A New Wave

Fighting for women's rights today and tomorrow.

Laura Walker

Laura Walker
Location
Silverdale, Washington, USA
Birthday
January 21
Title
Writer/Editor/Photographer
Company
WriteLine Ink/A New Wave
Bio
* 20 years in Washington, D.C., working as an advocate for women's rights, civil rights, workers' rights and human rights. * 15 years as a Journalist, writing for such publications as "Washington Woman", "The Eagle", "Kitsap Sun", "Valley Courier", "American Forum" magazine at American University, among others. * English and journalism educator * Partnered, with four cats * Current location: Pacific Northwest * Hobbies/Interests: photographer, blogger, reader, hiker, GPACNW explorer, politics, Seattle Storm basketball.

Laura Walker's Links

Salon.com
Editor’s Pick
DECEMBER 16, 2008 11:34PM

Caroline Kennedy...NOT

Rate: 21 Flag

Okay, I'm pissed!

First, let me say that I have nothing but respect for Caroline Kennedy. I believe she is smart, capable and talented. She would be a great advocate for children, women, education, and health care. She would be a terrific elected official. I just don't believe she deserves to be handed a U.S. Senate seat -- and especially not the seat vacated by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton -- simply because she is a Kennedy and has tons of money.

Appointing her to this seat is a huge disservice to women, generally, and to New York State women, in particular. Why?

It sends a very troubling message to qualified, experienced women elected officials who have worked hard to get where they are and who have struggled for generations to overcome the perception that the only way women can succeed in certain careers is if the bar is set lower for them to begin with.

It is also patronage -- something the boys have used for centuries to get where they are and what they want -- and goes against everything that feminism and equality stand for. 

What, really, are we saying about women's competencies and experience when more qualified women (like Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Nita Lowey)  are bypassed in favor of "landed gentry"? We're saying that experience, competence, qualifications, and credentials mean nothing. We're saying, metaphorically, that if you're the pretty girl, or the girl whose father owns the business, or the community darling, you need only show up for tryouts in order to be appointed/elected/named to this post or that. 

This is the kind of sexism that women have fought against for years. This particular appointment, if it happens, represents a pernicious form of sexism, but it is sexsim, none the less.

In addition, it sends out a larger message across the country to women everywhere that men can discriminate in hiring, promotions and, appointments, tossing out experience, qualifications and credentials and hiring the personal favorite, or the woman who won't "rock the boat", or the woman with bigger boobs or a smaller dress size. 

I am completely in favor of women having opportunities at all levels of our society. But I am not in favor of lowering the bar once one woman has "made it" in order to accommodate another woman. This is exactly what the appointment of Caroline Kennedy to fill Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's U.S. Senate seat would do.

Two names mentioned for Clinton's replacement, but that have received zero media coverage, are Carolyn Maloney and Nita Lowey, each of whom have worked hard for residents in New York State (and for progressive Democratic issues) and bring public service experience and leadership to the Senate position -- something that ought to be the starting point for discussions about Clinton's possible replacement. 

If Caroline Kennedy truly wants to serve, Gov. Paterson could, reasonably and logically, consider her to replace Lowey or Maloney in the U.S. House of Representatives, or she could enter a special election for the vacancy and gain the experience necessary to make a bid for the Senate seat in 2010 or 2012.

I sincerely hope the governor will do the right thing -- that is to look first at all the necessary qualifications for this position and appoint the person, male or female, with a proven record of accomplishments and leadership for the state of New York. At the moment, Caroline Kennedy is not that person.

Your tags:

TIP:

Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:

Comments

Type your comment below:
Members of Congress are never appointed by the guv. Special elections fill the vacancies. I understood that Lowey, for whatever reason, declined to seek the Senate seat. Caroline Kennedy seems to be as qualified as Maloney, now that you mention it.

I like C.K., and I like the idea of a woman replacing Hillary Clinton. But Andrew Cuomo (or even Mario) seem to be the most qualified.

But then, I'm not a New Yorker, so what does my opinion count?
I'm with you. I too am not from NY, so as Randy said, it's really none of my direct business - but I thought I'd comment anyway.
Rated
Yes, great points. I totally agree.
I think CK is smart and talented but she has not earned a Senate seat, and there has to be at least a dozen women as smart and talented with more qualifications than a famous last name. You're right, this is a form of sexism, and it sucks.
Are we becoming a plutocratic oligarchy? Preston to George to George W. to Jeb, John to Robert to Teddy to Caroline, Bill to Hillary, not to mention the Tafts and Chuck Robb marrying into the Johnson family. Yeah, it's just dynastic!
This smacks of reverse elitism. Caroline Kennedy has worked hard since law school as a public servant. She has survived multiple tragedies that would put most of us at the bar with a big bottle of Scotch, but she has carried herself with grace, poise and a tremendous amount of courage. Not only is she a dedicated public servant, but she has raised a family and has never tripped on her fame or priveledge as many of her family has. Perhaps you should search your soul for that green monster Envy. I would not trade my life for hers ever. What she has endured, and accomplished makes me proud to be an American. I can't think of a better, more outstanding candidate, regardless of class.
WHY NOT A PLACEHOLDER FOR CHELSEA CLINTON?

Political dynasties are immoral and anti-American.

Here, in Illinois, even before Blago decided to sell a Senate seat, selfish politicians have repeatedly won primaries, withdrawn their names from the ballot in August, and then had their lackeys nominate their sons in their place.

In other words, they FIXED an election. This happened with Congressman William Lipinski, Cook County president John Stroger (the largest county in the USA), and State Senate president Emil Jones, among others.

And now here comes the ultimate child of a political dynasty. She wants to be a U.S. senator so she calls the governor and asks him to appoint her to the job.

If she wanted to be a senator, why didn’t she do what the rest of us have to do – prove herself over several years in the City Council, State Assembly, something, anything?

Or she could have organized a campaign in an effort to persuade millions of New Yorkers that they should vote for based on her life experiences.

But no, she is a Kennedy so she is apparently ENTITLED to a Senate seat because she is, well, her last name is Kennedy and that’s that.

Shalom,
ZWrite
Actually, it is not reverse elitism, since an elite status can be earned or unearned. High political office should come through an elite status that was earned, if only by actually being elected to something.
I think most folks critical of her ambitions are dead wrong about Caroline Kennedy, and probably know very little about her and imply from their lack of knowledge that she is unqualified. She graduated from Harvard Law School, that is not something to sniff at folks. Privilege can get you in the door, but it doesn't qualify you to graduate and it doesn't sit for the bar exam for you!

She has written & published excellent books that are deep and well considered. She raised $70 million for schools. I am thinking that she is being treated as if she is an empty headed heiress when she has in fact lived a good and serious life and has been involved in all manner of public service. There is more than one way to take a journey. If someone such as she who has lost both a father to an uncle to an assassin, takes it upon themselves to stand for an appointment knowing what it takes to campaign to keep that seat, then I would think it would be better to look at her political positions and policies rather than to judge here merely on an accident of birth. What are her accomplishments? Judge her based upon those qualifications. The fact of being born into privilege doesn't mean she isn't a fine candidate. Nor does the experience of lower office necessarily mean that you will be any good at a higher level. Judge her on what she has actually done and on who she actually happens to be.
Walker:
You are not a feminist, you are a snob. The worst kind. Bashing a woman who is smart, savvy, and yes, well educated and connected. Could you be just a little envious? Kennedy has worked her butt off, published and raised money for the less advantaged in the NY public school system. In your world Jefferson should not have been elected because he had money, was well connected, and had a name. Beware the Green Monster. If it wasn't for Ted Kennedy you and millions would not have Medicare or Medicaid, yet he was elected because of his name and is now considered the "Lion of the
Senate." I worked in the Senate under Senator Pell, anothe connected and well educated man who gave us the Pell Grant so that all may attend College. I worked and saw Senator Kennedy behind closed doors in Executive Sessions. He did, and has worked harder than many in the Senate. You don't have to like the Kennedys, many don't, but I surely note a tone of Snobbery and a lack of understanding for the career of Caroline Kennedy. I'm Pissed at your post.
@ Susanne Freeborn: I have looked into the work that Caroline Kennedy has accomplished. Yes, she has done wonderful work in education and the arts in New York. I also know she is quite serious about public service (in the broadest sense) and cares deeply about the pressing issues we (and New Yorkers) face.

However, so are Reps. Caroline Maloney and Nita Lowey. So is Andrew Cuomo (who is part of his own family dynasty). Yet, the media have given scant news coverage to these extremely qualified, experienced, talented, smart people and their expression of interest in this Senate seat. Why do you suppose that is? If Caroline Kennedy's last name was Maloney or Lowey, or even Cuomo, much less far more pedestrian names like Brown or Smith, would she be given wall-to-wall news coverage? Would she be, essentially, given preference for the seat? Doubtful. I daresay she would not be considered at all precisely because she does not have the requisite record of public service accomplishments normally required for such a post.

Yet here we are acting as if she is the best choice because her last name is Kennedy, because her uncle held the seat, because her father and her uncle were assassinated, and (probably) because her uncle Ted wants it and will pull strings.

There are TWO more qualified and capable women and AT LEAST one man more qualified for this seat -- by virtue of their record of accomplishments, and their experience and qualifications in the public service arena.

All things being equal, Caroline Kennedy is receiving special treatment because of her name and her history, not because of her experience or her credentials or her resume.

I know there are people who aren't troubled by this; people who think it is perfectly fine to step over more qualified individuals; but it sets a very bad precedent and example, particularly for women and our slow struggle up the leadership ladder (we are only 14 percent of Congress).

Sorry, but if this seat should be retained for a woman (as one senator said), then let it be a woman who has the record of accomplishment, experience and credentials to maintain and raise the status of the seat, instead of turning it into a mini-throne to be passed down from one Kennedy to the next.
Does anyone miss the incongruity of saying that, because she has never been elected to office, Caroline Kennedy should not get the Senate seat of Hillary Clinton, who was never elected to office before?

I would not be displeased to see EVERY Senate seat go to a person who had never held elected office. Have the career politicians served us particularly well? I think not.
I'm with Wayne and Snap on this one.

Hillary had no experience...and seems to be doing a fine job.


I am delighted Caroline has finally come out of her shell and enter politics.

None of the reasons Laura has given have come close to being disqualifying. And the fact that other, more qualified people are available really is a non-starter. That is almost always the case. And as Wayne said…I have absolutely no problem with bringing in someone without “experience”…particularly the kind of experience some politicians get on the way up.

One last thought—I can understand Laura preferring someone else. But to actually be “pissed” about the possible selection of Caroline Kennedy really goes beyond the pale.

Give it a rest, Laura. You sound like the liberals already branding Barak Obama a traitor to the cause and a failure—before he even takes the oath of office.

Frankly, your screed has the undercurrent of something else in play!
Laura, you and I are TOTALLY on the same page about why others should be considered for the Senate seat. Elsewhere, on other posts related to this topic, I have expressed my opinion as to why other Democrats who have won elections and worked hard to get where they are should be considered for the Senate seat. For what it is worth, I was born in New York State and, except for five years in my youth, have always lived here, so the New York political scene has been front and center for me, for ages.
I'm with the school of thought that experienced politicians are not good for America. Experienced politicians are comparable to educated convicts. They only benefit themselves.

Bush was a very experienced politician. Illinois Gov., Rod Blago, ditto.

Qualifications for political office are age and residency. Not experience.
In case of any kennedy, I would prefer we get a more visually attractive family in our politics. They have got to be the ugliest family in American goverenment.
NY polls show that the voters are in favor of Caroline Kennedy as Senator. She has the funds to defend the seat. She does have enough experience and certainly the connections needed to be an effective Senator.

In Virginia, we have experience with people running for the Senate who were not elected to any office before or had less experience than their opponents. Oliver North thankfully was defeated. Mark Warner, elected last month as Virginia Senator, first ran against John Warner, without having any experience to speak of. He was rich so he could use his own money to run. He later ran for governor and balanced the budget during a recession. Likewise, Jim Webb was never elected to an office before he won the Senate seat in 2005 although he had previously been Secretary of Navy under Reagan. His former Republican status and anti-war stance appealed to voters. So, I don't believe there are a lot of Democratic officeholders who were insulted by these people getting the nod even though technically, they might be more qualified.

I don't agree with your arguments then. I thought Hillary only had marginal experience when she ran for New York Senate but I was impressed with her campaign then (as I watch the New York stations on TV). She has since proved that the NY voters were wise in selecting her.
This is not a black and white issue, unfortunately, as both Susanne Freeborn and you make strong points. My take:

We need a strong persona to replace Hillary Clinton in the Senate. I prefer that it be a woman. Also, I prefer a "face" like Caroline Kennedy as we need a similar voice to replace Hillary, who will be shifted into another area of governance.

Since I do not know the other two candidates, perhaps it is unfair of me to want Caroline Kennedy, and to some degree this is elitism. The Kennedy's have always contributed to middle and lower class America's needs because of their liberal philosophy in conjunction with their deep pockets. Nothing can be left to chance just now until something major settles out with the way our government "works".

We do not want to lose the seat to a monied Republican in 2010 -- we need someone able to raise money to keep it. I prefer that a person capable of retaining the seat be offered the seat. For me, this trumps all just now.

Also, I know that Caroline Kennedy is well educated and very intelligent. I know that her values, even as a monied elite, are in line with middle class America's needs. Her book on privacy was timely and well-received. I believe she has her finger on the pulse of America and will stand up for the values we believe in -- we need her voice in the Senate.

So, is it unfair to the other women that serve? Yes, to some degree.

Is it sexist? I think not, probably more elitist.

Unfortunately, money rules all just now and is a necessary commodity to retain the seat with the way politics is "done"at this time.

Do you prefer a Cuomo to have the seat? I do not.

I think Caroline Kennedy is our best chance to retain a strong woman in the Senate. I am not a New Yorker, however, so can only comment on what values I would prefer to see represented in the Senate at this point in our history.
While my opinions about this issue are about as strong as my opinions about which kind of salad dressing to have with the arugula and baby greens (ranch or creamy garlic? Hmmm....wait, I'll figure it out), I can't help but think that CK is no MORE or LESS qualified than anybody else.

The only real requirement for holding a U.S. Senate seat is age, IIRC.

Everything else--resumes, pedigrees, law degrees--is gravy.

A kindergarten teacher from Buffalo whom nobody's ever heard of may well be the best person for the seat, for all I know.
thanks. great post.

i wrote up a response that got way too long, so i posted it separately.

i was really struck by Stella's House of Lords comparison a week ago, which as really gnawed at me.
Good point Wayne. I just don't think she is being judged fairly here.
Stella wrote: "Please, Frank, you give it a rest. Hillary and Caroline are women. End of comparison. Put up their resumes and then come back for a discussion. "

No reason for me to do that. I voted for Barak Obama...not because his resume or experience was better than the resume and experience of John Mc Cain...but because of a certain trust I felt for him. I voted for him not because of his resume...but because I got the feeling (right or wrong, we'll see) that he was the better man for the job.

I feel that way about Caroline Kennedy.

Sorry you cannot understand or appreciate that, but that's the way things are with me.
@ Frank:

Stellaa has it right here: the only comparison between Hillary Clinton and Caroline Kennedy is that they are both women.

There are two (or more) women who have worked hard to get where they are as U.S. Representatives in NY State, and who have both expressed interest in the seat being vacated by Hillary Clinton. Yet, Caroline Kennedy steps in and expresses interest and these women are basically dismissed -- as are their qualifications, their experience, and their accomplishments.

This is exactly the kind of thing that has happened to women for generations and has kept them from top positions in government and in industry.

The difference this time is that instead of a well-known, or charming, or younger, or less experienced man swooping in and getting the post, it is another woman doing it -- by virtue of nothing other than her last name.

You're entitled to your views, Frank, but this is the 21st century, not the 19th and it's high time we stopped doing this to talented, accomplished women in any field!
Caroline Kenndy is (very) rich and (very) well connected politically. Looking at the qualifications of other members of the Senate, I'd say that she is (very) qualified for a seat.
All this talk of show me the resume smacks of envy. Caroline is actually overqualified for this job. I fail to see how this is sexism. She has worked tirelessly--without pay--for so many causes, that they alone qualify her for a high seat of office. Caroline Rules!
I've always liked Carolyn Kennedy. I think she is smart, elegant and classy. But I've come to realize that I don't really know anything about her. I know about her family's history and have seen her at various awards ceremonies, etc., but she hasn't led a very public life. What was/is her stance on the important/controversial issues the world faces? I assume that she is in line with her father and uncles, but that's an assumption. It easy for liberals to be magnanimous and decry professional politics in victory, but being able take and throw some tough punches are part and parcel of the job. An election tests a candidate's mettle. Think back to the Obama of the early primary debates. Pretty underwhelming. The fight made him a better candidate and I think it will make him a better President. That being said, I think Caroline will get this seat because she is rich, well-connected and has the Coca-Cola of political brand names. This is reciprocal back-scratching politics as usual, nothing more. But anyone pointing that out is just "a hater' or "envious", right? Riiiiiight....
Why does the seat have to be filled with a women? Just because Hillary was a women does not mean the seat has to be filled with a women. Any qualified person would do. Kennedy may be a great senator, who knows. I am not a big fan of the career politician and do not see how political dynasties have helped this country either.

The fact she is a well established in the political scene makes me leery of her. The fact she went to Harvard does nothing for me. Bush graduated from Yale and Harvard, and that did not work out so well. She does charity work, great the idle rich need to do something.

I would rather see someone with business and administration experience. People in business (not the banking industry) know that money does not grow on trees and budgets have to be managed. Something that Washington has long forgotten.
What are the qualifications and experience of existing US senators? Why does not anyone want to answer that question? What qualifications are you talking about?

The difference between Caroline Kennedy and other serving senators is what makes her qualified. Do not you want someone clean in the senate, for a change?

And please, do not use Hillary Clinton in your argument. You do not know anyone who is as qualified as Hillary Clinton.
@Thoth

I think where an appointment to a legislative body is going to be made NEVER having held elected office should be a serious handicap for any potential appointee. Having won an election is something I suspect all of the current senators have on Caroline Kennedy. The people have never held a referendum on her fitness to hold office. I also think the appointment of a 50+ year old person who until this point has shown no interest in serving in public office is inappropriate. There is a staggering sense of entitlement at work here. It was what initially turned me off Bush (I actually used to be sympathetic re: the malapropisms), it was what turned me off Hillary Clinton and it is what is turning me off of this appointment. Power in this nation should not be sceptre that can be passed down by bloodline. I think it is un-American. I think if she wants to be a senator she should run a campaign. Her name will probably win it for her, but at least then the people will have decided.
While I applaud Ms. Maloney on drafting the bill to protect consumers from ratejacking by credit card companies, I think Caroline Kennedy, her pedigree notwithstanding, is a qualified candidate. And isn't the same type of opposition that Hillary Clinton faced at some point in her political career? In this day of oceanic change, competence may trump experience.
Susanne Freeborn: I think most folks critical of her ambitions are dead wrong about Caroline Kennedy, and probably know very little about her and imply from their lack of knowledge that she is unqualified. She graduated from Harvard Law School, that is not something to sniff at folks.

I don't want to quibble, because her academic qualifications are indeed commendable. But she did not graduate from Harvard Law School.

On the point of well Hillary was never elected before she was a Senator either, I think some comments seem to miss the point. It's not that you should have held elected office for the experience as such, is that you should actually be in office of the people, for the people, and by the people. Appointed senators are a bad thing, but if circumstances dictate that the must be appointed, then somebody who has already been elected by the people is a closer simulation of democracy than cherry-picking an heir-apparent from a political dynasty.

Again, just my thoughts. I am not a New Yorker either.
Laura you make a great logical argument especially where it may demoralize really qualified women from considering public office but I think you're ignoring the elephant in the room...influence.

Clinton had no experience but a war chest of influence which gave her instant credibility and the platform to propagate her personal/political agenda.

New York is a tough town whether you're playing baseball or politics and you had better come prepared to deliver. That said, Caroline has what it takes to get things done, I think she knows it and will use it. But I don't think for a minute she feels entitled or deserving of the seat. Given the grace with which she carries herself it seems as though she should given the benefit of the doubt.

Seriously...if you want to get downright honest here, 48% of the country supported the most unqualified, uneducated and undignified woman in America for Vice President. If there was ever a woman that set women back 50 years it was Sarah Palin.

At the end of the day politics are theatre.
Rated and added to diggit
Jason Korke is right, she graduated from Columbia Law School. But, having gone to law school myself, I know they have similar curricula and just about any law school is difficult, the NY Bar is one of the most difficult. I wonder why Jason didn't mention where she did go to school.

I posted this on Dave Cullen's blog, but I think it serves just as well here:

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.
If it wasn't for Ted Kennedy you and millions would not have Medicare or Medicaid, yet he was elected because of his name and is now considered the "Lion of the
Senate." I worked in the Senate under Senator Pell, anothe connected and well educated man who gave us the Pell Grant so that all may attend College. I worked and saw Senator Kennedy behind closed doors in Executive Sessions. He did, and has worked harder than many in the Senate.

I'm convinced, Snap. I think either Ted Kennedy or Pell should be appointed to fill Hill's seat.

Thanks, Jason, for your thoughtful post. In addition to getting some facts straight--always a good idea--you made the very pertinent point that the democratic process would be better served by appointing someone who has some public mandate in the background. If CK is as impressive as many say she is, she should get the seat by election, not appointment.

Good post, Laura, and for the record, I don't impugn your motives and don't think others should. Sort of tacky.
Hello, hello, anyone...

The only qualification needed at this point is integrity. Does this mean anything to anyone? Why does not anyone mention the word corruption? You cannot talk about the US Senate without mentioning the word "corruption".

I cannot believe this. Is this a conspiracy? Have you all made a pact not to mention the word corruption?

C.K. is the least likely senator to become corrupt, period. This is why she is the most qualified. moreover, she is the only one with "class." I know, I know, this is another word most of you hate so much.

Jesus Christ, have mercy.

And please, please, name one woman candidate you know who can fill in Hillary's shoes. Do not use Hillary, you make a false argument.
You start by saying: "First, let me say that I have nothing but respect for Caroline Kennedy. I believe she is smart, capable and talented. She would be a great advocate for children, women, education, and health care. She would be a terrific elected official."

Yeah, we don't want anyone like that in the United States Senate. I concede the idea of running for office, but based on everything you said about her in the first paragraph, he IS qualified and there's nothing wrong with her taking the appointment. She'd have to run when the seat is up for election again and the people of New York would then be well-qualified to make that determination. We don't need a professional politician in that seat - we need a conscience. And for those who think this is not a national issue, remember that the votes of those Senators effect people across the land, so this IS a national issue.
@ MWaterhouse & Thoth:

Carolyn Maloney would make a fine replacement for Hillary Clinton. But I suppose that's too much, since she's actually held office as a representative and accomplished something for the residents of New York.

Caroline Kennedy has the one-up because her last name is Kennedy, period. She hasn't any political experience and she has not served the people of New York. Of course, I'm really old fashioned. I happen to believe that political experience isn't a negative 90% of the time. And I believe in the idea that qualifications and experience actually matter.

Frankly, if Caroline Kennedy's last name was anything else, she would be a non-starter for this appointment. You know this, but can't or don't want to admit it.

As far as a competent, experienced, qualified replacement for Hillary Clinton -- Carolyn Maloney would make a fine senator. But by your standards, she doesn't count because she has political experience and is a professional politician. So much for anything she's accomplished for residents of New York...