Thoughts on Caroline
For the most part the controversy surrounding Caroline Kennedy’s intention to pursue a senate seat is entirely understandable; “less is more” are not words one often associates with the democratic process here in the US. I myself — a fan of that mob rule form of government known as the parliamentary system — am disquieted at the prospect of the executive making appointments to the national legislature. So, if you’re opposed to the method whereby vacant offices are sometimes appointed rather than filled by special election, then more power to you — and good luck — you’re free to lobby your fellow citizens to get the law changed. There is something decidedly unfair about being chosen by a governor — rather than directly by the voters — for a seat in the United States Senate
But as long as NY’s constitution requires that a vacancy be filled short-term in this manner, then anybody who is appointed is going to be getting an “unfair” (by this line of reasoning) advantage. Again, I understand the perception of unfairness surrounding the appointment process as such as opposed to holding a special election. But the vitriol from the left focusing specifically on senatorial aspirant Caroline Kennedy qua Caroline Kennedy is a bit much.
Now, if your point is that Kennedy’s name is a really unfair advantage (ie., she’s some type of royalty) then what you’re really arguing is that someone should be passed over because of something one has no control over. And this is what seems fundamentally unfair to me, because at the end of the day, the woman has no more power over the circumstances of her birth than any other human being. Barring her from office because of her high birth seems fundamentally unfair and illiberal.
One can legitimately make the argument, of course, that Kennedy is unqualified, or that she’s not the best qualified candidate – and again, fair enough. But I haven’t read much in the way of substantive arguments in this regard. I’d like to know why a long career serving the greater good in the arts, say, or in education reform, is automatically an inferior background for the senate than a long career as an electeed public official. It seems to me both backgrounds have their merits, and it is not at all obvious to me which is superior.