Senator Kennedy: What Do We Know And When Will We Know It?

My friend Steve Clemons has written a great piece that well describes my misgivings as I watch the Caroline Kennedy train gathering steam.

It’s not that she is not the right person to take the open Senate seat of Hillary Rodham Clinton — it’s that we don’t know yet, and we have not had much of a chance to find out. What’s more, Kennedy only has to convince one person — governor David A. Paterson of New York, himself in office (in part) due to an unforeseen circumstance — that she’s the best pick.

Caroline Kennedy — when she shows she has thick-skin, can take tough-minded criticism for the mistakes she no doubt will make, and when she articulates coherent policy views on serious challenges facing the country — may make in fact make a great Senator from New York. I hope that she does and that she grows into the role. . . .

There are many questions in store for Kennedy as she pursues this Senate seat, and she needs to show a readiness to be grilled.

While the Kennedy clan is clearly one of America’s strongest and most enduring political family dynasties, the Kennedys that mattered were always the ones who stunned the public with their brilliance and tenacity.

Each of the most famous Kennedys — their audience would feel — could have been a successful political heavyweight even without the Kennedy name.

That will be the test for Caroline Kennedy. Can she show that she can be one of the best crafters of policy and one of the strongest animators of activism in ways that show that she should have always been in the Senate on her own merits — and not just because she got her resume read because of her last name?

Read it here.

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