From an AP article published in the Denver Post online yesterday about La Dauphine (which, interestingly enough, didn’t make the cut of stories published in the paper edition this morning):
In a series of interviews with The Associated Press, friends and colleagues of [Caroline] Kennedy painted a picture of a reserved but intelligent and tenacious woman who writes her own speeches and who, despite her vast wealth, still takes the subway.
Those interviewed did not provide an impartial view — but, with several speaking publicly for the first time about their relationship, they offered a rare look inside the private world of a woman America fell in love with decades ago as she rode her pony over the White House lawn.
Yes, because this is America, where we choose our leaders on the basis of cute photo-ops of their overprivileged childhoods. Sources say Kennedy, despite her vast wealth, eats food and craps, just like regular folks. (Not on the subway, we hope!) What’s with the extra creditKennedy gets for being a normal, functioning adult? Because she’s still alive and sober, she gets a prize? Don’t believe me? Well, here’s the one example of Kennedy’s mad political skillz that her very best friends could come up with:
When community groups and the Board of Education were caught in an acrimonious dispute over an arts program, education officials brought in a fixer: Caroline Kennedy.
The daughter of a president and niece of two senators listened attentively, asked probing questions and proposed various scenarios to resolve the dispute. Under her prompting, a compromise was reached.
“People were pushing themselves back from the table and folding their arms,” recalled Stephanie Dua, chief executive officer of the Fund for Public Schools. “She was very good at defusing the situation. … She has a very easy style about her but she’s very sharp.”
Wow! Kennedy, despite her vast wealth, did what any normal person would do! She listened! She asked questions! ZOMG she proposed various scenarios to resolve the dispute! (Wouldn’t pretty much any person of her age, education, and exposure to the world have managed to do that pretty well? Don’t you do that all the time with friends and co-workers?) Friends also report, as evidence of Kennedy’s incredibly deep engagement in politics, that she watched the vice-presidential debates last fall with friends. (Wow! I should have put that on my application to be the next U.S. Senator from Colorado! I watched all of the presidential and vice-presidential debates–where’s my Senate seat?)
The fawning attention and praise lavished on Kennedy by New York political elites–if not by all media outlets–is certainly due to class privilege, as Sarah Palin suggested last week, but it’s also due to her gender performances as well. As the same AP article reports,
Kennedy had her first daughter, Rose, around the same time she graduated from Columbia [Law] in 1988, and her professional life took shape around her children.
When [friend and co-author] Ellen Alderman became pregnant, she recalls, Kennedy became her “mommy mentor,” showing her what she needed to pack a diaper bag, and giving her advice on work: “You can still do it, you’re just not going to have eight, 10, 12 hours at a time,” Alderman recalls her saying.
Kennedy had help around the house, but she never delegated parenting (Ed. note: not according to Dr. Laura!)— picking her three kids up from school and knowing who their friends were and where they were, said Esther Newberg, her friend and literary agent. Kennedy joined the board at her children’s school, and colleagues said she’d never attend a meeting if it meant missing a recital or another such event.
So, normal, so traditionally feminine, so insulated from the economics that most women face! Also, so unlike those monstrously ambitious, grasping other political women who would do anything to win (and yet lost both their races this year, somehow), Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin. I mean, how tacky: to treat politics like it’s your job, instead of a genteel hobby? The article continues:
Compared to the sharp-elbowed style common among New York politicians, Kennedy’s personality in a series of recent media interviews has seemed quiet, soft-spoken.
But those who have worked with Kennedy said her sometimes-reserved demeanor could be misleading. More than one spoke of an instance where they had watched her listen carefully to each person’s point of view, then argue her point calmly but tenaciously until she achieved her goal.
“If you aren’t as loud as I am, often people mistake that for not being effective and that’s just wrong,” said Elaine Jones, the former president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, where Kennedy served on the board. “I know how able, substantive and tough-minded Caroline is. Now others have got to see that in her. And she may have to project it.” While she never practiced law, Kennedy did heavy-duty research before board meetings and contributed to detailed legal debates over which cases would be selected by the NAACP fund, Jones said.
Oh, but Ms. Jones: no one named Kennedy needs to speak loudly, especially not the Kennedys of this particular branch, when most Americans over the age of fifty remember those cute prancing ponies on the White House lawn. No one in this family even need speak–apparently they have “people” to do that for them, too.