Sunday, December 7, 2008

Carolyn or Nydia, not Caroline

The idea of Caroline Kennedy as Senator should rankle some veteran politicians that have put in their time in public service.

The high office of U.S. senator should be a reward to someone with a demonstrated record of committed service, hard work and a record of positions.

Both Nydia Velazquez of Brooklyn and Carolyn Maloney of Manhattan have put in a decade of service in the House of Representatives.

Velazquez has a very solid, very liberal voting record in the House. She should be the first person on Gov. David Paterson's short list of Senate appointment candidates to replace Hillary Clinton.
The "Lost in the Ozone" blog adds:
Velazquez offers the tantalizing possibility of killing two political birds with one stone by appealing to Hispanics and women - both critical voting blocs.

"They think she's a twofer," said the source close to Paterson, who would get to pick Clinton's replacement. "She's a woman and a Latina and therefore a home run. He's feeling tremendous pressure in western New York, which he has to win to win the general election. But the closer pressure he's feeling right now is from the Hispanic community."

Picking Velazquez might help Paterson win favor with two members of the so-called Gang of Three who are withholding support from current state Senate Minority Leader Malcolm Smith and preventing him from becoming the majority leader.

The author at the blog site, "The Confluence," made several good points, specifically pointing out that our political offices should not be political sinecures, handed down, in legacy fashion within one family clan or political dynasty. It is obvious, if Caroline's last name were not Kennedy, she would not be commanding such attention as a potential U.S. senator.
{For disclosure, this post is from the PUMA movement. Remember that this was the tasteless group of bitter losers that threatened to support John McCain. Their motto was "Principle Before Party;" but they conveniently ignore that there are deep differences of principles and values between the major parties. It is very interesting that they have ignored Nydia Velazquez from their recommendations. Could it be that she is a Latina? They stressed how voters elected Maloney eight times; actually, Vela}

Key points from the Confluence post:
1. She’s not a politician. Never has been. She’s never run for political office, never advocated for legislation (that I know of), never even expressed an interest. If Hillary were close to an election cycle, one might justify appointing Caroline as a symbolic gesture. But Hillary has four years left in her term. That would make Kennedy a rather strong incumbent. She hasn’t earned it.
2. The Senate is not the House of Lords. I know the argument against dynasties has also been made against Hillary’s run for president. But in Hillary’s case, she did the whole campaigning thing. She’s worked on health care throughout her tenure as first lady. She went into the senate having *earned* her seat through a legitimate election and her own accomplishments. We saw her on the campaign trail for president. She is smart, tough, assertive, unflagging, eternally optimistic. We *like* her. Just because her husband was a president doesn’t mean we had to deprive ourselves of the best presidential candidate in the past 15 years. But in Caroline Kennedy’s case, the name is everything. She is the closest thing we have to an American princess. She’s an aristocrat and nothing more. Oh, sure, she’s a lawyer and she’s published books. But for her, it almost like finishing school. She chose to lead a more private life. Good! Let her enjoy it.
3. There are other women who would be passed over who would be legitimately and righteously indignant. Kirsten Gillibrand and Carolyn Maloney are perfect examples. For the upstate vote, Kirsten is the way to go. She’s young, intelligent, well liked. She’s very much in the Hillary model. For experience, go to Carolyn Maloney, who has been elected from her Manhattan district *eight* times. She has a track record of championing women’s issues. For either of these true politicians who have earned their way to be queue jumped by Caroline Kennedy is a real slap to the face.

But the bottom line, what are Kennedy's positions? gives us Velazquez's and Maloney's positions.

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