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After all she's done for America!Gaah, Maureen Dowd! She has written a “serious column” today, which means that it does not refer to anybody with nicknames. She thinks Caroline Kennedy would be a cracker jack senator because, first: it is very sexist to suggest otherwise, and second: the Senate is already bloated with the offspring of famous politicians, so what’s it to you if we throw another one on the pile?

Nobody (meaning Maureen Dowd) ever thought it was presumptuous for Caroline’s brother to consider running for office (which he never considered), so why is everybody getting so down on her?

I thought [JFK Jr.] should run for office and employ his special clout to make life better for Americans. He died before he had the chance.

So I found it bizarre that when Caroline offered to use her magic capital — and friendship with Barack Obama — to help take care of New York in this time of economic distress, she was blasted by a howl of “How dare she?”

Obviously, it is because of sexism.

The press whines that she doesn’t have a pat answer about why she wants the job. I’ve interviewed a score of men running for president; not one had a good answer for why he wanted it.

Fine, but here is the thing: that does not reflect well on any of those men running for president, either, and Caroline Kennedy shouldn’t get a pass just because a bunch of dudes had bad answers too. Anybody who has applied for an “actual” job in the past oh TWENTY YEARS knows that the first question in their interview will be, “Why do you want this job?” If a normal person has to be able to explain why they want, passionately, to be a claims adjuster at their local insurance agency, Caroline Kennedy should be able to explain why she wants to be a senator.

Second, there is this business of nepotism:

Sitting in the Senate gallery on Tuesday as senators were sworn in by Dick Cheney, I saw plenty of lawmakers who had benefited from family.

Two Udalls were being sworn in, under the watchful eye of Stewart Udall. Mark Begich, the new senator from Alaska, is the son of a former Alaska congressman. The classy Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, son of the late Gov. Robert Casey, was there in a festive pink tie. [Is this some veiled reference to gayness? — Ed.] John McCain, whose wife’s money and Arizona pull made his Senate election possible, looked on with a smile. Hillary, whose husband paved the way for her to join this club and run for president, chatted with colleagues. Jay Rockefeller wandered about, as did Chris Dodd, son of Senator Thomas Dodd. And Teddy Kennedy, walking with a cane, worked the room with his old brio.

To Maureen Dowd, the problem is not that Senate seats have been traded back and forth between the same four or five families for the past hundred years, it’s that Caroline Kennedy hasn’t gotten one yet.

Here is a thought: Instead of just appointing some nice lady because she is nice, the governor of New York might appoint somebody who has already, you know, WON ELECTION to some other public office. Then it would at least have the appearance of legitimacy, or fairness of some sort, or something.

Or he could just give it to Kennedy, because everybody knows the Kennedys are imbued with special powers of public servitude that makes it very cruel of us to prevent them from serving in whatever capacity they think is most appropriate.

Sweet on Caroline [New York Times]

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