Caroline has done nothing to deserve a Senate seat.

It used to be thought rather touching and certainly harmless when we marked our own milestones through the lives of celebrities. But now the revolt is growing against the celebrity culture, even as the celebs themselves appear to be cashing in on fame more and more. In spite of all his obsessively documented flaws, JFK himself was a real star ; charisma is an over-worked word but his surely still comes across to the generations who don’t remember him. But daughter Caroline? Well done, the highly partisan pro-Democrat Huffington for predicting a rocky road to Hillary’s Senate seat. The New York Times is proving objective, reminding readers that in the end, all politics is local. So is the fashion for dynastic politics coming to an end? The Kennedys of course still qualify as quasi-royalty, perpetually caught in their own unique vortex of tragedy, conspiracy theory, glamour and power which they seem to regards as theirs both by fate and by right. Caroline herself has led a very un-Kennedyesque, discreet and apparently blameless life unlike her father and uncles including the “Lion of the Senate” Ted, who is now lucky enough to reach apotheosis in his final struggle with his brain tumour. Its a long way and a long time from Chappaquiddick.

It now seems as if Ted’s own children and Robert’s aren’t up to the mark to replace Ted as the family’s Senate presence. The Kennedys clearly regard it as unthinkable that no Kennedy should occupy a seat there after 56 or so years ( apart from one short break from 1960 to 62 when a family placeman kept the President’s old Mass. seat warm for Ted to allow him to reach the statutory minimum age of 30).

On Caroline herself , all we have had of her are glimpses, like that moment of another tragedy, when the cancer specialist Hamilton- Fairley was killed by an IRA bomb intended for the Tory MP Hugh Fraser, with whom Caroline was staying at the time. Caroline at least seems to have led the life free of rattling skeletons which is now necessary in this far more prying age – but surely that isn’t enough.

The Bushs, the Clintons, the Kennedys. Political dynasties have always played in the US but never as much as in our supposedly more democratic age. It makes America seem more like those turbulent south Asian democracies which still cling to hereditary elites, with their Gandhis, Bhuttos, Bandaranaikes and Mujibs. It suggests a sclerotic democracy at the top, but perhaps there are grounds for cautious hope for a freeer flow in Obama’s victory.

Dynasties of course are not unknown in Ireland. Thank God the British have at least expelled the hereditaries from sitting as of right in the House of Lords!

  • Thank God the British have at least expelled the hereditaries from sitting as of right in the House of Lords!

    You’re joking, of course? Hereditaries may be (on their way to becoming) history, but the filling of seats and sinecures with family members is far from over.

    Need I mention a certain Baroness Paisley, and ask you what she did to deserve an unelected position of power?

    Need I draw your attention to the rumours about Diane Dodds filling in for hubby should he be persuaded to commit Euro-kari?

    There are many examples of this in Ireland, north and south. Caroline Kennedy would simply be continuing the old Irish tradition.

  • Greenflag

    ‘Thank God the British have at least expelled the hereditaries from sitting as of right in the House of Lords!’

    Took their time about it too . Still better late than never . Yet they still have their Head of State as an hereditary monarch with either Princes Charlles or William lining up for the next tour of duty .

    Don’t know much about Caroline Kennedy other than Obama picked her to head the committee which shorlisted his choices for VP . Her name may help get her elected but it won’t keep her in the seat if she does’nt perform .

  • ulsterfan

    This is the same seat held by her uncle Robert who was canvassing Irish Americans in one fishing port and made a most wonderful promise that he and his family would always eat fish on Friday.
    Having the name Kennedy is no guarantee of success nor should it.
    Let her be judged on her own merits and not be dragged down by a name which is not held in high esteem.

  • ZoonPol

    Why would Dodds want Europe? He would have to give up his MP and MLA seats.

  • Why would Dodds want Europe? He would have to give up his MP and MLA seats.

    Its all here:

    [Shameless plug, sorry]

  • pith

    It’s not so much why would Dodds want Europe but more why would Robinson want him to want it.

    Anyway, back to the Kennedys. The place is full of them.

  • 6countyprod

    Some interesting background on US political dynasties from the folks at HotAir.

  • I read that Huffpo thing, and thought it was reasonable, balanced and not hostile to Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg (amazing how the married surname has been lost in recent days).

    Why is she not a good candidate? She has done well for NYC in arts and education. A Park Lane lawyer obviously has problems being accepted so easily upstate (or even in Brooklyn), but so did Hillary Rodham Clinton, and so would any Democrat (except in Brooklyn). The rabid-Right, Murdoch-owned New York Post has already blessed her: hmmm…

    I note that most of the other names in the frame are also female: perhaps, that’s almost a given in this context. The quality of the field, though, is enviable.

    On the other hand, there’s an uncomfortable relationship (allegedly) between the Clintons and the Kennedys. There’s the festering sore of the divorce between State Attorney-General Andrew Cuomo (a possible alternative, and a good one, for the Senate nod) and a Kennedy cousin (incestuous bunch, aren’t they?).

    I see a wicked suggestion that Governor Paterson follow the Illinois example and put the seat on eBay.

    And, in the not too distant future, they’ll need another Kennedy for the Massachusetts seat.

    However, for the home of the former Braves and the land of no free lunch, not to omit the cradle of Western Democracy, I find it curious that occasional vacancies like this are filled at the whim of the Governor.

  • dewi

    Yeah Malcolm – it’s a strange process and conducive to dynasty and chicanery (have not commiserated for your mother in law’s troubles – I’m glas she’s ok).
    Always loved the photo btw.

  • wild turkey


    just a point of pedantic info. Originally, Senators were elected by the state legislatures, not by the citizens. Direct election was established in 1913 by the passage of the Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Senate was seen by the Framers of the constitution to ensure the concerns of property and privledge were not undermined by the directly elected rabble in the house of representatives.

    anyway rumour has it that a consortium of writers who have previously worked on the sopranos, deseperate housewives and shameless are working on are working on WestWingII.

    ‘There are many examples of this in Ireland, north and south. Caroline Kennedy would simply be continuing the old Irish tradition.’

    Nail on the head. I defy any british and/or irish political commenter to bad mouth american nepotism…and keep a straight face.

    merry christmas y’all

  • wild turkey @ 04:46 PM:

    Thanks for American Government 101. I think that’s the first time I’ve been moved to read the 17th Amendment. Gosh: I feel better for it already.

    West Wing II cannot come soon enough: on the basis of the “fictive” future envisaged by the seventh series (Santos/Obama; Vinick/McCain/; “Bingo Bob”/Hillary; Leo/Biden; Rahm/Josh etc) it should make political betting for 2012 and beyond a doddle. What I don’t understand, though, is why we need political entertainment when Governor Sarah Mooseblaster does it for free.

    Now, as for “property and privilege” versus “the directly-elected rabble”, I hope all and sundry cottoned on to Alex Hilton a.k.a. Recess Monkey earwigging David Davis.

    Also, thanks to you for the kind thought, dewi @ 04:31 PM: all seems well with the good lady. Sorry to all for self-detonation.

  • Earnan

    FACT: She never practiced law a day in her life. Please stop saying she is a lawyer.

    Many rich people go to law school or grad school to prolong their stay at university, for no other reason than they can.

  • Back to the original posting by Brian Walker @ 11:19 AM.

    I missed this: Thank God the British have at least expelled the hereditaries from sitting as of right in the House of Lords! Alas, there’s still 92 of the buggers in situ!

    Two of the 92 are absolutely hereditary (The Duke of Norfolk as Earl Marshal, and the alternating-but-both-snappily-named Cholmondeleys and Heathcote-Drummond-Willoughbys as Lord Great Chamberlain). If one of the other 90 pops his/her clogs cork-heeled shoon, the remaining 91 get to vote for a replacement. There’s even a self-nominated list of some 175 wannabes (as updated on 3rd December 2008).

    If all that wasn’t bizarre enough, there’s the matter of the Lordly bogs. I gather that these are marked “Peers only” and “Lady Peers only”. So, no number twos, chaps. Then, the Lady Peers got distinctly miffed when one of their toilets was allocated for double-use as a prayer room for Muslim peers. Sort that out.

  • Greenflag

    earnan ,

    ‘She never practiced law a day in her life.’

    So there’s a reasonable chance she may be an honest injun 😉 Sounds like she’ll be worth a vote on that score alone 🙂

  • Greenflag

    malcolm redfellow

    ‘the Lady Peers got distinctly miffed when one of their toilets was allocated for double-use as a prayer room for Muslim peers.’

    Sounds like a scene from Benny Hill. I’m trying to visualise Muslim peers on all fours in the bogs facing east on self rolling carpets towards Mecca – and being rudely interrupted in their devotions by Lady ‘Bolsover’ dashing in haste for a powder puff or an urgent bladder release .

    You have to hand it to the Brits -For pure unadulterated farce they can’t be surpassed .

    If the Ayatollahs hear of this blasphemous carry on by the Muslim peers it’ll be good night Vienna or should that be Islamabad for the Islamic nobs;)

  • once upon a time

    Malcolm dear boy were you not elected to something once.

  • once upon a time @ 07:43 PM:

    Not once. Repeatedly. I was a serial offender.

    But I rehabilitated myself.

  • Will you ever, MR, stop taking over threads to suit your own narcissitic obsessions?

    This thread is about Caroline Kennedy’s qualifications to be selected as an intermin Senator from the state of New York – what is delegated to the governor in most states, including the Empire one, by its laws.

    I think that Ms. Kennedy has the necessary qualifications, given her training, experience, and family background, especially when one considers that her father, and one of her uncles was assassinated by America’s covert government, headed by former DCI Richard Helms, its ‘loosest cannon’ William King Harvey, Alexander Haig, J. Edgar Hoover, other agents in the CIA and the Bureau et al.

    She has been through the harshest school of hard knocks in the American republic, and it has only been because of fear of its dirtiest elements that she has not mounted a challenge against it before – what she would win easily in almost any electoral contest.

    When one thinks of the people who have been appointed to the Senate under similar conditions in the past, she is one of the better replacements.

  • Patrick Lane

    “Caroline has done nothing to deserve a Senate seat”

    Who says you have to do something to deserve a Senate seat?

  • Jimmy Sands

    The odious Pete King (SF-NY) is upset apparently.

    That’s good enough for me.

  • Let’s face it, the best recommendation that Caroline Kennedy has for the appointment is Republican Congressman Peter King’s opposition to it.

    He is afraid that if Governor Paterson appoints JFK’s daughter to the Clinton seat, his chances of winning the election for it in two years time is zero.

    Case closed. Electorate politics is all about who can win, and Caroline has a much greater ability to get money to fund the process than King.

  • Sam Smytrh

    Neither had Cubs/ mainland scum fan Hillary!

  • At risk of being narcissistic and obsessed, may I point to a useful comment in The Nation?

    While I see Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg as a fine candidate in party-political terms (i.e. as a high profile candidate, capable of surviving two elections in two years), I would suggest she has not wholly earned her place.

    No more, no less.

  • At least it is relevant to the thread, MR, but it is a pretty pathetic piece of journalism.

    What is “unseemly” about Governor Paterson appointing the only surviving offspring of the last murdered President in office, JFK, and the leading candidate – one of her uncles, Robert F. Kennedy – who was gunned down when he was on his way to replace LBJ?

    Apparently, the piece is alluding to the sexual improprieties of not only them but also another uncle, Teddy Kennedy, who many conspiracy theorists think was set up for taking the fall for Mary Jo Kopechne’s death. And then there were all those questions about why her brother died a few years ago in apparently an airplane accident.

    Caroline has lived until quite recently a quite private life because of her fear that she would be assassinated too by America’s covert government, even though without any disclosure of any sexual improprieties by herself.

    Are children of the famous to be tarred and condemned for the sins of the forebearers?

    I hope not.

    So, the article’s main complaint about powers of governors to make the appointments in such situations should certainly not work against her, of all people. She, if anyone, has earned her place – given the environment she grew up, and matured in, the level of her education, and what she has done as an adult.

    And pushing for her appointment may make Paterson help end another constitutional problem facing Hillary Clinton’s appointment to be Secretary of State while still holding on to the New York State seat in the Senate. It is clearly unconstitutional, and she should be obliged to end it before any Senate hearing by its Foreign Relations Committee.

    She must be afraid that she might not be confirmed because of her previous actions in the White House – helping force Vince Foster’s apparent suicide by radically changing its travel office to help cover up his being Bubba’s bagman, interferring with its investigation, seeing that her brothers were getting those pardons for their clients while the more notorious ones, especially those for Marc Rich and ‘Al’ Schwimmer, were being handed out, etc.

    It was Schwimmer’s failure to get permission to fly those 80 HAWK missile through Sweden on November 17, 1985 which necessitated the assassination of its stubborn statsminister Olof Palme three months later.

    Replacing Hillary in any elected office by a less unsavory person seems to be of the highest priority, and I only hope she fails getting Foggy Bottom, given what she has done.

  • Would you believe it, President Bush has now pardoned Charles Thompson Winters in an attempt to legitimize the one Bubba gave to Adolf ‘Al’ Schwimmer when he left office in 2001?

    Schwinner was pardoned for trying to ship those 80 HAWK missiles through Sweden without obtaining statsminister Olof Palme’s permission first – what necessitated his assassination three months later.

    The pardoned Schwinner has maintained falsely since that he was pardoned for gun-running for Israel back in the late 1940s.

    Now Bush has pardoned the one guy, Winters, who was sent to prison for 18 months, and fined $5,000 for breaking the Neutrality Act.

    Even the press has jumped into supporting the falsehood by having Schwimmer’s wife, Rina, joining in with the alleged reason for his pardon.

    For more, see this link:

    The US government will go to any lengths to cover up its dirtiest work, as this pardon of Schwimmer,
    and the protection of Haig show.