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A good argument, but selective in its application
Posted by: McQ on Sunday, December 07, 2008

Jane Hamsher at Firedoglake isn't at all happy about the possibility of Caroline Kennedy being named to Hillary Clinton's NY Senate seat:
Her leadership could have been really helpful when the rest of us were trying to keep the progressive lights on and getting the stuffing beaten out of us by a very well-financed right wing for the past eight years. But when things were tough, she was nowhere to be found.

Now that the Democrats are in power, she'd like to come in at the top. We have absolutely no idea if she's qualified, or whether she can take the heat of being a Kennedy in public life. She's certainly shown no appetite for it in the past. She'll have a target on her back and if she can't take it, if she crumbles, she will become a rallying point that the right will easily organize around.
Hamsher even surprises me by questioning whether she's qualified. But she's most put off by the seeming sense of "entitlement" that the Kennedy pick would seem to bring. Caroline Kennedy has never run for office or even indicated an interest in office, but now suddenly, when she can waltz into office without having to pay the price, she's interested.

However, in a post I mostly agree with, I couldn't help but find these sentences to be a bit ironic as a criticism of Kennedy:
The new Senate [country] is going to face incredible challenges in the upcoming session, and we're lucky this year that it will be infused with some much-needed new blood. It's not a place for anyone to be wearing political training wheels.
The [] and emphasis are mine. You get the point.

Hasher ends with this:
In the mean time, I'm glad she had fun being part of a winning campaign in a year that saw a rather rosy playing field for Democrats. But simply being well-known and a member of the "American nobility" in a celebrity-driven society shouldn't be enough to axiomatically entitle her to be a member of the US Senate.
One of the interesting things about our democratic process is if you meet minimum requirements, whether qualified or not, and whether you have the experience for the job or not, you have the opportunity to seek and win office. While I generally feel Hamsher has it right in her criticism of a Kennedy pick, I also find her criticsism to be very selective in its application.
 
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Two words for this sudden development. Ted Kennedy.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
So, Hillary Clinton went into the role, fully paper trained.
Just ask her.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
The down side of Caroline Kennedy is that she is well a Kennedy. The up side is that she is not a male. The Kennedy male is among the lowest form of life on earth.

I suspect that Senator Chuckie has been making frantic calls to Governor Patterson not to name any Kennedy. Chuckie wants all the Senate limelight to himself and does not want any junior senator with more star power than him.

 
Written By: DavidL
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Her leadership could have been really helpful when the rest of us were trying to keep the progressive lights on and getting the stuffing beaten out of us by a very well-financed right wing for the past eight years. But when things were tough, she was nowhere to be found.
I fail to be impressed by the Kennedys but, honestly, I’d expect that Caroline would be as qualified as anyone to be a Senator. I can’t imagine that she’s been doing *nothing* her whole life. And she undoubtedly knows all the important people already. It’s a appointment to a vacated seat and those are often given to widows and relatives and others who only serve those couple of years until someone else is elected.

I wanted to quote the bit above, though, because this is pretty much why feminists hate Sarah Palin. (That and breeding as if it doesn’t destroy a woman’s self-actualization to have kids.) The data point of the criticism being directed at a liberal Democrat helps to clarify the issue quite a bit. It seems that feminists feel like the ants, toiling away, and view anyone not as interested and dedicated to the toil as grasshoppers who expect the benefits of the ants labor.

If that were so, they might have a point.

But who made them boss of what needs to be done?

It’s a self-appointment without merit, frankly. As I said, I’m not at all impressed with Kennedys, but I’m certain that although Caroline has not run for public office that she has been engaged in this life. How can she not have been? And Sarah Palin, like so many conservative women, has been doing what needs to be done, every day. Because both of them made choices different from political activism pushing a liberal-feminist agenda in the way some people think it *ought* to be pushed... that means they weren’t doing anything.

Hamsher crying, waaaa waaaaa, where were you when we needed you! is just sour beans at not being acknowledged as Jello-Sheriff.
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
While I generally feel Hamsher has it right in her criticism of a Kennedy pick, I also find her criticsism to be very selective in its application.

I assume you’re referring to Sarah Palin here. But in all fairness, McQ, even Palin had more qualifying experience for the presidency than Caroline Kennedy has for the Senate. Small-town mayor and governor of Alaska for two years beats never having held public office at all.
 
Written By: Kathy
URL: http://libertystreet.wordpress.com
Sarah Palin has more experience where it counts than Barack Obama too, Kathy. So if training wheels are ok for him in the most powerful office in the world, why not Kennedy as 1 of 100?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
What about the crony that is replacing Biden? That is a sorry, sorry pick, long-term "aid" getting appointed into office. It’s pathetic. Yeah, he knows all the other aids and he can get things done, but it’s like appointing the go-fer to be CEO. And I didn’t hear any outcry over it.

 
Written By: Director Mitch
URL: http://www.windowmanager.blogspot.com
Have you no respect for tradition? There has been at least one Kennedy in office somewhere for over 50 years. Congress without a Kennedy would be like a day without sunshine.

Just be grateful the family isn’t larger.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Sarah Palin has more experience where it counts than Barack Obama too, Kathy. So if training wheels are ok for him in the most powerful office in the world, why not Kennedy as 1 of 100?

In other words, your application of the experience standard is selective, too.

Just out of curiosity, what does the mysterious "where it counts" refer to?
 
Written By: Kathy
URL: http://libertystreet.wordpress.com
You were apparently too classy and have passed on the obvious. I suffer no such restraint:

A Kennedy "being thrown into the deep end of the political pool"?

A Kennedy "being taught the sink-or-swim of partisan politics"?

The Kennedy family "having to keep coming up for (political) air"?

Caroline Kennedy’s name "surfacing as a potential Senator"?

The headlines practially write themselves.
 
Written By: Blackwing1
URL: http://
In other words, your application of the experience standard is selective, too.
Nope - I’ve always favored those who have executive experience over those who have legislative experience when the job they’re seeking requires the former.
Just out of curiosity, what does the mysterious "where it counts" refer to?
Executive experience, of course - nothing mysterious about it at all.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
I’ve always favored those who have executive experience over those who have legislative experience when the job they’re seeking requires the former.

And I tend to favor those who have a broad range of administrative, national and foreign policy, and legislative experience. It’s certainly fair to say that Barack Obama lacks significant national and foreign policy experience — he IS a relative newcomer to the national political scene. He certainly, however, has more national political and foreign policy experience starting out as president than the current but not for much longer occupant of the White House had when he first ran for national office — none. Which is exactly the same amount of experience that Sarah Palin has on national domestic and foreign policy issues — none.

Caroline Kennedy has no experience in either local or national political office at all, and so Palin and Obama both trump her in that sense. But to say Obama is comparable to Kennedy in terms of qualifications for high national political office, while simultaneously saying Sarah Palin is not at all comparable to Kennedy in terms of her qualifications for high national office (in other words, claiming that Palin is far more qualified for national public office than Kennedy, but Obama is just as unqualified for public office as Kennedy) is patently absurd.
 
Written By: Kathy
URL: http://libertystreet.wordpress.com
And I tend to favor those who have a broad range of administrative, national and foreign policy, and legislative experience.
Then obviously you didn’t vote for Barack Obama, because he has none of the above.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Then obviously you didn’t vote for Barack Obama, because he has none of the above.

Obama has no experience working on national or foreign policy issues? Obama has no legislative experience?

Okay, McQ.
 
Written By: Kathy
URL: http://libertystreet.wordpress.com
Obama has no experience working on national or foreign policy issues? Obama has no legislative experience?
I believe the qualifier you used was "broad range". He served - actually did his job on a national level as a US Senator - for all of 147 days. That qualifies no one as having a "broad range" of experience in anything, much less national issues and foreign policy issues (btw, most people don’t consider talking about national and foreign policy issues as "experience" in either).

John Edwards, who was woefully unqualified in both areas, had more time in the Senate than he did.

So as you have defined your own criteria it is clear to everyone but you, apparently, that Obama didn’t fit them.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
I believe the qualifier you used was "broad range".

Well, I did agree that Obama does not have a lot of national and foreign policy experience. I don’t think that means he has none.

He served - actually did his job on a national level as a US Senator - for all of 147 days.

And how many days did Sarah Palin actually do her job on a state level as governor of Alaska?

John Edwards, who was woefully unqualified in both areas, had more time in the Senate than he did.

That is true. And it’s also true that Obama and Edwards each have more national experience than George W. Bush had in 2000. He had none.

So as you have defined your own criteria it is clear to everyone but you, apparently, that Obama didn’t fit them.

He fit them a whole lot better than Sarah Palin did, though! And those were the choices. Obama also had, and has, outstanding personal qualities and a clear vision of change plus the smarts and the confidence and the pragmatic qualities needed to implement at least part of that vision. When you look back at the context of my statement about preferring a broad range of administrative AND legislative AND policy experience on a national and international level, you will see that I was responding specifically to your suggestion that Sarah Palin’s executive experience (such as it is) outweighed her total lack of any other kind of experience needed in a president. I disagreed, and disagree, with the outsize importance you assign to Palin’s executive experience (which again isn’t even all that impressive on its own terms) when contrasted with her total lack of foreign policy and national policy experience, knowledge, or even interest.

But this does not mean that there are no considerations beyond the experience on the resume when having to select one candidate between — alas! — only two imperfect choices.

If years in the U.S. Senate and foreign policy experience were my ONLY consideration, I might have voted for John McCain. But obviously I have other concerns. I disagree with McCain profoundly on every single domestic and international issue of any significance at all. And there were very serious personality/temperament problems that, in my view, would have made McCain absolutely disastrous as president. I could not possibly have voted for him.

Having said that,even though *I* would never have voted for McCain, I can "get" why, for someone who places the highest priority on extensive legislative and policy experience both nationally and internationally, even if they don’t feel totally comfortable with McCain on the issues, McCain would have been their choice rather than Obama. I get that.

What I don’t get is how any person who feels strongly about the experience issue could argue that Sarah Palin is more qualified to be president than Barack Obama. I can grant the fairness of an argument that McCain is more qualified to be president than Obama because he has more experience(although I don’t agree with that view, for the reasons I’ve already stated), but I cannot fathom the logic of an argument that Sarah Palin was more qualified to be president than Obama because *she* has more experience. I truly don’t understand how anyone can argue that Sarah Palin is more qualified to be president on the experience issue than Obama is. And that’s not even taking personal qualities and the issues into account.

That is all I’m arguing. If you want to tell me that McCain is more qualified to be president than Obama — fine: I disagree, but it’s a reasonable position to debate. If you want to tell me that Sarah Palin is more qualified to be president than Obama is, then I am just mystified.

 
Written By: Kathy
URL: http://libertystreet.wordpress.com
He fit them a whole lot better than Sarah Palin did, though!
Sarah Palin wasn’t running for President. Regardless she had him completely outclassed in the administrative and executive experience field.

You do know the presidency is an executive job, right?

So obviously and despite your verbal avalanche apparerently designed to obscure a pretty basic fact, why not just admit you voted for Barack Obama because he had a "D" by his name and nothing more?

It certainly had nothing to do with qualifications - that’s as plain as the nose on your face. On pure qualifications, he was the least qualified in the field.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Sarah Palin wasn’t running for President.

Yes, she was, Bruce. I actually thought you weren’t going to make that argument, because it’s so obviously untrue.

You do know the presidency is an executive job, right?

You mean, like the United States is a corporation and the president is the CEO?

... why not just admit you voted for Barack Obama because he had a "D" by his name and nothing more?

Because, obviously, I don’t agree with your notion that the president of the United States is nothing more than a really, really big-time CEO. Because, obviously, I don’t agree that Barack Obama does not have executive skills. Because, obviously, Obama does have, not just executive skills (which he has proved even before he’s officially president), but also a deep understanding of and respect for the U.S. Constitution, which the current president utterly lacks. Because, obviously, Obama believes in the core American values that the current president has spent the last eight years stomping on, and he shares my belief that how we conduct ourselves in the world and at home matters both morally and pragmatically. Because, obviously, I don’t want a banker or a stockbroker or an oil company executive to be my president. I believe the presidency is more than that, and I have higher standards — much higher standards — for what a president should be, than that.

Demanding that I "admit" I voted for Obama because he’s a Democrat is silly. There’s a reason why I vote for the Democratic candidate, even when, as in most cases, the candidate falls far short of what I would like to see. The alternative is always much worse.

That said, in this election, I voted for the Democratic candidate not because the alternative was much worse, but because the Democratic candidate this time is the candidate I’ve been longing to see for my entire adult life. For the first time in my voting life (which is a long time), I did not have to vote with one hand while holding my nose with the other.


 
Written By: Kathy
URL: http://libertystreet.wordpress.com
Yes, she was, Bruce. I actually thought you weren’t going to make that argument, because it’s so obviously untrue.
Yeah ... that’s why she was called the "VICE presidential candidate". Got it Kathy - thanks for clearing that up.
You mean, like the United States is a corporation and the president is the CEO?
So you don’t know what an executive job is?

Wow.

And you voted.

Uh, thanks for stopping by Kathy - always good to hear from you.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Okay, see ya next time, McQ. :-)
 
Written By: Kathy
URL: http://libertystreet.wordpress.com
Kennedy has plenty of relevant experience, even if it’s not elected office. She was head of the Office of Strategic Partnerships for the New York City Department of Education. She raised $65 million in that capacity, which gives her one key element elected officials need that mere lawyers might not have. She has several roles closely tied to politics, including with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the Commission on Presidential Debates, and the Harvard Institute of Politics. She’s certainly no Washington insider, but isn’t that a good thing? I’d be no fan of her politics (or of any likely Paterson nominee), but it’s crazy to say she’s unqualified or that she needs to have held an elected office to do an adequate job performing the duties of a senator.

Now it’s a separate question whether she’d be the best pick among the various options, but there’s no reason Paterson shouldn’t give her serious consideration.
 
Written By: Jeremy Pierce
URL: http://parableman.net

 
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