January
21st 2009
CK nixes Senate bid to attend to ailing uncle

Posted under: American history, jobs, nepotism, the body, women's history

UPDATED BELOW

Seriously?  Why not the “I need to spend these last few years at home with my teenaged children” excuse?  (Via Valhalla at Corrente.)  Here’s the key graph in the New York Times article:

On Wednesday she called Gov. David A. Paterson, who will choose a successor to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. Her concerns about Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s deteriorating health (he was hospitalized after suffering a seizure during President Obama’s inaugural lunch on Tuesday ) prompted her decision to withdraw, this person said. Coping with her uncle’s condition was her most important priority, a situation not conducive to starting a high profile public job.

Whatever.  Senator Kennedy has a wife, he lives in Virginia and Massachusetts, and he doesn’t have any minor children to look after, so I’m unclear about the services that Caroline Kennedy thinks she might might offer him.  What does “coping with her uncle’s condition” involve?  I suppose if that’s a deal breaker for you, then you really shouldn’t be in the Senate.  (Hey–Gerald Ford was President while his wife was seriously impaired, and John Edwards pursued his latest White House bid after wife Elizabeth’s cancer recurred.  What’s so rough about an ailing out-of-town uncle?)

UPDATE, 1/22/09:  Hey–don’t complain to me!  Senator Kennedy doesn’t like the fact that he’s being used as an excuse by his niece, either.  (Via The Daily Beast.)

UPDATE, 1/22/09, evening:  Aaaaannd, amateur hour just rolls on and on, doesn’t it?  I can’t believe this.  (And yes, I’m talking about Gov. Patterson as well as Kennedy!  Please, everyone:  tell “your people” to STFU already.)

12 Comments »

12 Responses to “CK nixes Senate bid to attend to ailing uncle”

  1. ortho stice on 21 Jan 2009 at 6:55 pm #

    Good. Now Ms. Kennedy will not look like a fool when Governor Patterson picks Representative Kirsten Gillibrand. Now Patterson has the green light to pick the best candidate for the job without irritating the moneyed, elite NYC Democrats.

  2. Satsuma on 21 Jan 2009 at 7:01 pm #

    Caroline Kennedy didn’t bargain on the opposition she faced. She’s not accustomed to being THAT kind of public figure. So this Uncle Teddy needs help excuse was a good one, and I actually think she was completely and utterly unqualified for the Senate job to begin with.

    Now let’s go out a pick a really GOOD SOLID feminist progressive woman to represent NY, someone who will work well advancing the rights of women, and keeping the number of women in the Senate at a par now. I don’t know NY politics well, so we might as well throw out good suggestions to Paterson NOW if we have them.

  3. Susan on 21 Jan 2009 at 11:38 pm #

    I don’t think CK was the best possible candidate, though I never thought she was completely implausible. (I don’t think that having run for office is a requirement for being appointed.) But can we be human? Ted Kennedy was a surrogate father to her since Bobby died, and she’s lost both her parents and her brother. This is the man that has been with her through it all. CK’s attitude strikes me as a normal reaction — to suddenly know that your energy will be somewhere else, not in learning a big new job.

    I’m not sure if my feelings about this come from my experiences in cancer land, or from watching CK for almost 50 years, but she’s faced more than her share of mortality, and it might be nice to take her at her word. And since she’s out of the running, it costs nothing to be kind.

  4. cgeye on 22 Jan 2009 at 12:31 am #

    Once she moves back into public life, of course kindness is merited.

    It’s the use of her family’s sadness in trade for unearned power that galls, and I’ll resist any meme that gives her such authority through sympathy or fandom.

  5. Mikail on 22 Jan 2009 at 2:48 am #

    Actually ortho stice, looks like Schumer has been pushing Maloney (my choice!) in the background:

    http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/s/caroline_kennedy_schlossberg/index.html?inline=nyt-per

    Thank God the Kennedy debacle is over. After the complete mood of vapidity that helped get Obama elected, I don’t think I could have taken teh insult to injury of having someone without any ideas or message push their family name to get the NY Senate seat.

  6. Mikail on 22 Jan 2009 at 2:55 am #

    Grr…excuse my lack of standards. Ortho sice may still be right. 2am and I didn’t check my sources. The link posted above was contined in a blockqoute that mentioned Maloney being pushed. It was actually a rewriting–a fiction–that appeared real enough. Feel free to jsut delete the whole thing.

  7. Knitting Clio on 22 Jan 2009 at 4:55 am #

    I agree with Susan — you can criticize Caroline Kennedy’s candidacy all you want but how about showing some compassion for her personal situation?

  8. Historiann on 22 Jan 2009 at 7:17 am #

    I meant no disrespect to Senator Kennedy, but he was ill for quite a while before CK announced her interest in becoming Senator. Indeed, there was quite a lot of speculation in December that Senator Kennedy himself thought it was important to have a Kennedy in the Senate, which was part of the rationale for pushing his niece. People in public life have ailing relatives and deaths in the family all of the time, and they don’t resign from public office to “cope.”

    The Senator has a wife, children, and grandchildren to look after him in his illness. I certainly hope he recovers to play an active role in this congress.

    To repeat: I think Caroline Kennedy would be a fine senate candidate in 2010. She is absolutely qualified to run, and the running would serve her well as a candidate and as a Senator should she be successful. I simply thought she was a poor choice for a special appointment considering New York’s deep bench of formidable Dem talent.

  9. ej on 22 Jan 2009 at 8:04 am #

    I agree that there is probably more here than meets the eye (or the ear) but I don’t think that citing her concern for her uncle is insincere. TK may have a wife and children of his own to care for him, but that doesn’t negate CK’s desire to have time to be with him, especially if the prognosis he’s getting from doctors isn’t very optimistic. And I do think it would be different if she was already in office, but she’s not. And in some respects, she might be avoiding having to make difficult decisions about priorities later on, which I respect.

    And ultimately, she hasn’t said anything about why she made this decision-this is all speculation from sources “close to her.”

  10. Historiann on 22 Jan 2009 at 8:28 am #

    True–this is the sum of her personal statement:

    “I informed Governor Paterson today that for personal reasons I am withdrawing my name from consideration for the United States Senate,” Ms. Kennedy said in a statement released by her public relations firm.

    (Her public relations firm?)

    Again, I am not suggesting that she is insincere–I’m sure she’s sad about her uncle. I’m suggesting that her uncle’s health is a flimsy excuse, given that he had been sick for 6 months when she made her interest in the special appointment known.

  11. ej on 22 Jan 2009 at 8:44 am #

    I see your point. I guess I am wondering if what happened this week might be an indication that things have taken a turn for the worse, though I hope I am wrong.

  12. Historiann on 22 Jan 2009 at 9:20 am #

    Well, we all have to go sometime. EMK has had a longer, more colorful, more privileged, and more dramatic life than most people have. What I like about him is that as a statesman, he was always on the side of people not as fortunate as he was. And, given the unreasonable expectations laid upon him after his brothers’ deaths, he persisted and made a very distinguished career as a senator.

    What I don’t like is the history of carousing, womanizing, and (probably) drunk driving, with deadly consequences for one young woman. I wouldn’t care so much if it weren’t that another person paid the price for his behavior.

    If CK decides to carry on the family tradition in 2010 and run for the office, that would be great. I’ve always thought that the Kennedys promoted their sons, who have historically almost all been prone to bad behavior, drunkenness, addiction, etc., and overlooked the daughters, who all got good educations and are upstanding citizens, by all accounts. But–political dynasty is for boys only, I guess. Just think how much better off the family might have been had they promoted Kathleen, Caroline, Kara, and the other daughters of the third generation, instead of the sons.