Now that friends of Caroline Kennedy and the office of New York Governor David Patterson seem to be in open warfare, it's worth looking back at this skirmish on the Hudson and asking what went wrong and who's at fault.
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First, I think Teddy Kennedy -- and everyone wishes him the best -- seems to have been way too encouraging about getting another Kennedy in the Senate. Poor health or not, should he not have seen that this was not the right niece for the job?
Second, Caroline Schlossberg herself should have asked herself whether this was really the right job for her. Can someone so preternatually press averse plunge into electoral politics in the toughest of arenas? A reporter from a New York paper and I joked, shortly after her name was floated, about the kinds of questions the Gotham press corps would have no trouble shouting: "Do you want to reopen the Warren Commission?"
Maureen Dowd had a point that Caroline was no worse qualified than the other 99 chuckleheads. But while I believe in citizen legislators as much as the next David McCullough fan, she lacked the self awareness to know that this wasn't the right fit. Not all public service is created equal and a senator calls for qualities -- knowledge of one's state, an appetite for, or at least not an aversion to, the spotlight, etc.
Caroline would have been an excellent ambassador to the Court of St. James in London -- nice symmetry with her grandfather who held the post and a good face to Europe. Maybe a good head of an agency. There were any number of jobs she could have held and engaged in public service short of being a United States Senator.