My thoughts on the world around me

The Junior Senator From NY: Caroline, er, Kirsten Gillibrand

As reported in The Huffington Post, Kirsten Gillibrand will be taking over the Senate seat vacated by Hillary Rodham Clinton.

As for Caroline Kennedy, she really couldn’t have managed this situation more poorly.

Where She Went Wrong

She should never have courted Gov. Paterson publicly, or at least as publicly as she did. In the blink of an eye, she went from private figure/JFK’s daughter to Obama supporter to the future junior senator from New York. One day the media pundits are wondering whether she’ll make a run at the seat, and the next she’s already in upstate New York talking to the key players in New York politics. A bit fast? A bit too in your proverbial face?

She would have been wise to speak to Paterson privately, behind closed doors. There would have been less pressure on both of them, and it would have shown more political savvy. Her entrance onto the political stage was dramatic from the start, and now her political death makes for equally good theater.

The Withdrawal Effect

Caroline Kennedy’s withdrawal from the Senate seat is a disaster for women in politics. Even if people don’t say it, the gender issue will be on their minds. Why couldn’t she just stick it out? If she wasn’t picked, then she wasn’t picked. It would have been an unfortunate political defeat, but at least she would have saved face. She could’ve gotten more experience working alongside lawmakers and other New York public figures, and then made a run in two years when that very Senate seat is up. At that point, who would deny her? She has the Kennedy name, would’ve had her face in the news for a couple years, and would’ve had a campaign fund raising machine behind her unlike any of her competitors. That was a total lack of foresight.

Now she leaves the media to wonder what happened. A housekeeper issue? Her taxes weren’t in order? She wanted to be near her ailing uncle?

Talk about a missed opportunity.


January 23, 2009 - Posted by | Politics, Women's Issues | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Gov. Blago did the Democrats a huge favor. By appointing Sen. Burress, a qualified Black man, he prevented the outrage of this nation from being thrust upon New York, the Democrats, and the Media. Why did Hillary’s seat have to be filled by a woman? Caroline Kennedy’s name came up because she was a woman, but it dropped when she looked “Palinesque.” The woman wasn’t qualified and Paterson filled a quota. Imagine if Paterson went first and Harry Reid opposed a Black man? Blago did us all a favor.

    Comment by Cecil Jones | January 23, 2009 | Reply

  2. Well said.
    Eventhough I still want to think that there’s more to it than she is saying. She had always stayed away from the public eye, and now that she decided to go for it,this happens. I really want to believe that something happened beyond her control that made her withdraw.

    Comment by amc | January 23, 2009 | Reply

  3. OK, I have a [conspiracy?] theory about Caroline’s withdraw for a Senate seat. It is not original, but it makes more sense that some of the claims the media and the establishment is trowing to her. I do not pretend to believe that the Obama era will bring saints to government, but something is not quite right about this vetting process. Long-time politicians, especially professional family politicians (a.k.a. Kennedys, Clintons, Bushes, and few other US royalties) know better.
    I read somewhere that the former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer had been investigated for very long time before being charged on paying for sex and (ha!) violations of Commerce Law (a.k.a. paying a prostitute across state borders; from NY to DC). So the questions is: why now? I read somewhere that Spitzer, despite being a loser, confronted some of the Big Kahunas in Wall Street, long before the s… hit the fan. Aha! now we have something! Also, on the same lines, New York Senator Schumer, disliked Spitzer’s sheriff, though approach to this rich boy’s club. Conspiracy theory? –perhaps. Now, suddenly, Caroline Kennedy was not as spotless as people wanted to be….really? And Governor Paterson, the blind guy, does not support Caroline, but supports Kirsten Gilliband, a well known long-time NRA supporter. Ah! So let me connect the dots and formulate my theory: Caroline will not “play ball” with the NY establishment and needs to be ostracized big time. Think about it: what do Senators from Michigan support and promote? The terminate ill auto industry. What do any other Senator promote? The interest of their state. What is the main industry of New York? You got it! Financial services. What does Kevin Spacey says about Kaiser Soze in the interview with the NY cops in “The usual suspects”? ( “the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist…”
    So, who’s the cripple here and who benefit? Aha! Sorry Caroline, with a history of your uncle prosecuting the mob we have enough.

    Comment by CrazyGlue | January 25, 2009 | Reply

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