getting appointed to the senate is from Democrats. Let's face it -- a woman who hasn't voted in elections, worked 2 hours a week, is not representative of your average NYer. There are lots of very qualified women and minority ELECTED officials, all who are democrat, who have earned that position. It is insane to say because her father was shot and her brother flew his plane into the water, we owe them. Do we not owe every soldier's who died in war more? What about the daughter of a firefighter who ran into the burning twin towers knowing they were going to collapse? Isn't his daughter even more worthy?

Posted by: Cornell1984 | December 23, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse

The arrogance of her not answering questions and not disclosing her finances is unacceptable. Like most Kennedys,we will find that they have skirted the law and abused "trusts" to escape estate taxes. Let her run in 2010, but I would say put in the congressional representative who got the most votes (a democrat) in the entire state. Hasn't the arrogance of rich New Yorkers gotten us into enough mess? Hasn't the Hamptons Hedge Fund crowd told us there are 2 sets of rules: one for them, and one for the rest of us?

Posted by: Cornell1984 | December 23, 2008 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Putting Caroline Kennedy Shlossberg in the Senate seat is ridiculous. She knows absolutely nothing about anything going on north of upper Manhattan, the parts of the state that are going to be hardest hit when the Wall Street economic engine sputters and the state's finances will be an unbelievable mess.

And the idea that Republican are afraid that's she'd be too formidable an opponent in 2010 shows an absolutely hilarious grasp of the state of the NY GOP these days.

Anyone named to the seat by Patterson would, lacking some serious malfeasance or scandal, be an overwhelming mortal lock to win re-election once they cleared the Democrat primary.

Posted by: TCLeatherPenguin | December 23, 2008 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Why does the MSM insist on holding female political candidates to a different standard that male candidates? This is getting to be ridiculous!

Where are the articles about the other potential appointees for Hillary's Senate Seat? And, why doesn't the MSM point out that Caroline Kennedy is more qualified today to become a US Senator for New York than was Hillary Clinton when she successfully ran for Senate?

You are doing the same thing to Caroline Kennedy that you did to Sarah Palin. You are apparently attempting to trivialize her and her experience, which is at least as strong than any of the other appointees I have heard about.

Posted by: mike85 | December 23, 2008 10:00 PM | Report abuse

If Caroline Kennedy wants to be a senator after all these years of not showing one iota of interest in the political arena -- she should start to make plans to run for the seat in 2010. She should not expect to be given that seat just because she wants it. She should get that seat because the New York voters want her, not because the governor will be pressured to appoint her.

Posted by: mafox1 | December 23, 2008 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Kennedy is DOA in Up-state New York. What we don't want is another celebrity socialite who will do nothing for us in the northern part of the state. 1 in 3 citizens in Up-state New York are receiving some sort of government assistance - our economy is a joke - we are treated like serfs by the New York City crowd. The long history of carpet baggers passing through New York state is sickening to us in the north. Ms Kennedy seems very nice, however has done very little in the political arena and in fact seems to want nothing to do with the "un-washed" masses. What we don't need in this time of crisis in a debutante who has decided it would be fun to have Senator on her resume. Her only claim to fame is being the daughter of a slain US president.

Posted by: GOPNAZI | December 23, 2008 11:54 PM | Report abuse

Has Jennifer Palmieri taken over Mike Kinsley's blog? I know he likes to be contrarian, but he must be well aware that previous nepotism in the Senate doesn't justify nepotism in the future.

How about judging based on results and experience, as we do when filling any other position? Just a thought.

Posted by: RaccoonDog | December 24, 2008 2:12 AM | Report abuse

Some people believe that CK wants the Senate job so that she can run for president in 2016. Now that is a mind chiller. Irregardless of what Kathleen Parker says or has said, Gov Sarah Palin is much more qualified that CK to be a Senator, VP or President. In fact, Sarah Palin will be much more qualified in 2012 and 2016 than CK. Sarah has been a part of government for several years already. A very apalling thing to me is that CK supported Obama. Her judgement is lacking.

Posted by: annnort | December 24, 2008 5:22 AM | Report abuse

I'm wondering why the real story is ignored. Two states. The governor of one state, an elected official, tells the parties interested in being appointed Senator what the price of admission is. The other governor, who wasn't even elected governor, tells all that having a Kennedy on the ticket in 2010 would help the governor raise more money for his campaign. The first governor is deemed a thief. The other governor is deemed a saint. What's wrong with this picture?

Posted by: abash40 | December 24, 2008 6:13 AM | Report abuse

I hear that Fran Dresher also wants to be the U.S. from New York. Comparatively speaking, I would say that Caroline Kennedy is very qualified.

Posted by: jweider007 | December 24, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

As a Republican, I don't "fear" that Caroline Kennedy would be elected time and time again, because I already know that ANY Democrat appointed to Hillary Clinton's Senate seat will be elected again and again.

New York is one of the most solidly Democratic states in the Union. The Republicans have ZERO chance of beating ANY Democratic candidate for the Senate in New York. Governor Paterson could, therefore, safely appoint a qualified, experienced Democratic Congressman or mayor or activist to take the seat, confident that the seat will remain in the Democratic column for decades to come.

There's absolutely no political advantage to appointing Caroline Kennedy in a state like New York.

Posted by: astorian | December 24, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Caroline Kennedy's detractors can easily be divided into two camps: House Democrats who, having failed to distinguish themselves thus far, want a shot at further padding their resumes; and Republicans who, bereft of ideas that can win back the middle class and the educated, are panicked at the thought of running against her.

Posted by: jac2jess | December 24, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

abash40, you are really on to something. I have been scratching my head trying to figure out why Blagojevich's actions are criminal while Patterson's are standard horse-trading. Could this have anything to do with the fact that a prosecution of Blagojevich could make Barack Obama and his advisors look bad? Nah, that just can't be true.

And to those who would point at Caroline Kennedy's apparent lack of qualifications, I have to ask: What exactly were Hillary Clinton's qualifications at the time she ran for the Senate? I can think of exactly one: she was the wife of our former president. (Unless you count her central role in the debacle which set health care reform back 20 years, although I do think she learned from this whopper of a mistake). I'm a fan of Ms. Clinton -- I think she did a good job as Senator and will do fine over at State -- but Caroline Kennedy is every bit as qualified as the woman who the voters of New York chose to elect to this seat a couple of years back...

Posted by: jerkhoff | December 24, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

And to those who try to demean Caroline Kennedy's sacrifice on behalf of our nation, or the sacrifice of the Kennedy clan as a whole, your position is sickening. No family has ever experienced more pain and suffering because of lives devoted to public service. The Kennedy's could easily live out their lives at the yacht club and golf course instead of pursuing political careers. And Caroline Kennedy indeed was forced to make the supreme sacrifice -- she lost her father. Whatever nasty things you have to say about this woman, do not ever -- EVER -- demean this family for what they have given to our nation.

Posted by: jerkhoff | December 24, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

you know, it's not like she had dropped in from no where. as she has stated, like most of you have, she is inspired by Pres-Elect Obama and wants to be involved in helping our country work. what is wrong with that? she isn't unknowledgeable -- take away the "Kennedy" label. What there is -- is a mother, lawyer, education advocate who has made things happen, very well aware of the public service/government machinations, well-connected in private and public sectors -- does that sound like someone who wouldn't know what to do?
happy holidays, all

Posted by: janegrey777 | December 24, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Just because it has happened before does not mean it should happen again and then there is the fact that two of the three people mentioned at least had elected positions already. I have heard a lot of lame reasons for why people should not be outraged by Caroline Kennedy's presumption that she should be the next Senator fron New York, but this one beats all. What happened to selecting people who have worked hard and have experience for a position? Apparently, celebrity trumps everything else. What a sad statement on our modern democracy.

Posted by: KJS1956 | December 24, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

If anyone every deserved a 'place at the table' she deserves the seat. The personal and emotional sacrifice that she and her very immediate family have suffered low these many years provides the entrance exam and price of admission. And she certainly possesses sufficient quantities of intelligence and grace (perhaps too much so for her intended target). Thank you for speaking in her honor Kinsley. My opinion of you is greatly increased because of it.

Posted by: warehousemanalive | December 24, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

First, too many liberals look like Kinsley - small, kinda' creepy, a fey, tepid voice as proof of the appearance...anyway. It is true that Kennedy will likely be elected again and again. She, like our new president, has achieved very little politically, is part of politics-chic, and is more a cult of personality than an actual person. Her name is her resume; as it is with our new president. They don't really have to achieve anything substantial. People like Obama and Kennedy merely must stand firm while the media, small men like Mr. Kinsley, manufacture them, distill them, make them viable in voter’s eyes. You could go to any retail manager in your local mall and find a person with more personal responsibility, market savvy, and real-world work experience than Ms. Kennedy. For Kinsley, though, she's the bee’s knees. (Look at the picture of Kinsley - he definitely uses phrases like "bees knees".)

Posted by: Jasper-Ballbaggins | December 24, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

For Jerkhoff who wrote "No family has ever experienced more pain and suffering because of lives devoted to public service."

-There is one family that has suffered more due to the Kennedy's service - the Kopechnes'. But Mary Jo could not be reached to verify whether my statement be true or no.

As for this gem: "The Kennedy's could easily live out their lives at the yacht club and golf course instead of pursuing political careers."

Ummmm - that happens to be precisely what they do. Except Ted is known to prefer the Irish pub where he can serenade old members of the Irish Republican Army.

Posted by: Jasper-Ballbaggins | December 24, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Kinsley has long been one of the most reliably obsequious shills for chi-chi Establishment Lib CW in journalism. He's a decent guy in many respects, but his main talent is finding a way to express in print what the Dem party bosses want to hear. The pity is many times the pretzel-like logic he employs serves to forward a wrongheaded cause, as it does in the present case, where he endorses a completely and totally unqualified individual seeking a high office on the basis of her name alone, simply because he's attracted to the glamor of the Kennedys.

Posted by: becket03 | December 24, 2008 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Kinsley is indignant at the "claim that Caroline Kennedy could never get to be a senator except by appointment."

That is not the objection, as he well knows.

Rather, it is her utter unpreparedness. She has not undertaken any part of the work of achieving the necessary skills and background.

Suppose Ms Kennedy wanted to be appointed conductor of the New York Philharmonic. That would be denied her, not because she might not have what it takes to be a good conductor, but because she has not prepared herself for the demands of the job, and has nowhere demonstrated that she has acquired the necessary skills.

Kingsly is justifying nepotism because there is a history of nepotism, and Caroline is reaching for a job no one, similarly unqualified, would presume to request. It shows that she lacks what most of us thought she had, common sense and class.

Posted by: nacllcan | December 26, 2008 6:53 AM | Report abuse

The only other credible candidate is Andrew Cuomo,

...says someone who obviously doesn't live in new york, and probably doesn't know who lowey, maloney, suozzi, weiner or nadler are.

Posted by: benjoya | December 26, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Suddenly there is a conscience concerning qualification. It was not present 8 years ago when Clinton ran. It definitely was not present in this past presidential election. But now, it matters.

Posted by: Verrazzano | December 26, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Micheal Kinsey is mistaken again. Besides his so, so typical cheap shot at Republicans, as if this whole issue is not the making of the Cuomo family (with some justification since they were next in line), the arguments FOR CK are not that she could win elections for lower offices over time and thus qualify herself for US Senator, but that she has already qualified herself. Her demeanor in the face of so many family tragedies, her grace in the face of the public spotlight for a half century and so many other obviously apparent virtues make her an excellent choice. Americans like Kinsley over downplay the criticality of virtue (like they did with Gov. Sarah Palin) and over elevate experience in public office. Think Blagojevich, think Spitzer, think Ted Stevens, etc., etc. Our founding fathers and mothers had character as much, if not more, than they had experience in public office. And then did a great job, as would CK. And I actually think she would be too liberal, but that is not reason to ignore her valid qualifications.

Posted by: smv604 | December 26, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

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