The good Professor Blanchard stays up late to give a drubbing to Caroline Kennedy and her non-electoral quest to become the next Senator from New York. I've made clear previously that I'm not terribly interested in defending the next crown princess of East Coast politics. Caroline Kennedy just isn't a big issue for South Dakota politics. But I can already hear a few commenters sharpening their hypocrisy axes, thinking, "Oh, that Madville Times sure lit into Sarah Palin, but he hasn't said word one about that Kennedy lady," so I guess I'll say something.
I don't know Caroline Kennedy that well, and I don't plan to give her much attention, since she's not asking for my vote. I did listen to the "you know"-filled interview Dr. Blanchard linked and bemoaned, and I too found it uneloquent. On Dr. Blanchard's thesis that Kennedy sounds as unready for prime-time as Palin did in her Couric calamities, I will only note that while Kennedy can be faulted for poor delivery and vagueness, her interviews still aren't quite the exercises in buffoonish and illogical sloganspeak the GOP brought us last fall.
Sure, Caroline Kennedy is a smart woman. But New York's a big state filled with smart people. Governor Paterson could throw a dart at the New York Times and hit a New Yorker just as smart and capable of governing as Caroline Kennedy. Heck, why not appoint New York Times columinst and Nobel laureate in economics Paul Krugman (oops, he lives in New Jersey) or Thomas Friedman (dang! Bethesda, Maryland! but you get the idea... and if Clinton moved, so can these guys).
Or go for smarts and political experience: send NY Attorney General Andrew Cuomo—or his dad, ex-governor Mario Cuomo! Send Mayor Ed Koch to raise hell for a couple years. Promote Carolyn Maloney from House to Senate and let Kennedy prove her political chops in a special election for that vacated House seat (so says Gloria Steinem).
But what do I know... or care? From the middle of my snowdrift here in South Dakota, I say New York, do your thing. If name recognition is what you think is in your state's best interest, then Caroline Kennedy is your gal. But in a straight résumé fight, it's hard to see Kennedy coming out on top of the New York political heap.
Prairie Postscript: My South Dakota perspective suggests one reason we might cheer a Caroline Kennedy pick: she will likely not represent New York as effectively as Tim Johnson and John Thune will continue to represent South Dakota. New York trades pit bull Clinton for powder puff Kennedy; that's one less powerful urban interest rural senators have to fight.
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