Monday, December 15, 2008

Senator Kennedy

To the dismay of his high-minded liberal admirers, the great Argentinean author, Jorge Luis Borges is said to have admired fascism – for the ironies it conjures up. Our dynastic “democracy” offers similar possibilities. This is why I am so pleased that, according to The New York Times and other sources, Caroline Kennedy has decided to seek Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat. I hope she gets it, and I hope she goes on to become the first woman President of these United States.

Evidently, it’s not yet a done deal, and she has her detractors – including one very silly Democratic Congressman from Queens, Gary Ackerman. It seems he and a few others think Caroline unqualified. But then, what was Hillary Clinton in 2000? Is Ackerman really so sure that it was more educational, in pertinent ways, to live in the White House as Bill Clinton’s official wife than to live there as a toddler? Perhaps, but I’d think that quality time with Uncle Teddy and with her cousins counts for a whole lot more than dinner table talk (or pillow talk, if any) with the non-inhaler-in-chief; enough to cancel out the difference. Otherwise, both women went to Law School. After a year or two in Washington doing the things freshly minted lawyers do, one of them went on to a rather lackluster – and shady – career at Little Rock’s finest law firm. In getting that job, it helped, of course, that she’d gone to Yale. It helped a lot more that she was the Governor’s wife. The other has done serious legal scholarship, edited well-regarded anthologies, and worked for good causes, including some connected with her family. It’s hard to say which one is more qualified on that account. But did I mention that only one of them actually is a New Yorker?

How wonderful it would be if Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat actually is a springboard to the White House – but not for Hillary! And, it that’s what the future brings, what will have made it all possible is Hillary’s sense of entitlement – her Clintonesque conviction that she’s too good to be the junior Senator from New York or indeed anything less than Secretary of State. There’s irony in that as well. The harm she’ll do from her perch at Foggy Bottom remains to be seen. But since Health and Human Services is beneath her too, at least she won’t have a chance, this time around, to set the cause of health care reform back another generation.

So Go Caroline! And Hillary, eat Caroline dust!

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