Monday, December 29, 2008

Sweet Caroline?

It appears that Governor Paterson may be tiring of the attempt by the Carolinites-bolstered by the ever coy mayor-to elevate Caroline Kennedy and the Peter Principle to the US Senate simultaneously. Here's how Wikepedia describes the process: "Peter's Corollary states that "in time, every post tends to be occupied by an employee who is incompetent to carry out his duties" and adds that "work is accomplished by those employees who have not yet reached their level of incompetence".

So, of course, if Kennedy is elevated, we can be buoyed by the fact that she will have a great staff of competents to carry out her senatorial duties. None of this is apparently making Paterson more amenable to her choice for the vacant seat, As he told the NY Post: "He bristled when a reporter described Kennedy - who has never been elected to office and whose qualifications have been criticized - as the "front-runner." "How is she a front-runner?" the Democratic governor, who has sole power to choose Clinton's successor, interrupted tartly."

And, as the governor commented to the NY Times: "Gov. David A. Paterson stressed on Wednesday that there was no front-runner among the contenders who want to fill the Senate seat being vacated by Hillary Rodham Clinton, and he said the intense focus on Caroline Kennedy is the result of media hype."

God old reliable Joe Conason is front and center in the aforementioned hype. Conason, one of the harshest critics of Sarah Palin (“Suddenly all anyone needs to qualify as a potential commander in chief is to be a religious ideologue with female gender characteristics?”), fails to hold Kennedy to any of the same standards-he should really keep his banal hypocritical observations to those of his immediate family; they serve as very little additions to the public debate, aside from underscoring how fatuous all of the Kennedy euphoria really is.

But nothing could underscore the fatuousness of this all as much as Kennedy herself-who deigned to appear for an interview with Dominic Carter on NY1. As the NY Post reported: "Caroline Kennedy broke her silence with the start of a media blitz yesterday, defending her qualifications to replace Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and confidently saying she's up to the job...The 51-year-old daughter of John F. Kennedy told NY1 last night, "There are many ways to serve. I think I have been serving my community up until now, and I think I'm ready to take the next step."

And Sarah Palin was ridiculed? Are we looking at that ultimate biography-From the PTA to the Presidency? And when asked for specifics, she tells the NY Times: "She said that if appointed senator next year by Gov. David A. Paterson, she would focus on securing economic aid for the state, overhauling the nation’s health care system, and school issues." It's as if the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression hasn't happened; all we get from Kennedy are hackneyed liberal bromides and non sequitors.

Bloomberg, for his part, simply can't resist satire. Here's his piquant observation to the Times last week; launched behind the barricades of his own stealth offensive: "I do think the governor, as I said the other day, should make a decision, because this is just distracting and we don't need to have another sideshow." This from the sideshow impresario himself!

What the state doesn't need is an entitled novice; and the rumor about her dalliance with Pinch Sulzberger, if true, is another major strike against her. And let's not forget Clyde Haberman's admonition that selecting Kennedy would foist the Neil Diamond song, "Sweet Caroline," on us ad nauseam; all of which makes this decision a significant test of Governor Paterson's Independence and leadership.