Back in 2000 George Bush had Dick Cheney conduct a search for a running mate. Dick Cheney looked far and wide for possible choices, and picked himself. This year Caroline Kennedy is helping Obama look at potential running mates. In light of the example from Dick Cheney, I have joked elsewhere that perhaps Kennedy would recommend herself and run with Obama.
While I certainly do not mean to compare Caroline Kennedy to Dick Cheney in any meaningful respect, maybe this scenario isn’t totally far fetched. A blogger at AfterDowningStreet.org has actually proposed that Kennedy be Obama’s running mate.
So here’s my question. How about Caroline Kennedy for Vice President?? She’s as knowledgeable as the others. Couldn’t this be “her time” too? She’s worked her entire life on behalf of those less fortunate, as Hillary claims to have done. She’s certainly weathered difficulty, as Hillary claims to have done. And she’s a woman!!
For months I’ve been hearing Hillary call herself a victim. I’ve heard her mantra that bouncing back from adversity is “the story of her life.” Each time I hear it, I wonder just what her misfortunes have been. From my perspective, Hillary’s life seems pretty damn good. She grew up in a toney neighborhood in Chicago. She went to excellent schools. She attended Ivy League Universities. She married the man of her dreams and “chose” to stay with him. She did lose her father, but thankfully her mother and brothers are alive. She has a wonderful daughter, legions of fans, enormous intelligence and apparent good health. She also has great power – which she has not been wont to use – in any way that suits her. So why is she complaining??
Let’s contrast Hillary and Caroline:
Unlike Hillary, Caroline lost her father when she was only five. Less than five years later she lost her surrogate father, Bobby Kennedy, too. She grew up in the lens of the camera, which she never sought. And she never misused her celebrity. She had the freedom of wealth – but it never lessened the tragedies Caroline publicly had to endure.
Caroline lost her mother to cancer and her brother and sister-in-law in a plane. It’s still extraordinary to recall the strength and dignity Caroline showed when she lost her brother, John. Like millions of Americans, and others around the world, I, too, suffered over the loss of John. And like millions of others, I was buoyed by the Kennedys – especially by Caroline and Ted. While the rest of us wallowed in the loss of our Prince, Caroline rode her bike and showed us the way to move on. We needed her then. We need her again.
Some readers may doubt that Caroline Kennedy has the credentials to lead. But I believe she has always led – just more quietly than most. She’s learned from the best. Her uncle is the Lion of the Senate. Her Aunt Eunice began the Special Olympics. Her Uncle Sarge created the Peace Corps. She’s steeped in a legacy of public service. She has power and doesn’t abuse it. She serves on foundations and boards – all for the public good. She’s on the Commission on Presidential Debates and on the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and she’s a founder of the Profiles In Courage Award. She’s traveled globally and lived abroad. She’s an adviser to the Harvard Institute of Politics, and though she doesn’t hold political office, she’s worked with and for those who have, and for those who still do. She’s brilliant and universally respected. There is little negative to be said about Caroline.
I don’t care at all about the race or gender of the candidates, but I do care about their ideology and would prefer a strong civil libertarian. Even before reaching the conclusion of her post, one thought I had on the subject was that I do happen to own two books written by Caroline Kennedy–both on civil liberties issues. While I don’t know anything about the full range of Kennedy’s beliefs, my immediate reaction is certainly to prefer someone who has written books on the Bill of Rights and the right to privacy, as opposed to a woman more interested in expanding the nanny state while showing too little regard for civil liberties.
I’m not ready to endorse Caroline Kennedy to be vice president, but I would certainly consider the idea.