2008-12-26 / Editorial/Opinion

Character And Experience, Not Family Ties

The Kennedy publicity machine has geared up to make Caroline Kennedy our next senator. All the Kennedy friends made the rounds of the Sunday television news shows to push her candidacy and she even went to Buffalo, in the snowy northern part of the state to campaign for the job. Unfortunately, for those who want to see a senator who has some expertise for the job, this election has an electorate of one - Governor David Paterson, and he is being bombarded by Kennedy's friends - and they are legion - to give her the job. On Sunday, City School Chancellor Joel Klein went on television to say how much Kennedy has done for our schools, how she had been a shining beacon for public education. Those comments are typical of the campaign to make Kennedy a U.S. Senator despite the fact that she has no political or practical experience. What Kennedy has done for the schools is raise money from her rich friends and her contacts at charitable institutions. If that is the criterion for becoming a senator, then Bernie Madoff should be the governor's choice. What else does Kennedy have? She has name recognition and money. As for the name recognition, Representative Gary Ackerman said it best. "I don't know what Caroline Kennedy's qualifications are, except that she has name recognition, but so does J.Lo." Supporters point to the fact that neither her uncle, Bobby Kennedy, nor Hillary Clinton had much experience. But neither of them was appointed to his/her seat. They both went out and won it by campaigning hard for the seat. That is what Kennedy should do. Some politician willing to serve only the twoyear period before the next election should be appointed and then he or she (for example, Geraldine Ferrera) should step down and let the chips fall where they may. If Kennedy wants the seat, she should have to fight for it in the election cauldron. It should not be given to her because of her family ties.

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