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Selling Caroline Kennedy and Other Mistakes


Photo:  AP

I was a young child during the John F. Kennedy era in American politics. I do recall his effect on the adults in my life. The Kennedys were American royalty. It is a tad uncomfortable, even from a distance, to watch the clumsy debut of Caroline Kennedy’s political career. As a woman, I am insulted and borderline ticked off on several levels.

You see, politics is what it is, a game. Sometimes politics is a poorly written situation comedy also.  Case in point, the emergence of Caroline Kennedy in New York politics as the possible person to replace Senator Hillary Clinton when she is confirmed Secretary of State as part of Barack Obama’s cabinet.

Ms. Kennedy has been placed on display, scrutinized, criticized and her qualifications questioned. Then as if she has to campaign for the appointment, her handlers start the road tour that has her eating collard greens and cornbread at Sylvia’s soul food restaurant in Harlem and appearing very uncomfortable when questioned by soldiers. It is painful to watch this intelligent, capable woman appear to grovel for a position that she is qualified to hold.

Am I a Caroline Kennedy supporter? Well, whether I am or not is not the point. The point is that she’s qualified and shouldn’t be made to feel as though she has to jump through any hoops. There’s too much of a hard sell of Caroline Kennedy to the public for a position that will be appointed by the governor. It’s a big mistake. It makes her look as if she needs a favor to get the job. As a woman, that is infuriating.

Clearly, the Kennedy name has lost some of its luster as evidenced by the hoopla over this situation in the first place. Some resistance is likely tied to the resentment of Kennedy’s strong support for Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton in the presidential primary. Let’s not forget that New York Governor Paterson supported Clinton.

My advice to Caroline Kennedy is to be herself. The only person that has to be convinced she’s the best choice as Senator is Governor Paterson. If appointed, Kennedy has until the 2010 election to prove that she’s the best.

There will be plenty of time for eating at Sylvia’s and kissing babies when she campaigns for 2010 whether she’s appointed now or not.



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