Caroline Kennedy: Like Uncle, Like Niece: An Historic Parallel

By Rich GalenFormer GOPAC Executive Director/Mullings.com

The world was in a mess in 1980 - much as it is in 2009. In 1980 a weak President, Jimmy Carter, was attempting to deal with inflation which averaged just under 14 percent for the year. In 2008 a weakened President left office trying to deal with deflation and a recession.

In 1980, Carter was trying to deal with the foreign policy disaster of the Iranian hostages. In 2008 Bush was stilldealing with Iran.

In 1980 U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy broke with party orthodoxy and decided to run for the Democratic nomination for President against the incumbent Carter. In 2008 Kennedy broke with party orthodoxy and endorsed Barack Obama instead of the nominee presumptive, Hillary Clinton.

In November 1979 Ted Kennedy kicked off his Presidential campaign by sitting for an interview with senior CBS correspondent Roger Mudd. Mudd asked the straightforward question: "Why do you want to be President?" Which Kennedy, in a 255-word, rambling statement could not answer. This is a transcript of the endof his answer:

We, uh, we're facing complex issues and problems in this nation at this time, but we have faced similar challenges at other times and the energies and the resourcefulness of this nation, I think, should be focused on these problems in a way that brings a sense of restoration in this country by its people to, uh, in dealing with the problems that we face, primarily the issues on the economy, the problems of inflation and the problems of energy and I would basically feel that it's, uh, imperative for this country either move forward, but it can't, uh, stand still or otherwise it moves backward.

In December 2008, after the selection of Hillary Clinton to be Secretary of State, Caroline Kennedy, niece of, allowed it to become known (to the delight of the Upper West Side Ladies' Canasta and Structured Securities Club) that she would accept the appointment to fill Clinton's seat in the U.S. Senate.

Kennedy was asked by two reporters from The New York Times why she was qualified to be a United States Senator, and this was the best she could do:

I can tell you what I think I'd bring to this, which is, you know, I'm not a conventional choice, I haven't followed the traditional path, but I do think I'd bring a kind of a lifetime of experience that is relevant to this job. I think that what we've seen over the last year, and particularly and even up to the last - is that there's a lot of different ways that people are coming to public life now, and it's not only the traditional path.

That was met by a reflexive and unanimous "Yikes" by supporters and detractors alike. Caroline Kennedy had previously said she would not run in the special election for the seat in 2010 if she were not appointed first, which diminished her standing even further.

On the day Mrs. Clinton was confirmed by, and sworn-in to serve as, Secretary of State, Caroline Kennedy withdrew her name from consideration as a the appointee of N. Y. Governor David Paterson.

She used Ted Kennedy's illness as her cover -- which would be viewed as horribly cynical for anyone but a Kennedy -- but it quickly became clear that she had learned she would not be the Governor's selection.

After Ted Kennedy was beaten in the primaries by Jimmy Carter, he returned to the U.S. Senate and made a career of being, perhaps, the most effective Senator in U.S. history.

Now that Caroline Kennedy is going back to ... whatever, it is in her power to continue the historic parallel with her uncle and do really good works in private life.

That history remains to be written.