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The Testing of Caroline Kennedy

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Andrew Schmookler       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink

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I've been thinking again about Caroline Kennedy.

Lately she's been getting a rougher time of it. Not surprisingly, there has arisen an opposition that's working to keep her from getting the Senate seat-- a Senate seat is up for grabs, after all, and plenty of other people would like to have it for themselves or some ally of theirs.

This opposition has now been joined by the press in criticising her. A couple of days ago, for example, the New York Times published a major article describing Caroline as elusive: they want her to say a whole lot more about where she stands on various issues, they want to know how much money she's got. The article was respectful, to a degree, but the emphasis was on the complaint about how she's not showing them enough.

For the reasons I expressed here previously (see "Why I Don't Agree with Those Who Oppose Caroline Kennedy's Appointment ), I am favorably disposed to Ms. Kennedy's getting the appointment. Nonetheless, this bruising gauntlet she's now being compelled to run seems to me ultimately a good thing.

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In the absence of a campaign, the media and the opposition have manufactured the equivalent of it. 

Through this equivalent gauntlet, the world is saying to her, welcome to the world of power. This is a world where you've got to be able to handle those who try to take away your power, either by blocking your advance or by subjecting you to criticism. 

Being a Senator is about power. So, if she wants to be a Senator --particularly a Senator who is also a Kennedy-- then she's got to be able to contend with the tough forces at play in that realm.

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She, whose mother did everything in her power to protect her children from that realm of power and public exposure and celebrity, must now prove that she's really ready to handle that world successfully.

I for one am rooting for her.

(With respect to her own family story, I see her return to her father's rough-and-tumble world of politics as having an almost mythic dimension. About that, more in my next piece, tomorrow.)


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Andy Schmookler, an award-winning author, political commentator, radio talk-show host, and teacher, was the Democratic nominee for Congress from Virginia's 6th District. His new book -- written to have an impact on the central political battle of our time -- is (more...)

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