Saturday, December 06, 2008

Caroline Kennedy's Genetic Conflict

News that she is interested in being appointed to Hillary Clinton's Senate seat is coming as a surprise to those who have always seen Caroline Kennedy as an essentially private person, temperamentally more like her mother than her father.

“I believe that she is considering it,” her cousin Robert F. Kennedy Jr. tells the New York Times. “A lot of people the last couple of weeks have urged her to do it.” She apparently called New York Gov. David Paterson this week to discuss the position.

That would represent a drastic midlife switch for the 51-year-old wife and mother of three who has kept a low profile in her career as a lawyer, writer and philanthropist, very much like her mother, Jacqueline Kennedy, in her widowhood.

She emerged last January with a Times op-ed piece titled, "A President Like My Father," to endorse Barack Obama and then actively campaign for him and serve on his vice-presidential search team.

If Caroline Kennedy were to replace Sen. Clinton, she would be committing herself to run in a special 2010 election and for reelection in 2012, two grueling political campaigns for someone who has spent a lifetime so far in relative privacy.

But it's also easy to understand what has led her to consider such a change. A year after JFK's death, I asked Jacqueline Kennedy to become a contributing editor of McCalls. She was still too deep in mourning for that, but she talked about wanting to find a way to keep alive her husband's "ideas and ideals."

It's a measure of the difference between then and now that she could conceive of doing that only through a man. "Robert Kennedy would be perfect," she said, "but that's not possible."

Now her daughter, even with the same tendencies toward privacy, seems to be ready to step out and emulate her father in the Senate.

Caroline Kennedy may have given us a clue when she wrote that OpEd about Obama:

"I have never had a president who inspired me the way people tell me that my father inspired them. But for the first time, I believe I have found the man who could be that president--not just for me, but for a new generation of Americans."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Make sure you are qualified and it is not just the money you have. The American people need help.