Monday, December 15, 2008

Senator Caroline Kennedy?

When it was revealed last week that Caroline Kennedy was interested in seeking the New York senate seat which is being vacated in January by Hillary Clinton, some Democrats had a positive hissy fit. The worst example of this was New York congressman Gary Ackerman, a guy I normally admire and respect. "Sure!" opined the positively flustered, nearly apoplectic Mr. A, "She may have name recognition - but so does J. Lo!" Yo! Gary! Just relax and take a chill pill, pardner! Jeez Louise!

Truth be told, when I heard that Miss Hillary's seat was going to be vacant, my first thought was Bubbah. Oh! I thought, wouldn't that just drive the Right Wing nuts? Bill Clinton making policy? I could imagine Mitch McConnell and Kaye Bailey Hutchinson having a collective nervous breakdown right there on the senate floor at hearing the news. But as the Monkees once observed,"That was then; this is now". I don't know about you, but I am now one-hundred percent behind the idea of Caroline Kennedy Scholssberg as my representative in the senate .

NOTE TO CAROLINE: This is nothing against your husband Ed or your lovely children - you have as fine a family as is possible to have. But you should do your hardcore constituency a big favor and drop the name "Schlossberg", okay? We need that seat to go to a Senator Kennedy. As I don't need to remind you, that is the seat which was once held by your beloved, uncle Bobby. I know it's been forty, long years since he was taken from us in so brutal a fashion on that horrible night in Los Angeles in June of 1968 - but to many of us it still hurts like hell. Serve as "Senator Kennedy", I'm beggin' ya! Besides, it's a whole hell of a lot easier to pronounce than "Senator Schlossberg". Just a suggestion.

By the way, this is a tad off-topic but it must be said: As I write these words, the good folks at Spell Check are telling me that "Schlossberg" is an incorrect spelling. Their recommendation? "Sleaze bag". They just might want to fix that. Call it a hunch.

The main argument that many in the media and on Capital Hill are making against Caroline Kennedy's prospective political career is that she does not have the personality to be a politician. Oh heart of mine be still! Would you like to know how I read that? She's not a self-promoting bullshit artist like ninety-nine-point-nine percent of the rest of them. She doesn't have the personality to be a politician, huh? That's exactly what the Boston Pols said about her old man when he first ran for congress in 1946. In case you've forgotten, he turned out to be not half bad. Maybe she doesn't have your classic "political personality" (whatever the hell that means) but neither did Henry Clay. Neither, for that matter, did George Washington. This much is obvious, though: she has a first class legislative temperament. If you need proof of this, read the two books she co-authored with Ellen Alderman,
In Our Defense: The Bill of Rights in Action (1990) and The Right to Privacy (1995). She is possessed of a brilliant mind, a compassionate heart and a palpable sense of purpose - a perfect combination for an outstanding political career - check the history books.

A number of years ago, Caroline Kennedy established the Profiles In Courage Award, which is presented annually at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston. The award is named for dear ol' dad's 1957, Pulitzer Prize winning book, Profiles In Courage, which chronicled the stories of politicians throughout American History who took unpopular stands at a cost to their own political careers. Obviously, political courage means a lot to this wise and gifted woman. Given her heritage, it's easy to conclude that it is a huge part of her philosophical value system. She is the type of person we desperately need in the senate.

What kind of senator would she be? It's a fairly safe bet that Caroline Kennedy would not have had anything to do with giving a president the authority to launch an unnecessary war just to prove to the boys that she's as hardened a warrior as any man. Given JFK's literary legacy, she's not about to open herself up to charges of political timidity or cowardice. I've got a funny feeling that she really wants to win that Profiles In Courage Award, baby! Then again, she would look kind of silly presenting it to herself, wouldn't she?

If you've been reading The Rant lo these two-and-a-half years, you know that one of my fiercest complaints regarding the Democratic party is their absolute genius for taking a bottle of finely aged, twelve-year-old scotch and turning it into donkey piss. Please, Dems, you're on a roll! Don't blow it, alright? There is nothing wrong with grace and dignity. Don't use the tired old criteria that people wouldn't want to "have a beer" with Caroline Kennedy. We used that standard of electoral qualification in 2000 and 2004 and where has it gotten us? For the last eight years we've had Bobo the Simpleminded sleeping in the White House. Our social and economic infrastructure has been destroyed and we're teetering on the edge of a full scale Depression. Maybe Ms. Kennedy will be the new yardstick by which future senatorial aspirants may be measured! She is an outstanding human being. Am I biased? Sure I am. So sue me!

No, I wouldn't want to - nor could I even imagine - having a beer with Caroline Kennedy. But here's the weird thing: I could very well imagine getting high with her. Go figure.

Here's another reason I want this seat to go to Caroline: since I was about five-years-old, I've had a bit of a thing for her. I'll be blunt with you, campers; this is beyond a mere school boy crush - I'M HEAD OVER HEELS IN LOVE WITH THE GAL, OKAY??? Please, Governor Patterson, do this for me! It would be as good as having Patty Duke as my senator (I had a serious crush on her, too).This would be the fulfillment of all my childhood dreams....I'm sorry, I'm being silly. Back to the serious subject....

Forgive this blunt appeal to your sentiments, but it has to be said. She is the sole survivor of an extraordinary family, all of whom left this vale of tears far too young. Would it not be a beautiful thing to have the unfinished dreams of the father, mother and brother given a voice through the political career of the daughter and sister? Yeah, I know! I'm being really maudlin here. Forgive me, I'm Irish Catholic! (and I've also had a couple of drinks). It may be sappy; it may be sentimental; but I believe I speak for millions of people when I say that we respect and admire this tribe of imperfect human beings for all the good they've done and the awful sacrifices they've made throughout the decades for our beloved nation - all in the name of public service. Let's face some serious facts here, folks: uncle Ted wasn't in it for the money. Neither, you may be absolutely certain, is cousin Caroline.

Skeptics everywhere are beginning to ask, "Just what are her qualifications to be a senator?" Damned good question. Please let me attempt to answer it:

She is probably the most intelligent person to run for the senate in decades. You disagree? Name one smarter - go ahead!....
Oh, right....Daniel Patrick Moynahan ....But other than him, name one! You can't, can you! I rest my case.

Caroline Kennedy is not Alfonse D'Amato, that's for damned sure. There will not be so much as a hint of corruption surrounding her office - of that you may be certain. Believe me, Grandpa Joe Kennedy left her set for life. Unlike Senator Pothole, her tenure as senator won't be about serving herself. It will be about serving her constituency in general and the American people in particular. How do I know this? I just do. You've gotta trust me on this one, kids! Hey! Have I ever lied to you???
And here's something else that can't be emphasized enough: she has the respect and admiration of the entire world. America's international reputation is lower than at any time since the Civil War. Having so extraordinary a woman in the senate can only help alleviate the damage that has been done to us by the Bush Mob.

As expected, the Hillary Clinton crowd is throwing a monkey wrench into the situation. "A history of public service is no qualification for being a senator" they're saying. Excuse me, but that should be the only qualification! And would one of these hypocrites please explain to me just what Hillary's qualifications were when she ran for the senate in 2000? Eight years as First Lady? Have another sip.

This evening on MSNBC's Hardball, a congressman from Brooklyn, NY with the unfortunate name, Anthony Wiener, was quoted making the observation that Caroline Kennedy would be a terrible candidate because no one could imagine her milking a cow in any upstate county fair. I can't imagine it either.

Think about this: On the morning of November 22, 1963, just two hours before he was murdered in cold blood on the streets of Dallas, Texas, her father, attending a political breakfast in Houston, politely declined to be photographed wearing one of those hideously stupid ten-gallon-hats that some Texans find so attractive. Was the man a snob? Not according to the memoirs of
everyone who ever knew him. My guess is that President Kennedy believed that cheap, political pandering - a silly photo-op - was beneath the dignity of the office entrusted to him by the people. That kind of substance is such a rare thing in politics these days. And now along comes Caroline Kennedy, like a nostalgic, long dead dream come back to life.

You know, I was just thinking: on Election Day 2016, she will be fifty-eight years old - just the right age to....I'm sorry. I'm getting a bit ahead of myself. Never mind.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


A Patriot's Handbook
edited by Caroline Kennedy


Happy birthday to sister Sally Degan. You don't look a day over forty-three, my dear. Give little Olivia Borski a hug for me, okay?


At 11:14 PM, Blogger Sharon said...

Ya HAD to go and include that photo of her with her dad, didn't you? ;-) I initially had mixed feelings about this, Tom, but you've convinced me. I have read her books, and she has a terrific legal mind. No, she would not have to prove that she was "one of the boys." She'd be picking up the mantle not only of her uncle Bobby, but also, I think, of her Uncle Teddy. Why else would she step out of her life-long seclusion from the public eye?

I didn't know the JFK hat story, but it's interesting that you post it now. Just a few weeks ago, I think it was on Peter Sagal's blog, I read a story about Obama's visit to DisneyWorld, where he was presented with a Mickey Mouse hat with his name embroidered on it. He asked the photographers, "How much will you pay me to put it on?" "Five dollars," says one. "Ten dollars," says another. "Not enough," says Obama, and shakes them off. The man simply will not do anything undignified. After the last eight long years, it is such a relief to know there's someone representing us whom we can trust to act like a grown-up.

At 7:16 AM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

Tom, Caroline Kennedy would make an outstanding senator from New York. Ironically, it's just those qualities of "ego-less", or true consciousness, which I sense she possesses, that are so desperately needed during these desperate times. The "experience" of another politician isn't what's imperative right now. We have already seen plenty of that, and we know it doesn't amount to much. What we do need is compassion, integrity, and a willingness and perspective to do "the right thing". That's what's absent among 99% of the politicians that Americans send to Washington, and their state capitols, every few years.

I have a feeling that Governor Paterson will also do the right thing.

Best of luck!

At 7:24 AM, Blogger Tom Degan's Daily Rant said...

Sharon and Frank,

I could not have come close to putting it as eloquently as you both did had I tried.

I do believe that Governor Patterson will indeed do the right thing. Putting anyone else in there will be an utter let down.

Caroline Kennedy is the future of not only the Democratic party, but of American politics.


Tom Degan

At 10:48 AM, Blogger Anna Van Z said...

"The main argument that many in the media and on Capital Hill are making against Caroline Kennedy's prospective political career is that she does not have the personality to be a politician. Oh heart of mine be still! Would you like to know how I read that? She's not a self-promoting bullshit artist like ninety-nine-point-nine percent of the rest of them."

Amen, brother! You said it all, and I agree 100%.
(the last thing we need is another "politician"!) You also reminded me of why I have a thing for Irish guys...

At 1:33 PM, Blogger Ellis D., Esq. said...

All I have to say is that if Caroline Kennedy is given this Senate seat she should forgo the salary it pays and take the job pro bono. Or donate the full salary to a worthy charity. Otherwise the seat should go to someone that actually needs the money the job pays. What do you folks think of that ??

At 1:39 PM, Blogger Tom Degan's Daily Rant said...


You bring up a very interesting point. Although it was not revealed until after dis death, during her dad's tenure in the White House, he donated his entire salary to charity (as I recall, it was the Boy Scouts of America). I wouldn't be surprised if Caroline Kennedy carries on the family tradition.


Tom Degan

At 1:55 PM, Blogger Ellis D., Esq. said...

That would be very hip of her. Donating her salary to NORML would be cool. Then NORML could use the money to lobby for reform of the marijuana laws !!!!

At 3:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom, Tom, Tom....

Boy, you have it bad, son. In your enthusiasm to promote Ms. Kennedy and to confess your crush on her, you forgot to include your count down until we are finally "free at last" from the Bush Administration. Tsk! Tsk! I think someone is blinded by love.

Peace to you!

Jo in Arizona

At 4:50 PM, Blogger Tom Degan's Daily Rant said...

Jo! I forgot all about it! Well, I might as well get it out of the way here and now. Ahem:

There are thirty-four days until the worst administration since the invention of dirt is out of power forever!



At 9:15 AM, Anonymous GRR said...

I agree with everyone.

Caroline Kennedy will do a great job for the loyal opposition. Looking after entrenched interests and maintaining a lock on fossilized thinking is not a job that should be entrusted to just anyone.

The status quo must remain intact at all costs.

Go Caroline!

At 10:03 PM, Anonymous Kevin said...


You are dead on. Some times the obvious, next right thing escapes us. Let's hope the NY Democrats welcome her warmly.

At 12:19 AM, Anonymous Wilma Lamb said...

Why wouldn't Caroline Kennedy make one of the best Seanators in the history of that pre-Bush venerable body of lawmakers.
She has a doctor of law from Harvard and was weaned on politics.
She is a very smart lady who did not do what so many sons of the rich and famous have done and freak out on dope or booze instead conducting herself with dignity thru the most traumatizing events possible, the assassination of her father. Nobody who saw it can forget her and John John as his coffin passed.

At 2:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, Tom. So you've got a monster crush on Miss Caroline.

This is supposed to be a democracy. We do not need a ruling class.

Let someone else have a crack at it.


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