Thursday, December 18, 2008

Arguably The Stupidest Liberal Of The Week

As the last person on earth to write about Caroline Kennedy, I too am pretty strongly against handing her a Senate seat. Nothing personal -- but I'm anti-dynasty, and feel that a Senate appointment requires at least some minimum threshold of experience and engagement.

It's worth emphasizing though how unseemly the whole thing is, particularly in the age of Blago. The Blago pay-for-play raises some interesting line-drawing challenges. Legislators seek favors all the time -- that's a huge part of what legislating is. But where is the line?

The key I think is to focus one the purpose of the benefit sought. If it's for some plausibly public benefit, then fine. If it's for private benefit, then that's where things start getting smelly. If Blago, for instance, had said "I demand that you push for universal health care. If you do, I'll appoint your preferred candidate." That's pay-for-play in a sense -- it's demanding a "payment" of sorts -- but that's perfectly acceptable in our current system.

Apparently, Publius has decided that Caroline Kennedy is George Rod Blagojevich in drag.
Long-time readers of this blog know that I have a certain...affinity for the Kennedys. It comes from having been acquaintances, I suppose. People of the same age on the Upper East Side tended to gravitate to one another, especially in the clubs and boites that served us.
But even ignoring that for a moment, Publius, if I'm reading this semi-literate drivel correctly, is saying that a Kennedy, offering to serve out the two years mandated by state law of Hillary Clinton's term, is somehow the same thing as Jesse Jackson, Jr. being held up for ransom.
Unseemly? To say it's insulting is an understatement. Let's deconstruct this for a moment.
Caroline Kennedy has shown across the course of her life-- adult and child-- nothing but good judgement. She has served admirably in any number of compassionate, charitable roles and offices. Indeed, I often wondered why she allowed her brother John to serve as the political face of the JFK legacy. She was clearly the brains of the outfit.
Again, I can make that comment based on immediate observations, not Publius' sackcloth-and-ashes assumptions. Boots on the ground, as it were.
And it's not like Caroline was sitting at the kiddies' table for the past thirty Thanksgivings at Hyannisport. I wager she learned quite a bit about politics and legislating from Uncles Teddy and Sargent, and Cousins Ahnuld, Patrick, Bobby Jr, Andrew Cuomo...not to mention the assorted lieutenant governors and state legislators.
Caroline chose a path that saw her be a full-time mother and a part-time activist, and yet Publius, who I'm presuming is a man and perhaps has a certain bias towards the glass ceiling, holds her lack of notoriety and "achievement" against her.
This is much like claiming Hillary Clinton did nothing for children all her life, despite the fact that she served as an organizing advisor to the Children's Defense Fund and raised Chelsea.
Indeed, Caroline Kennedy has been what Barack Obama ran as and what Sarah Palin and John McCain and the other rapacious Republican reptiles mocked: a community organizer. After all, she serves on the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, helped create the Profiles In Courage award, worked as director of the Office of Strategic Partnerships for the the New York City Department of Education, vice-chair of the board of directors of The Fund for Public Schools. Hell, she's got better education creds than the jackass Obama nominated at Secretary of Education!
Et tu, Publius? Es vos iunctio lacerta?
The bit that got under my skin, however, was the "dynasty" comment. How idiotic do you have to be to think that dynasties have not been, are not, and will not be the primary means of achieving political office in America for the future? Seriously!
Barack Obama and John McCain ALONE spent nearly $1 billion dollars to in this past election cycle, and all candidates in total spent nearly two billion. Two years ago, I had written that we might be looking at the first election cycle where candidates in total spent over a billion, primaries and general.
So, Pubby, you may not like it, but deal with it: you aren't going to get campaign finance reform that levels the playing field anytime soon and apart from Barack Obama, it's unlikely that enough people will coalesce around enough different candidates that the playing field will tilt away from dynasties.
In fact, how many years will it be before Michelle Obama runs for office? I'm surprised her name hasn't been touted for the open seat in Illinois! All Obama has done is add one more family to the aristocracy of this nation that began with Adamses, then Harrisons, then Roosevelts, then Bushes, Kennedys, Clintons, Bidens, Gores, et al!
So if we're going to have to allow for dynasties, and we have a perfectly useful dynasty in the Kennedys, one that has a track record of putting the people first, then why not slip one more into the Senate?