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Dave Cullen

Dave Cullen
New York, New York, USA
June 03
Written for NY Times, W Post, Slate, Salon, Daily Beast. Publisher Twelve (Hachette)
An expanded paperback edition of my book COLUMBINE came out March 1, 2010. Links to the book and my bio below: http://www.davecullen.com/columbine.htm

Editor’s Pick
DECEMBER 17, 2008 2:23PM

American monarchists (The Caroline Travesty)

Rate: 14 Flag

I have always liked Caroline Kennedy. I felt queasy when I heard her suggested for the NY Senate seat.

Caroline has led a very full life, with lots of achievements, but surely no one is suggesting she would get the seat because she's been a good lawyer, written good books, etc. There are probably tens of thousands of people in NY state that qualified. And many of those ARE probably qualified, and would make great senators. But they won't get the appointment, or even be considered, not even as a crazy dream.

If it is handed to Caroline, it will be because of her family, particularly her father. She will have inherited the seat, like the "peerage" in the British monarchy.

A week ago, OS blogger Stella compared the Senate to the closest thing we have to a House of Lords. Exactly.

That aspect of the Senate has always rankled me, and this would be one of the worst precedents in my lifetime.

That body has spent the past 50 years way too filled with Bushes, Bayhs, Kennedys, Doles, Caseys, Murkowskis and all sorts of others working  "the family business"--another phrase that makes me uneasy.

These people have every right to work the family name and connections, but as voters, I think we're generally foolish to support the dynastic system. We would be much wiser to examine the lingering feelings that draw us to the idea of Noble Families and Great Houses--the whole idea of nobility that our coutry tried to break from 200-plus years ago.

It keeps sucking us back. The ideas are strong. Bloodlines, nobility . . . they go way back in the mythology and literature we were raised on, and which remain alive and well in our films. (How did we love it that Luke turned out to be Princess Leia's sister! Yes, the force runs strong in that family! They are greater because they are related.)

No. It is total bullshit. It is the same fantasy that deludes us that because Caroline is the last of this holy line, or because she was a cute little kid during Camelot, she will grip the mighty Excalibur and reign triumphant over a grateful people.

This is the kind of shit we internalize. It's no accident that they called the JFK tenure Camelot. We eat that shit up. Humans love mythology. We seem wired with it, and toward monarchy, oligarchy and Noble Houses.

We love the idea of Excalibur.  Hollywood is due for another blockbuster based on it. One of our dirty little secrets is that we kind of believe in magic. We let it infuse our thinking. Why wouldn't we? It's been guiding us for at least 10,000 years. It was all there in Homer, and it's alive in JK Rowling and Steven Spielberg today.

We can recognize the tug and resist.

How sad that even Hollywood rejects the brand-name/family-mystique idea, but the voters can't. Lots of movie star children get an easy break into films, but the vast majority of them fail pretty quickly. The success rate is low. In politics it is extremely high. That's pathetic.

Hollywood is full of persona whores. They worship mystique. But they're also a brutal meritocracy in a lot of ways. If you've got the full charisma of your daddy (or mom), or sometimes, even more, great. If you're a slightly lesser version, or not quite right for the moment, get out!

I was repulsed by the idea of "saving" the Delaware senate seat for Biden's son, the "natural heir." I was stunned by how quickly and easily the beltway boys all jumped onto that idea, all of them parotting it, no one that I heard questioning it. Oh, how sad the timing, that the guy was headed off to Iraq just when it was time to inherit dad's seat.

 When did Americans become such monarchists?

How sick that the two supposed leading contenders for the NY seat are a Kennedy and Cuomo.The Baroness vs. the Vicount? Blech.

At least Andrew has taken his case to the people and run for statewide office.

 Either one may be qualified, but let them earn it. I don't want a Baroness or a Vicount. I don't want a House of Lords. I want anyone with a famous parent to have to work twice as hard to prove they they deserve it, not half as hard.

If the voters still elect them, so be it. I think it's a big mistake, but at least it's democratic. But I don't ever want an inheritance appointment.

At this point, my gravest misgiving about Caroline's character is that she would buy into such a monarchical system. I really didn't think she would go for such a thing.

George Washington was supposedly offered a perenial seat as president, and had the wisdom and courage to refuse. Whether or not he could do a great job as president was dwarfed by the monarchist precedent he would set.

Whether or not Caroline does a great job as NY Senator would be dwarfed by the monarchist precedent she would set.

Caroline is not Princess Leia. On some level, we believe she is.

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As you alluded to; if the "father's" could see that the people themselves have perpetuated the monarchy I have no doubt they'd take back their Constitution for a re-write. This was exactly the sort of thing they abhorred. (at least philosophically)

Also, the nut of the problem, is not the actual residency of these legacy potentates, but the endless string of hanger's on and business interests which support them. The circle of friends. These may be the folks who have benefited the most from hanging the family crest over the governmental seat for generations. And done the most damage by it.

There are actually members of congress that I do like, and think are honest decent people, but if I were forced to be truly objective, a quick death by firing squad for the effect of their supervision over out financial system - for which they ARE responsible - would be my only option; in relation to the damage they've allowed under their watch. We do have an SEC and a Senate Banking Over site Committee and such. One cannot help but figure that it takes a mighty entrenched system to get this far out of line.

CK will have to run in two years, but unless she actually joins the Nazi Party or throws a shoe at Obama, her perpetuance will be certain. (the "throwing a shoe" is in no reference to the Kennedy horse faced resemblance, I would never imply such a thing)

I agree. I like Caroline, too, and she might make a fine senator. But it bothers me that our nation seems to have adopted a tendency in recent years to put an oligarchy in power. Whether it's the Kennedy's, Bush's, Chafee's, Dole's, Clinton's...the list is getting rather long, of children or spouses using familial accomplishments as a springboard to their own political careers. It's not what our country should be doing, and it's a big part of the reason I supported Obama over Clinton in the primaries.
Great post with excellent points. And I just saw on MSNBC she has an 88% chance of getting the seat. Disturbing.
Great post Dave.

I also agree with you point about Caroline buying into this monarchical system. I, too, am greatly disappointed in her for this. And if she is appointed by Gov. Paterson it will set a bad "monarchist precedent."
Much as I agree with many of your points...

...I hope Caroline gets the seat.

I feel she will acquit herself very well...and may easily be another Ted Kennedy...one of the most productive senators ever.
I'm in total agreement. We need to keep dynasties, family names and money out of politics.
Dave, your thinking on this matches exactly what is on my mind about Caroline Kennedy being appointed to the Senate seat. Thank you for your eloquent and tactful expression of your reaction and concern. It's great that you have put this proposed appointment in the context of key American values. This country was founded by yeoman farmers, even George Washington was a gentleman farmer, not a lord.
Thanks, guys.

Frank, what's the basis for your feeling that Caroline will be a great senator? Something particular that you have seen in her (how much of her have we really seen?), or the halo effect of her name and family?

The Princess Leia Effect is exactly what I'm targeting.
I'm not in favor of appointing a Kennedy just b/c she's a Kennedy. Though I think CK is smart and capable and probably would be a reasonably good senator, this doesn't meant that dozens of other highly qualified and politically experienced folks would make better senators. I'd much rather see her run for office than have it handed to her. She'd still have some built-in advantages, but at least she'd have to contend on *some* basis.
in fact, the american constitution was modelled on george3's britain. they were not aiming for democracy, but for an american aristocracy in place of british. that's why 'men of property' were the only ones who could vote.

there have been some democratizing modifications since then, but democracy remains far away.

nowadays, the government of the nation is a matter for party politicians, and caroline is just a tool to cement the ascendancy of the democrat party. it is foolish to resist caroline, if you accept party rule as legitimate.
al, i heartily agree with your core (initial) point that this American system was nothing like a pure democracy from conception.

i think there was more to it than just swapping american/brit aristocracies, though, with a massive degree of internal conflict of what they were doing.

i think they were being radical for their times and taking a huge leap toward democracy, but had no idea how much they were restrained by the thinking of their own times, and how conservative their goals were by today's standards.

i think this is true, but massively understated: "some democratizing modifications since then." one modification alone doubled the electorate, when women were finally let in. before and after, people of color and those 18-21 were allowed in. but (check me on this), wasn't the biggest single leap the one you referred to: allowing non-property holders. i have no data, but assume the landholders were a rather small minority and this one change mulitipled the electorate several times.

those are some drastic changes.

also, the senate seat in question was not elected by the people in the early years. the constitution originally set it be chosen by the state legislatures. (a later amendment changed that.)

that was a huge change. it initially WAS set up something like a house of lords.

but thank god we've shaken that idea off overtly. we don't think we want Lords, but the idea keeps creeping back in, and we defer to their Lordships.

hopefully gov. patterson will shake off the urge.
Dave asked: “…what's the basis for your feeling that Caroline will be a great senator? Something particular that you have seen in her (how much of her have we really seen?), or the halo effect of her name and family? The Princess Leia Effect is exactly what I'm targeting.”

Let me start my reply by noting that I really did not say I feel she will be a great senator. I said, “I feel she will acquit herself very well...and may easily be another Ted Kennedy...one of the most productive senators ever.” Lots of qualification in that sentence.
In any case, the family is a family of achievers…and I don’t think it a stretch to suppose that she will be an achiever.
And there is something impressive to me about the fact that she apparently has not longed for the attention or for jobs of this sort all her life. She stayed out of the fray for a very long time. I suspect there are events in the world so dire at this time that she feels she no longer has the luxury of sitting on the sidelines.

I just feel she will be a good choice.

Patterson’s the man on this issue. We’ll see if he thinks she is a good choice also…and then if she is the best choice (for a variety of reasons not limited just to experience or resume) from among many good choices.

Sometimes, Dave, ya just gotta go with gut feelings.
shit, i forgot to say.

al, i appreciate you here, because your analysis was quite insightful and welcome. however i'm always wary of false either/or choices. i do not buy the notion that i have to either accept or reject the goal of Democratic Party ascendancy, and thereby agree to any and all means to achieve it.

no way. i want the Dems to beat back the Rs in general, and in most instances. but this aristocracy crap is bigger than the both of them, and needs to stop, in my eyes.
If the appointment of CK to the New York Senate seat doesn't make you at least a little uneasy, you just might be a knee-jerk partisan!
The problem not being discussed here is, that no matter who is appointed, they will be the incumbent and will have that advantage. Incumbency is the real monarchy in our system. I did a little googling and found the following:
"Since 1914, incumbent U.S. senators running for reelection have won about 78 percent of the time," said Gowrisankaran, assistant professor of economics at the John M. Olin School of Business and research fellow with the National Bureau of Economic Research."
On some level, each of us has to ask ourselves if we don't have a chip on our shoulders about people who we see as privileged. Shouldn't all people have the opportunity to serve if that is there choice? I don't think Caroline is Princess Leia, I think she is someone who made something of her life that matters. I think she is someone who stood up when other folks were being shy and waiting to see where the cards played out. She staked something of herself that she had guarded quite carefully all her life, in the interest of the greater good of our country.

Whether anyone here likes it or not, her endorsement in the NYTimes turned the tide and fueled the enthusiasm for Obama and turned a downward spiral away from defeat during the campaign. She knew when to act and she acted boldly. She campaigned vigorously and continuously, so we do know that she knows how to get the job done politically.

Caroline Kennedy has accomplished plenty enough and pretending that she is less qualified than the Senator she may replace is disingenuous. Why should she not have the same opportunity? It is not her fault that this opportunity arose, it is, in some small part, a result of her campaigning for Obama and his eventual win that this opportunity arose.

Once when competing for a job I was told that 350 people were competing against me. You can bet there were people who were just as qualified as I, but I got the job by connecting with my interviewer and asking the right provocative questions. I see that kind of thinking on her feet in Caroline Kennedy and that skill is not something she was born with; it is something she built for herself.

This monarchist trope is a 'damned if you do, damned if you don't" argument. I think we should be looking at who Caroline Kennedy has become, not what family into which she was born. That is no more her fault than it is mine that my family was California trailer trash born of the Grapes of Wrath. I am not going to hold things that she can't change against her. Being a Kennedy is similar to being left handed. Training yourself to use your right hand doesn't change your left handedness. However, if she makes the best of who she is and uses her good fortune to benefit us all, I find it pretty weak attacking her for something that she cannot change.

Who is going to be most effective? That's the question that Gov. Patterson has to answer, and being black and blind, he might have more insight about her challenges than some do here.
The issue is: will she be an agent of good. The answer, resoundingly: Yes. She has worked tirelesssly for so many causes--without pay--that they alone qualify her for a seat of high office. There is no dynastic play here, only a good woman who does not need this job, wanting to serve her fellow compatriots
OK, not really on point, but if I had to choose between Caroline Kennedy in the Senate now as well as still having to weigh in about Jeb Bush running for President in 2012, I would agree wholeheartedly that the trend toward monarchy is over the top. We are still transitioning, however, so I don't feel as threatened by Caroline Kennedy.

She may not stand a chance because of her family name -- we really don't know. It surely can hurt nothing for her to put in name in the hat...
Blake Mitchell wrote:

“If the appointment of CK to the New York Senate seat doesn't make you at least a little uneasy, you just might be a knee-jerk partisan! “

Well, I am not a partisan, knee-jerk or otherwise. I am not even a Democrat…and I am not a liberal.

But my gut feeling is that Caroline Kennedy will champion positions with which I will agree…enthusiastically.

Another thing…her “experience” as a stay-at-home Mom might be exactly what the old club needs most right now. I doubt, considering her “experience” that she will be quite as likely to vote to enable a senseless, unnecessary war as some of the other senators, including unfortunately, the lady vacating the seat in question.

That valuable “experience” really seems to be getting short shrift!
Yeah, CK definitely has what it takes; I'm very much on the side where our most qualified and needed leaders are found in the ranks of the stay-at-home moms!! TV programming doesn't cater to them for their incredible insight for nothing!! Plus CK already has a family in place to cover up any deaths she may be responsible for...gotta love Ted; we should pretty much free all our criminals who possess a political ideology that we agree with!! Nice thinking Frank!!
FYI--After the last eight years, I've had it up to here with "gut feelings." Not that CK would be any sort of monster, like Bush; but why make such a decision based on emotional, irrational, unsupported-by-any-substantive-evidential-material, "gut feelings"?

"Hey, Blake, why do you support Caroline Kennedy for NY Senator?"

"Oh... I have a gut feeling. What more do I need?"
After the last eight years, I've had it up to here with "gut feelings."

god, thank you, blake. i had the same reaction. if you examine that gut and find its response credible, OK, i'll buy that. but the unexamined gut is not very credible to me.
So maybe for most of you commenting here, Ted Kennedy wasn't the lion of the senate--- championing the causes of the left---that he was for me.
Therefore, I guess that you can't envision the CK might take up that mantel as a woman almost immune to any outside influence of creed or corruption, schooled in the way of public service.

Whatever has been criticized/written / recorded of an elected Kennedy---I can't recall anything that has amounted to greed, corruption, deceit , or failure to act in the best interest of the country. I have no reason to believe Ck would not maintain at least this level of service.

So she gets it in on a name. Tell me , how exactly did Hillary earn her status?

More importantly, she can only be being motivated by pureness of heart. Really. She does not NEED the grief associated with this decision.

Cullen: "When did Americans become such monarchists?"

I think this is an outstanding question that deserves further study. I know Glenn Greenwald of Salon Magazine sort of delved into this topic a week or so ago in arguing against family dynasties like the Kennedy in politics.

I don't have statistics to back this up, but I believe there has been a HUGE increase in the number of children of U.S. senators and representatives in the Senate and House. I've followed politics all my life and I just don't remember family dynasties being this prevalent 20 or 30 years ago.

If I'm right, this means that something about the character of the American public has changed.

Is it our educational system? Perhaps. Schoolbooks and schools emphasize dates and names rather than giving students an opportunity to think about what our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution really mean. In other words, we as Americans don't understand what America means and stands for.

Is it our recent history? Perhaps. To listen to ordinary Americans talk about America, you'd think that what makes America great is our military might as the world's strongest nation and the opportunity to make tons of money. Certainly, before 1945, Americans who thought their nation was special didn't focus on our military might.

Is it our culture? Perhaps. We are personality obsessed -- a development that certainly became more pronounced after the advent of television 60 years ago. Americans were fascinated by Diana of England. Many years ago, during a conversation about this woman, I said something to the effect that I found the British monarchy morally offensive.

I was ripped by several women -- none of whom found monarchies offensive. Instead, they absolutely loved this woman. (I will not call her the p word; it's anti-American).

But people are bored by workpersonlike legislators who work hard for years. I think they'd rather see a major personality in office -- and heirs to huge fortunes or family dynasties are considered personalities.

OK, it's late.

Mah: "More importantly, she can only be being motivated by pureness of heart. Really. She does not NEED the grief associated with this decision."

Maybe, she NEEDS to feel like she has accomplished what a Kennedy is supposed to accomplish. I guess there's nothing wrong with that if she started at home plate like the rest of us mere mortals instead of picking up the phone and asking the governor for an appointment.

It is the responsibility of the Governor of New York to make the appointment to fill Hillary's empty seat. The citizens of New York elected him to do his job. Really is it the position for the rest of the country to become so embaddled in the appointment in New York. Here we are acting as if Caroline Kennedy will get the appointment merely because she is a Kennedy. We are acting as if the Kennedy family is creating some sort of monarchy.
In my observation of the situation, Caroline has decided to seek the nomination and is doing so just as any other citizen in New York can do. We often forget the contributions of many families in our history. It is not about a monarchy. It is about a desire for public service. John Quincy Adams followed his father. The Adams family has contributed so much to our history. The Roosevelt family has also shown a commitment to working for the best for our country.
Yet we doom Caroline merely because she is a Kennedy. She must be considered on her own merits and not pass by here abilities because she is a Kennedy. I do not and will not consider her appointment will be monarchist precedent in any matter. As Americans, we must allow all of our citizens equal opportunity to seek the future they seek. Calling her a monarchist is unfarir. Caroline will have much to prove if she is appointed and standing for election will be the proof that she is the person to be the Senator.
The governor of New York has a difficult task. It is his task and America will not fall because of any appointment that he makes.
dave: u can't compare our senate with the house of lords. Not after Phil Gram showed everybody how to do it, and brought the country to its knees. Kennedy or somebody like her (if they are not simply incompetent) will probably not bring much of an agenda other than "noblesse oblige." Which is basically to say she won't know shit but at least won't be in anybodies pocket.
If I have to see this languid woman simper around one more time, I will spit! And Tweetie wants to marry her or something. Come on. Find someone to be a senator. Is a Senate seat like a Cracker Jack prize--mine, mine, oh, OK, you take it. I worked for Jack Kennedy, I remember Caroline standing there in her little skirt--we all do. My Dad was a physician, but believe me, you don't want me operating on ya.
So Babbling Brooks thinks that Caroline is throwing her hat into the ring just as any other New Yorker could...really, just how many calls from "other New Yorkers" would the governor be taking??? There is absolutely nothing about the way that Caroline is having her name being discussed that is even remotely similar to the way any "other New Yorker" would be considered.
No one should be appointed. There should be an election. Failing that, the Governor should select his finalists, hold a public debate so that New Yorkers can know who/what they are getting with an appointment. Should be done in all cases when a seat in Congress opens prematurely.
Her brother, before his death and since he was old enough to shave, was always expected and exhorted to enter politics. He had given no indication of that interest at time of death but I suspect if this were her brother we are talking about, the response would have been different.
Suzanne Freeborn wrote:
--Caroline Kennedy has accomplished plenty enough and pretending that she is less qualified than the Senator she may replace is disingenuous. Why should she not have the same opportunity? It is not her fault that this opportunity arose, it is, in some small part, a result of her campaigning for Obama and his eventual win that this opportunity arose. --

In a way it IS her fault - Caroline Kennedy certainly could have campaigned for public office in her lifetime. She chose not to do so. I think the criticism of her would be far less muted if she had served in some elected office. It has been speculated on Salon.com and elsewhere that she simply has no appetite for campaigning because she travels only in the most elite circles. She may have traveled the world, but I bet she's never had a drank a "Genny" in Rochester or scarfed hot wings in Buffalo. To simply give her the seat ,and the incumbent advantage in two years, seems inappropriate to me.
I also think that Gov. Paterson might put her in that seat because he knows she'll just keep it warm for him in two years and won't run for it. Although I think she could run away with it in an election - she just needs to borrow the Hillary Clinton's genius strategy in 2000. Go on a "listening tour" through those small towns in Upstate and Western NY. If she can pull off seeming genuinely interested in those people and their problems, they'll be star struck.
Still, she doesn't seem to be willing to do the real work and that is her fault.
Gov. Paterson appears to be less than enthusiastic about Kennedy. He is preoccupied with wielding a severe budget axe. New Yorkers are feeling rather sober of late. Whomever the governor gives a nod to must pass the split-personality test that defines NYS: upstate and downstate, the ultimate strange bedfellows. That same person will soon run for re-election simultaneous with the governor. More than monarchial blood is at stake.
While against monarchies and oligarchies, let's admit Caroline is literate and presentable and unlikely to embarrass us.
someone is going to have this seat 'handed to them.' why not caroline kennedy. as far as i know she hasn't been or isn't involved in any scandals. she has shown her intelligence in writing at least two serious policy-related books and editing others--ranging from poetry to esssays. her public service credentials are unquestionable, including her work with new york city public schools. and, she comes from a long line of family members who have sacrificed far more than most in the name of public service. caroline kennedy is as good a choice as anyone, and better than most. i don't think governor patterson should hesitate in naming her to the u.s. senate.
Yes, she is another Kennedy. But she is not someone who has done anything unsavory like steal money from unsuspecting grandmothers or accidently kill someone. She has led a completely honorable life, raising millions of dollars for worthy charities in her community (New York!) without calling a lot of attention to herself, all while having a healthy (i.e. not involving the police or drug counselors) family life. Gee, she sounds way more qualified than most of those currently serving! And as far as "inheriting" political jobs goes, we have a long tradition of it, going all the way back to my great-great-whatevers, the Adams. Personally, I think it's about time some of these men passed down some of this power to their daughters for a change!
Ordinarily I'd agree with you Dave, but, as a 30&-year JFK assassination researcher, these two words cause me to disagree: Bobby Kennedy.

The man who would have been the president intended to get to the bottom of who killed JFK. No president has ever made this a priority and the people are still lied to about who did it, so that the military/industrial/organized-crime complex can remain the power behind the scenes in America.

If you aren't aware that this same "interest group" were behind Watergate, Iran/Contra and 9-11, I'm certain you'll completely disagree with me, but the reason we are in such deep shit is because most people in this country have no idea who the president's father REALLY is and really represents. I warned everyone I could when GWB announced his candidacy that if he was elected it would likely be the greatest mistake this country has ever made. It has turned out that way.

Exposing the truth of who killed JFK, who and why and what they have accomplished since, should be this country's greatest priority.
They took over BEFORE they killed JFK, Dave and they killed him because he was trying to take back the power that is rightfully, constitutionally the president's. It is they who have been in power ever since, while the presidents have been their puppets.

George W. Bush put a match to a powder keg when he announced that the government was considering eliminating the mortgage interest income tax deduction to help pay off deficit caused by his unnecessary war. He knew what he was doing and, more importantly, his "advisers" knew what he was doing. This caused a stall in a healthy and growing housing market that shifted the upward trend to a flat line, then a downturn. There's no question that this is what happened, yet no one in the media has reported this. It was clearly his real intention, because he never could have passed such legislation and after announcing on the following day that they were considering eliminating a percentage instead of the entire deduction, not a word about it has been heard.

It's all about class warfare, Dave. The power elite have no scruples whatsoever when it comes having all the power and wealth.

Caroline Kennedy should be our first female president. It's about time she entered the political arena. Obama may take on the challenge of straightening out what has gone severely wrong in the U.S. since Truman was in office, but don't hold your breath.

Read David Talbot's book "Brothers" and maybe you'll understand why it's essential to uncover what Bobby Kennedy intended to uncover and that, chances are, only a Kennedy presidency will.
"...they called the JFK tenure Camelot. "

"They" did no such thing! Actually Jack Kennedy supposedly listened to the the record, Camelot, according to Jackie, and it was one of his favorites. Supposedly. "They," meaning us, the people did not coin the term to describe the Kennedy administration - Jackie and a biographer did.

So much for that one! Now, on to whether or not Caroline Kennedy should be given the seat? No. I mean, why now? Because a Kennedy always had a seat in the Senate for over 50 years? Sorry, not good enough.

Why? Do we really know her? What do we know? Nothing. She's made it habit of staying out of the public eye and choosing which projects are worthy of her appearances. She's not been particularly involved with politics her entire life - she admits that. So why now? And don't tell me Obama-Messiah has inspired her like her Dad inspired millions. Bullshit.
"Caroline Kennedy should be our first female president."

Did someone actually post that? What rubbish. Then again, every since George W. Bush and now Barack Obama, the bar has been lowered so anyone with absolutely NO EXPERIENCE can get the job.
"Exposing the truth of who killed JFK, who and why and what they have accomplished since, should be this country's greatest priority."

No, actually our first priority should be getting ouselves out of this economic mess that we are in, and getting our heads out of our asses should be second.

Lee Harvy Oswald killed JFK. Get over it.
very interesting discussion.

several ideas struck me, most of all this one: "So maybe for most of you commenting here, Ted Kennedy wasn't the lion of the senate--- championing the causes of the left---that he was for me."

i don't know about all the commentors, but i think that's an unlikely assumption. for me, i don't see how ted's record in the senate equates to caroline. because he's her uncle, she's mirror him?

in most families i know, some of the siblings share quite a few similarities, and some are practically opposites. that's siblings. niece and uncle? think about all your aunts and uncles. how many are similar to you? of the extended families you know, take the same reckoning.

this idea that families produce one after another of the same thing seems to have little basis in reality, as far as i can see. (there is also the question of the times: some are right for one sort, some for another. if ted were a young man starting in the senate today, his accomplishments there would be far different--maybe better, maybe worse.)

i just think the comparison--or the idea that "ted was great means caroline will be great" is fallacious.
this is kinda minor, but since i was called to task for an erroneous statement . . .

i said:

This is the kind of shit we internalize. It's no accident that they called the JFK tenure Camelot. We eat that shit up.

rose responded:

"...they called the JFK tenure Camelot. "

"They" did no such thing! . . . "They," meaning us, the people did not coin the term to describe the Kennedy administration - Jackie and a biographer did.

i admit i was a little sloppy in my antecedents, but odd that you would pick one for me and then set about disproving it. i certainly never said "the people" coined the term--though that seems as vague to me as the mysterious "they." does the great mass of humanity ever get together and coin term? i think most terms are started by an individual.

so it was jackie and her biographer. i don't care. my point--which i think is clear from the context--is that the public went for it. "We eat that shit up" was my next sentence.

if it makes you happy, i'll recast the sentence as "It's no accident the JFK tenure came to be known as Camelot. "

i do get your point that members of his family had a hand in crafting his mythology in a wondrous light. smart family. but the public only goes for mythology they like, and which resonates with them. people try all the time to rewrite themselves in a glowing light and get laughed off. my point was/is that the public likes this sort of mythology, and laps it up.
I empathize with many of the sentiments expressed in the article and in the comments. In a way, it is "unseemly" to think of Caroline Kennedy suddenly surfacing and presenting herself to be appointed to the New York USA Senate seat. I am still reeling from Uncle Ted's crude and unprofessionally crass endorsements of his candidate, totally annihilating and demeaning and dismissing the major opponent and locking her out of the health care reform work to be done in the Senate. I am disgusted with his remark at time of his diagnosis that he wanted his wife to fill his seat in the Senate from Massachusetts on his death. So, in that respect, I am turned off.

However, I do not feel that we should totally eliminate a potential public servant in government solely on the basis that it is the "family business" or that they belong to a political family. Oftentimes, these people grow up with an awareness of current events, thoughtful discussions, excellent educations, a sense of responsibility to serve and contribute in some capacity. If there is a seriousness to service and a commitment and a history of relevant accomplishment and integrity, they should not be automatically eliminated. The genes and the name alone does not qualify.

In this case, we are turned off because CK comes from a fiercely guarded private life, albeit one of intellectual pursuit and philanthrophy, and one in which we can easily assume what her ideology and positions are. We can argue that, as a woman, wife, and mother, she chose to spend the past 20 years raising her family, or supporting her husband's career pursuits, as many women in public office do, and, at a time when priorities change, choose to enter public service through politics. So, the absence of prior elected office should not be a disqualifier as many successful female Senators and Representatives have followed this course. If they are informed, educated, opinionated, articulate, and current on the issues, and have a strong enough desire to campaign and to serve, and if they have integrity and some record of contributions to society, they should be considered. "Life experiences" for women in these instances goes a long way as we can detect much about character, values, priorities, effectiveness, as well as evaluate the motivation to make the community, the state, the world a better place, having brought forth children into this world and raised them to function in the world.

The problem here is the "appointment". If it were an ordinary election, the response would probably be different because she would be earning the seat. It smacks of entitlement amidst the many capable and loyal public servants of New York's state politics and we are uneasy with it. She may not even be expecting to be appointed but is announcing her interest and intent and, even if not appointed this time around, if she is serious, we will see and hear more of her on talk shows, tours through the state, editorials she writes on the issues, etc.

She also does not have the typically aggressive and extroverted personality of most politicians. Here again is someone who may not be skilled at politicking but who has the keen mind to govern and to legislate and to speak out on issues and the desire and commitment to improve the lives of the people in the country.

I cannot help but wonder if we would be responding in the same way if it were her late brother who decided to throw his hat into the ring, absence prior elected office. It would seem that this younger generation of Kennedys have been fairly reluctant to serve in public office and have chosen private lives. No one could blame them in light of the grave losses they suffered and the many children left fatherless, for no good reason other than they wanted to serve.

I say, go easy. I would not want to be the Governor.
Rose Ramblin and anyone else who hasn't done their homework on the subject of who killed JFK:

As a thirty-plus year researcher on the subject of JFK's assassination, I've found that those who believe that Oswald acted alone are invariably the least well read on the subject. Anyone who is familiar with the facts of the case can PROVE with the Warren Report's own evidence that the commission's conclusions are not supported by that evidence. Furthermore they can show that this same evidence would tend to indicate that Oswald was completely innocent of shooting ANYONE.

The problem is simple. If you don't read, you can't be expected NOT to be ignorant. Allen Dulles is famous for saying, "Americans don't read." The assassins depended on the cover up. The Warren Commission depended on people NOT reading.

Sylvia Meagher discovered, to her distress and consternation, that the near 900 page Warren Report and 26 volumes of evidence had NO INDEX! She took the monumental chore upon herself of creating one and providing it to the world. In the course of her task, she discovered that the evidence does NOT support the conclusions and she wrote her brilliant critical analysis of the report, ACCESSORIES AFTER THE FACT, explaining the same.

Ms. Meagher's book is the place to start, if you give a damn, but it's only the beginning, because once you understand that the single bullet theory was always nothing but a theory and that it was proposed as a "what if" with the clear understanding that it was NOT even possible BECAUSE it had been ESTABLISHED that the back wound penetrated no deeper than the second joint of the pathologist's finger, you've now only established that there HAD to be a second shooter, so the next phase of research only just begins.

The mainstream media abandoned JFK with the death of Dorothy Kilgallen.

Journalism was once the guardian of truth, be it unfair or unbalanced or not. Late in 2007, I saw Diane Sawyer on TV taking fellow broadcaster Keith Olbermann to task for not being fair and balanced. You need not fall back on the claim that you are fair and balanced, if you can make the much stronger claim that you are truthful and accurate, yet apparently the mainstream media as a whole is now willing to accept the standards of FOX News.

In the years since JFK was assassinated, we've lowered the bar in this country to the point where opinion is valued as the truth and the president has a lower IQ than JFK had after he was shot, but only people who are SERIOUS readers can tell the difference and know that it does matter that the word is pronounced NU CLE AR.
"How did we love it that Luke turned out to be Princess Leia's sister!"

Um, Star Ward nerd registering just to mention, Luke is male.
Why not consider Luci Baines Johnson for the Senate seat ? Or Amy Carter or Chelsea Clinton ? OK, Chelsea is not old enough to qualify.
Or maybe the governor of New York could appoint Al Franken and save Minnesota a lot of trouble.
I think it'd be easier to deal with this whole American monarchy thing if I could just get a little of whatever the hell it is Bob's been snorting.
At the present time, I am neutral toward Caroline Kennedy. However, when you consider that Fran Drescher has also come forward seeking the nomination, Ms. Kennedy looks very good. Not that I have anything against Ms. Drescher, having never seen her television show.

However, despite the fact that education does not signify intelligence, Ms. Kennedy has a fine education and has proved herself with the authorship of her two books, which puts her far ahead of her father whose book was written by his staff.

And, yes,there is the possibility that hers were written by an intern or paralegal.

She should be articulate. Both her parents were. The ability to put together an proper English sentence is no reason to vote for someone but it certainly makes a candidate easier to take. As a literate person, I have no use for the sarah palins of this world.

When I was in college (1965-69), studying political science, I read the Congressional Record from time to time. The people who were most present in the Record were Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon and Goldwater with a few other names of others now deceased. Congress has more than 500 members between the two houses but very few of its member actually make their mark. Her uncle has certainly been one of the hardest working members of that body. Again, that is not an indication of the sort of Senator Ms. Kennedy could be, but, this is one case in which we may look at a family legacy and say, "She comes from good stock."

Another 40 years might not find the public looking with kindness upon Willow, Piper or Bristol Palin who could find themselves with an uphill battle, fighting their parents' legacy.
I'm glad we have Bob to question the Warren Commission yet provide no FACTS himself to prove that Oswald could not have acted alone. It's one thing to have theory that something else might have happened, but without proving that the initial theory is impossible or that your own theory is fact, you haven't accomplishing anything more than the theory you question.

There are just as many experts who have taken the task of finding out just how the assassination went down and while you may in fact be able to provide evidence that gives credit to another shooter or any other configuration than Oswald alone (as shooter at least), there is just as much evidence where sharpshooters and forensic scientists have shown that the shots could be made from Oswald's location, that for all the shots that were fired, that this was the optimal place where all of these shots could be made if there was only one shooter, that the shots could and would have the physical effects that actually played out, and also fits the real life events in that we've never found another shooter, others coming forward of a plot with Oswald as scapegoat; it just doesn't exist. Perhaps there were multiple assassins from 2 plots acting completely independently of each other, but once Oswald put things into action those acting from the 2nd group never got to bring their plan to action and those may be the other suspicious people scene at different locations that since that day have never been seen again. Probably not...but with so many having it out for JFK and with there never being another caught that we could prove to be involved in the plot, it is certainly just as likely a theory for any other Oswald didn't act alone theory.

Maybe we should also find out whether Bob believes we really landed on the moon or not when he gives us some actual facts, that evidently are so obvious that we can really only explain the inaction on the government to get the record corrected as another fault of the Bush administration.
thanks, everyone.

damn, good catch on the gender mixup, matt.

i want to keep this remotely on topic, and not a thread on the kennedy assassination, so i'm going to delete any additional comments on that topic. i just wanted to make that clear in advance so that there are no hurt feelings.

thanks, everyone.
Hey Dave,

Just getting back here after days of not being on line.

Re my Ted Kennedy remark: I guess I make the strong connection between uncle and niece because I can't fathom any other reason in the world that she is wanting this seat other than a commitment to carry on Ted's work.

Now, I'm more than willing to admit that could just be short-sightedness on my part.
Wanted to add that the more I've watched her over the past few days, the more I've come to the conclusion that she is not cut out for the task. She has a honed sense of avoiding exposure to the public and press ( and I can certainly understand how and why this is) and i don't think she can overcome it.

That said, I still contend that I believe she is of true heart and intention in seeking the seat. And certainly has the intellect required. But I hope the Gov makes another choice. I think it would be best for everyone.
Citizen Justice,

I provided the facts that the back wound DID NOT penetrate deeper that the second joint of pathologist's probing finger, as stated in the internal FBI memo of agents Sibert and O'Neil, thereby making a second shooter an absolute necessity and the fact that Sylvia Meagher's "Accessories After The Fact" shows with the Warren Commission's OWN EVIDENCE that its conclusion were and erroneous.

You have obviously not researched the subject. Anyone who has HONESTLY researched the subject knows that J. EDGAR HOOVER
admitted in internal FBI memos on Nov. 24, 1963 that the case could be pursued by the Texas authorities under the then extant conspiracy statutes and that the Texas authorities had NOTHING on Oswald until the FBI gave it too them. Considering that the crime took place in Texas, this is beyond any explanation other than a frame up of Oswald.

Read Meagher's book and you won't find it necessary to blow smoke about a subject on which you are now quite obviously uninformed.
Addendum to my last comment to Citizen Justice:

I left out the word "are" before erroneous and mis-spelled "to" as "too". Forgive me for not proof reading my comment before posting it, but the facts remain the same.

To the point, here are the only FACTS needed to prove that the conclusions in the Warren Report are false:

1.) A report from FBI Agents Sibert and O'Neill, dated November 26, 1963, which is contained in Commission Document No. 7 in the National Archives, contains this description:

"During the latter stages of the autopsy, Dr. Humes located an opening which appeared to be a bullet hole which was below the shoulders....This opening was probed by Dr. Humes with the finger, at which time it was determined that the trajectory of the missile entering at this point had entered at a downward position of 45 to 60 degrees. Further probing determined that the distance traveled by this missile was a short distance inasmuch as the end of the opening could be felt with the finger."

2.) J. Edgar Hoover memo dated 11/24/63. HSCA, vol. 3, pp. 471-473:

"They really didn't have a case against Oswald until we gave them our information"

3.) J. Edgar Hoover memo dated 11/24/63. HSCA, vol. 3, pp. 471-473:

"...we now think it involves the Criminal Code on conspiracy charge under Section 2-11"