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Caroline Kennedy?

First off, my ancestors were the first European settlers in the Mohawk Valley of what was New Holland, and has since become the state of New York. I was born in and graduated from a high school in that valley. My parents home towns are in that valley and I have hundreds of relatives who still live there. From 1964 through 1983 I was a registered voter in upstate New York. I have an interest in what happens in New York state.

Caroline Kennedy is a famous unknown. Her father was assassinated 45 years ago, so many of the people in New York state media and politics have no personal memories of JFK. Like her mother, whom she resembles, Caroline Kennedy has been a very private person with a familiar name.

Caroline Kennedy’s uncle Robert and Hillary Clinton are famous people who became Senator of New York and used it to run for President. They did, at least, run for election in the state, and both won with the support of upstate voters.

People don’t know what Caroline Kennedy stands for, because she has never made a vote or stand as an elected official. Saying she stands with Chuck Schumer is a major mistake, because he is the Senator for New York City, while Hillary Clinton was the Senator for upstate, a division of labor that non-New Yorkers don’t understand.

The upstate media have already had a run in with Ms Kennedy, as she attempted to emulate Hillary Clinton’s upstate listening tour, failing to realize that everyone knew at the time where Ms Clinton stood, but don’t know anything about Ms Kennedy. Hillary Clinton has always been an approachable person, Ms Kennedy is not.

The way this has been handled demonstrates a lack of political instincts. While Governor Patterson may appoint her, she will have a problem getting elected in 2010.


1 The Buzz » Blog Archive » Caroline Kennedy? — Why Now? { 12.22.08 at 8:30 pm }

[…] Caroline Kennedy’s uncle Robert and Hillary Clinton are famous people who became Senator of New York and used it to run for President. They did, at least, run for election in the state, and both won with the support of upstate voters. …[Continue Reading] […]

2 Steve Bates { 12.22.08 at 11:25 pm }

You may well be right about all of that, Bryan, but Caroline Kennedy is not an unknown, even to people who are not New Yorkers. I read her book about privacy rights long before the current spate of publicity about her, and I consider her very capable indeed. Political skills? I don’t know. But I am far from horrified at the notion of her being a Senator.

3 Bryan { 12.22.08 at 11:52 pm }

Steve, I have younger cousins in upstate New York, and they know nothing about her and their local news sources aren’t able to get any direct information, as she isn’t talking to them. The national media is rather pathetic, and the New York city papers aren’t big sellers upstate.

Half of the voters in New York live upstate, so you really need to make a connection to them, and she isn’t. You might be happy with her, Steve, but you don’t live in New York.

I haven’t heard of her being backed by any of the major Democratic office holders, like Louise Slaughter of Rochester, something she should have lined up before “running”.

Upstate is much more conservative than the city, and they don’t especially like surprises.

4 Steve Bates { 12.23.08 at 8:43 am }

“Happy with her”? That’s too strong a statement. But the critical focus should remain on her political characteristics… experience, electability, and yes, public familiarity… rather than her intellectual capacity, which IMHO appears considerable.

OT, I spent a pleasant few days in Albany and Buffalo on a concert tour in about 1976. I have mostly positive memories… it was in summer. 🙂

5 Bryan { 12.23.08 at 12:06 pm }

You are thinking about the national implications, where as I’m more concerned with the local. She can’t be effective if she can’t win an election, and as all of her support is concentrated in the City, she needs to become known to the State. She hasn’t made a very good start, and that opens the possibility of a Republican Senator from New York in 2010.

6 Steve Bates { 12.23.08 at 11:29 pm }

I just read that Nadler is interested; what do you think of him?

7 Bryan { 12.24.08 at 12:11 am }

He’s a perfect fit… for Chuck Schumer’s seat.

Amazingly enough, the upstate seems to be leaning towards women to represent them. Unfortunately the upstate Congresswomen are all retirement age and older.

I think Patterson may end up making appointment that won’t really make anyone in the state happy, with the understanding that the person is a caretaker, i.e. not interested in running in 2010, so the NY Democrats can have an open primary for the job.

Nadler has a decent record in the House, but he’s another Jewish guy from the City, and Chuck has that seat. [traditionally, one of New York’s Senators has been a Jewish guy from the City, even, as in the case of Jacob Javits, when they were Republicans]

The problem is that Congresscritters rarely venture out of their district, which means the rest of the state never gets to know them. Open primaries is about the only way to convince politicians to head North on the Hudson, and then West on the Mohawk.

I think Patterson would like to appoint someone from the minority community, but I don’t have any idea who he listens to.

The really bad thing is that Hillary Clinton will probably take the best people on her Senate staff with her to State, so whoever gets the job will be building from zero.

This is why I can’t be a pundit on cable, I keep looking at all the variables instead of seizing on an idea and presenting it as if it is carved in stone.