End of the Caro-line

From U.S.News & World Report

By the time Caroline Kennedy finally announced she wanted to be New York’s junior senator, her bid to replace Hillary Clinton was already in serious trouble.

From the start, it appeared like the Kennedy camp was pushing her to go for a job she was not sure she wanted.

Instead of a grand rollout befitting the daughter of John F. Kennedy, word of her possible interest in the post leaked out in dribs and drabs.

When Gov. Paterson, the person with the sole power to make the appointment, first spoke to Kennedy on Dec. 3 about the Senate job, he came away from the telephone conversation unsure if she even wanted it.

Original DVD cover.

“We talked about a number of things, and the seat did come up in the conversation,” Paterson said.

Little did he know that a few weeks later, Kennedy’s candidacy would be over – and Paterson would find himself under fire for even considering appointing the shy socialite to one of the state’s prime political posts.

When word leaked out that Kennedy and Paterson talked, state Democrats did not bow down and accept as inevitable that she would be their new senator.

Allies of the other would-be senators harped on Kennedy’s lack of experience and her nonexistent political résumé and accused her of trading on her last name.

Angriest of all was state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, the ex-governor’s son who up until then was leading the pack. His relations with the Kennedy clan were already strained after his bitter divorce from Kennedy’s cousin.


JFK’s daughter had another huge ace in her pocket – she was an early supporter of Barack Obama, who called her “one of my dearest friends.” That, coupled with Kennedy’s famous name, was more than enough to make her the front-runner in the public’s eyes.

“Our whole family would be delighted” if Kennedy was New York’s next Sen. Kennedy, said her cousin, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., whose dad once held that Senate seat.

The problem was that Kennedy, who spent a lifetime hanging onto her privacy, still had cold feet.

“Right now, it’s more of a family push than her own,” a source close to the Kennedy family admitted.

Then on Dec. 15, Kennedy finally told Paterson she was going for it. She didn’t bother telling the voters.


Mayor Bloomberg backed her and former Mayor Ed Koch called Kennedy “a liberal with sanity.” Regular New Yorkers were in the dark about her stands on the issues.


In the flurry of interviews, an unleashed Kennedy insisted she would not be beholden to nobody – and, um, damaged her chances by, um, revealing several cringe-worthy verbal tics.

When Kennedy finally had her formal sitdown with Paterson on Jan. 10 to discuss the job, her poll numbers were in free fall – and the writing was on the wall.

Sorry to post so late, kids. I just got home.


Filed under Barack Obama, Democrats, Hillary Clinton, humor, Michael Bloomberg, movies, New York City, parody, politics, Senate, snark, Wordpress Political Blogs

19 responses to “End of the Caro-line

  1. jlms qkw - jenn

    poor sweet caroline.

    i like visiting nyc.

    nonnie, is the world going crazy today?

  2. jenn,
    the world went crazy a long time ago. why should today be any different? 😉

  3. nightowl724


    However, I think Caroline would have done a good job as senator – better than most, actually, and certainly better than what I expect from Hillary’s hand-picked Blue Dog Democrat Kirsten.

  4. nightowl,
    i think you are making a lot of assumptions. i have no idea if caroline would have done a good job or not. she certainly didn’t seem to have the gift of oratory working in her favor, and that could be important. what she would bring to the table more than anything else is the ability to raise a lot of money. is that how a senate seat should be determined? in my opinion–and it is only an opinion, not based on fact–i think she wanted the seat to continue the kennedy senate legacy. if her uncle quits the senate for health reasons, then it will be the first time there has not been a kennedy in the senate in decades. personally, i don’t think that’s a good enough reason.

    i’ve seen other people say kirsten was handpicked by hillary. where is the evidence of that? even if hillary did endorse her for the job, the choice was still up to paterson.

    why not wait and see what she does before you condemn her? yes, the nra loves her, but she also has a perfect score from the aclu.

    whatever the case, she will be up for election soon enough. if she doesn’t do a good job, she’ll be replaced. was she my choice? no. i would have liked to have seen louise slaughter or jerry nadler get the seat. however, i wouldn’t have been thrilled with caroline, but had she gotten the seat, i wouldn’t have slit my wrists over it, and i won’t over kirsten getting the seat either. i honestly don’t understand what the wringing of hankies is about. new yawk is still a strongly democratic state, and the only thing in danger right now is paterson’s job. he didn’t handle this well, and cuomo will probably beat him in the primary.

  5. nightowl724

    Hmmm… From the little comment “first & last season,” I did assume that Caroline was not your favorite.

    I personally don’t want to see any more so-called conservative Democrats in office. He[[, from my perspective, most of the ones who are called (accused) or called themselves liberal Democrats are too conservative for my taste!

    59 Democratic seats in the Senate is not as good as 60. Having borderline Dems among the 59…

    I am biased. I have never liked the Clintons, personally or politically. To me, an endorsement from either of them is almost
    (wait for the 2009 political buzz word)

    On your advice, though, I will hold off on slitting my wrists! Thank you for saving my life! 🙂

  6. nightowl,
    when i put first & last season in the circle (and i did so, because it made more sense than anything else that i could think of), i wondered to myself if caroline would run for the office later on. there’s nothing to prevent her from doing so, and if and when she does, she can try to prove to voters that she is the right person for the job.

    i don’t think we will ever see a congress made up of dennis kuciniches. it’s not going to happen, and i think that’s a good thing. i want there to be debate, and people from different walks of life and different philosophies bring different ideas to the table. maybe picking someone from a more rural area will bring new people into the dem tent.

    i am sure that chuck schumer and a lot of other people put their 2¢ in, so i wouldn’t lay this at the feet of hillary. it was paterson’s choice. he and he alone is responsible.

  7. It seems as if Caroline never really had the stomach for the job – she is more her mother’s daughter than her father’s. She isn’t one for the limelight and to be in politics you have to love to be the center of attention at least some of the time.

    I’m not too concerned that Gillibrand will be too conservative. She’s already coming out with more liberal positions than she’s heretofore espoused. Her positions on gun control come from the region she lives in – populated by lots of hunters who value their firearms. That could change as she moves into the broader political arena.

  8. well said mauigirl! i think you nailed it–she is more her mother’s daughter than her father’s as far as the limelight goes. i think she was pushed into going for the senate seat, and she wasn’t ready. maybe she never will be. you don’t go from sitting on the bench–make that sitting in the bleachers as a spectator–to playing in the world series.

    i agree about gillibrand, too. she will be traveling throughout the state, and she will be made aware that guns in packed urban areas are a different story than in rural areas. her views might change as she speaks with more people and her awareness grows. if not, then we are only stuck with her until 2010.

  9. jeb

    I’m amazed at the hand wringing and kvetching that went on with this whole process and if I were a New Yorker, I’d be pissed at Gov Patterson for not having a candidate in place when Congress was sworn in.

    I’m also a bit wary of the whole process of a Gov naming the person. I know that having special elections take time and cost money but in light of what has happened in Illinois, I’d think that there could be a further check like confirmation from the state legislature or senate. It reeks having one person appoint someone into such a powerful position that can be conveyed into a lifetime occupation.

    As for Caroline, she seems nice. Don’t really know that much about her other than she supported Obama. I’m a bit perturbed with the adoration of the “American Royal Family” as they have been called. The Kennedys have served and done good things but why should anyone get special status because they’re related to that family? We declared independence over that whole king thing. That is one of the reasons I wasn’t hot on Hillary. I didn’t like the idea of the leadership of our nation going Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton and I don’t care for the idea of family dynasties controlling the power. If NY did have to have their own Kennedy though, I don’t understand why Robert Kennedy Jr. didn’t step forward or wasn’t considered. He lives in New York and has spent a lifetime fighting for causes in the political arena.

  10. jeb,
    i think that paterson has completely thrown away any chance at being elected. it’s not as though it was a surprise that hillary was going to be leaving her senate seat. paterson had plenty of time to pick someone and have everything in place. who knows, maybe he did have all his ducks in a row, but caroline’s people threw a monkeywrench into the works when she announced she wanted the seat. i thought as you did that rfk, jr. deserved the seat far more than caroline did. once she said she was interested, rfk wouldn’t have fought her for it, if he was interested in it in the first place. i would love to know what went on behind the scenes.

    while i don’t like the idea of family dynasties, i am not against anyone proving themselves to be someone worthy of being elected, even if they have a relation who is also a politician. i don’t think caroline met that criteria, and i, like you, don’t understand the adoration of her. just like everyone else who was around when jfk was assassinated, i had affection for her. that doesn’t translate into wanting her in the senate when she is little more than a stranger when it comes to issues.

  11. jeb

    Nonnie, I don’t have anything against those who prove themselves worthy either. Ironically, in spite of my feelings about the over adoration of the Kennedy clan, I think Bobby would have been one of the most qualified and best candidates for the job. He would have certainly set the left-over neo-cons in the Senate on edge with his views and beliefs.

    Now Minnesota, get your act together and get Al Franken seated!

  12. jeb,
    i think there was a lot of pressure on paterson to pick a woman, so bobby jr. might have been out of the running from the beginning. i think he is terrific on the issues. not so sure how he would do as a campaigner, though. i must admit that listening to him on the radio can be almost painful. he has a very odd voice. he always sounds like he’s about to start bawling. that may sound superficial, but, unfortunately, that’s the way things work.

  13. 😳 i forgot to add–amen to getting al franken seated!!!!!

    there was a woman on the radio the other day (she was one of the guests, not a caller) who said that there was a situation like the franken/coleman election in new hampshire. she said it ended with a new election. i only heard part of it, so lemme see if i can find what she was talking about instead of screwing up what she really said.

    okie dokie. this is from back in november, but it’s very interesting. it talks about the new hampshire case and some others. here’s the link.

  14. I like the kid and I was hoping she’d be a bit more polished and a lot more enthusiastic about becoming New York’s next freshman senator.
    It seemed a lot like being offered a dream job that anyone in their right mind would want, except you don’t really like the work it would entail.
    If she was truly interested in politics, I think she would have already held some kind of lesser office.

  15. jeb

    Nonnie, I agree that his voice is painful to listen too. I used to listen to his show every week on the radio. However, as clear voiced and smooth baritoned as many politicians are, they are spewing nonsense and shinola. The pity is that we’ve been conditioned to believe that voters prefer that over the substance that Bobby discusses.

  16. karen,
    it’s not a matter of liking or disliking her. it was a matter of going from the sidelines to the superbowl in one felled swoop. i don’t think she ever wanted the seat in the first place. maybe it was tantalizing in a way that everyone wants to be famous until they realize that they might have to give up their privacy. then they change their minds. the kennedys are not a normal family. they were raised not only to serve, but to keep the kennedy legacy intact. i guess those of us from non-dynastic families can’t understand their viewpoint. look at chimpy’s family and cindy lou mccain’s father. just like the kennedys, the patriarchs made their fortunes in rather untoward ways, and then spent the remainder of their lives trying to be accepted and respectable. in the case of the kennedys, they used their power for good. that idea of keeping up the saga of the family name must be very burdensome, and i’m sure it’s even moreso now that teddy is not well. that’s not a good enough reason to take a senate seat though.

  17. jeb,
    some people are better behind the scenes than leading the charge. i wonder if bobby jr. would want the seat. i think he’s happy focusing on those things that he is interested in, rather than having to have a position on those things that don’t interest him. he seems to be the type who is very focused, and it might not be his cup of tea to have to concentrate on the things outside of his expertise.

  18. Nice shot of the two of them–just before he dumped her on her ass.

    Such chivalry.

  19. lulu maude,
    i’m waiting to hear what really went on behind the scenes. those in the media look for the sensational crap, so they will report whatever rumor they hear. i think paterson and his crew handled this horribly, but that goes for caroline’s crew, too. it was amateur hour all around. we still don’t know if he really dumped her or if she had a good reason to withdraw. if someone in paterson’s office thought it would be a good idea if s/he dissed caroline, then we have no idea if that was sanctioned by paterson.