Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

January 22, 2009

CAROLINE KENNEDY WITHDRAWS FROM CONSIDERATION.... Caroline Kennedy's drive to replace Hillary Clinton in the Senate did not go smoothly. Her media interviews did not go well, her support from in-state political leaders was shaky, and Kennedy herself struggled at times to explain why she wanted the seat and what she'd do with it.

Nevertheless, Kennedy was considered a leading candidate, if not the leading candidate, for the gig. It came as something of a surprise, then, after some overlapping and contradictory reports, that Caroline Kennedy withdrew her name from consideration last night.

Ms. Kennedy on Wednesday called Gov. David A. Paterson, who will choose a successor to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, to inform him that she was no longer interested.

"I informed Governor Paterson today that for personal reasons I am withdrawing my name from consideration for the United States Senate," Ms. Kennedy said in a statement released by her public relations firm.

Ms. Kennedy did not elaborate, but a person who spoke to her suggested that her concerns about the health of her uncle, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who suffers from brain cancer and was hospitalized after a seizure on Tuesday, contributed to her decision.

I won't presume to know Caroline Kennedy's personal motivations, but health concerns about Ted Kennedy's health strikes me as an odd explanation for withdrawal. The senator was diagnosed with brain cancer months ago, and she nevertheless pursued New York's seat. It seems more likely that she came to believe Paterson would pick someone else, and withdrew as a face-saving measure. That, or she came to realize this may not be the best idea after all.

Reports earlier this week indicated that Paterson would announce his selection on Friday or Saturday, and whether Kennedy's decision changes that equation is unclear.

With Kennedy no longer interested, the leading contenders for the position appear to be state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, Reps. Kirsten Gillibrand and Carolyn Maloney, and United Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten, and Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi.

Steve Benen 8:35 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (24)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

Lots of contradictory reports on this today, but what I guess it boils down to is that Caroline has finally realized that being a Senator is a lot of work - something she has rarely had to deal with.

Posted by: Virginia on January 22, 2009 at 8:38 AM | PERMALINK

It seems more likely that she came to believe Paterson would pick someone else

Actually, I think it's more likely she decided she didn't want to be a drama magnet like Hillary. She fits better in a Michelle Obama category of passionate scholars than a Pres. Obama category who excels in a spotlight.

Posted by: Danp on January 22, 2009 at 8:46 AM | PERMALINK

So after this very mediocre, very private person who has shown no facility for much of anything, seeks a very public position for 2 months, she removes her name from contention citing "private" concerns. Thanks for wasting our time. Buh-bye.

Posted by: walt on January 22, 2009 at 8:48 AM | PERMALINK

@walt

In this instance, the word mediocre is an accolade, I think.

Posted by: SteinL on January 22, 2009 at 8:53 AM | PERMALINK

This has generated over 13,000 postings over at HuffPo - WTF???

When Cuomo is named, there will be how many?

Posted by: berttheclock on January 22, 2009 at 9:01 AM | PERMALINK

When Cuomo is named, there will be how many?

Andrea Mitchell seems to feel quite certain, Paterson will name Kirsten Gillibrand, a rather progressive congresswoman from a district that stretches from the Adirondacks to just above NYC. Here's hoping.

Posted by: Danp on January 22, 2009 at 9:10 AM | PERMALINK

Caroline Kennedy proved pain inducingly dense whenever she opened her mouth to opine on anything.
Would it be too much to ask of her accolytes that they provide her with just a touch of honesty in their feedback?

Posted by: SteinL on January 22, 2009 at 9:16 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, Danp, better choice.

Posted by: berttheclock on January 22, 2009 at 9:21 AM | PERMALINK

Kennedy should not have made herself available for the position in the first place, given her previous refrain from politics. That said, I doubt she is a mediocre woman nor did she "waste anyone's time" (unless your a melodrama queen who obsesses over these things). Besides, had she actually been made Senator, I'm sure as hell sure she'd have done better than dumber-than-a-wheelbarrow-full-of-bricks Palin. Thank god Ted Stevens lost in Alaska!

Posted by: palinoscopy on January 22, 2009 at 9:22 AM | PERMALINK

Unfortunately, St Sarah will probably defeat Murkowski in 2010 for the Senate.

However, have not Jim Bunning and James Inhofe put to rest the canard that one must have intelligence to become a US Senator?

Posted by: paulfromportland on January 22, 2009 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

I personally feel like thanking Teddy for providing a somewhat plausible, certainly humanizing excuse for Ms. Kennedy to withdraw.

First - I'm fed up with "legacies" after the Bush Experience.

Second - a leap from disinterested homebody to Senator seems like a little too much. I want to see some qualifications first.

Third - this'll really get the news media flailing. They've been taking Ms. Kennedy's possible appointment WAY too seriously. At the Inauguration yesterday, that's all they wanted to talk about, even after Gov Paterson said he had 10-11 candidates that he was considering. Now, they've got to throw out ALL their pre-written columns and pre-filmed spots. (heh, heh, heh)

Back to work, you ink-soaked wretches!

Posted by: Zandru on January 22, 2009 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

"...given her previous refrain from politics."
~Posted by: palinoscopy on January 22, 2009 at 9:22 AM


Interesting. "Refrain" must be one of the few English verbs without a noun form other than "refraining."

Posted by: in vino veritas on January 22, 2009 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

Kennedy was considered a leading candidate, if not the leading candidate, for the gig.

It seems more likely that she came to believe Paterson would pick someone else

How do those two sentences end up in the same post?

Posted by: Jinchi on January 22, 2009 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

While this whole incident has reflected badly on Caroline Kennedy (and I am glad she will not be a Senator), it shold be noted that this has been handled exceptionally poorly by Governor Paterson, himself the heir of a political dynasty. He has dithered for far too long and seemed far to open and accomodating to Kennedy's sole constituency: Mayor Bloomberg, his political acolytes, and other New York super elites. When coupled with the neo-Hooverite, soak the middle class budget he recently proposed (one that would probably warm the hearts of the Congressional Rethug caucuses), I bet that I am not the only one who wishes Elliot Spitzer had a little more David Vitter-or maybe Bill Clinton--in him.

FWIW, the appointment I'd like to see is the solidly liberal Jerrold Nadler of Nanhattan, who expressed interest last month. Apparently, his nameis not in the mix

Posted by: Marlowe on January 22, 2009 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

So much for her commitment to "public service" - it's just as well that a seat that should be hard-earned wasn't just handed to her. Now Paterson can appoint someone who has actually earned it.

And I still think Elliot Spitzer should be the inspired choice.

Posted by: Ethel-To-Tilly on January 22, 2009 at 10:14 AM | PERMALINK

My personal guess as to why she removed herself from consideration is that she discovered, during the inauguration and ensuing festivities, that the other Senators were not exactly thrilled at the prospect of her joining them. If she received a cool reception from them, she is likely to have realized that she would be swimming upstream against public sentiment, against the press, AND against the Senate (with the exception of her uncle). No one needs that kind of grief.

Posted by: DrGail on January 22, 2009 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

"Refrain" must be one of the few English verbs without a noun form other than "refraining."

May I suggest: "Refraint."

Posted by: jeebus on January 22, 2009 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

Any chance she saw that Teddy may not be in the Senate much longer, and is looking to take over his seat instead?

(I hope I'm wrong about Sen. Kennedy, but his health scare the other day suggests that he may need to step down at some point in the near future.)

Posted by: TG Chicago on January 22, 2009 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

Andrea Mitchell seems to feel quite certain, Paterson will name Kirsten Gillibrand, a rather progressive congresswoman - me

On further review, Wikipedia says she's a Blue Dog.

Posted by: Danp on January 22, 2009 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

"The senator was diagnosed with brain cancer months ago, and she nevertheless pursued New York's seat"

It's possible that she pursued the seat when it looked like Ted would be healthy for a while. But then Ted's health went downhill quickly, and she had to reassess her situation. Cancer is hard to predict, so maybe the health explanation is real. I can offer a recent personal example. On Monday night, my roommate died from leukemia. Three weeks ago, he looked look he'd last nine months. With cancer, every day is a new day. You never know what will happen next.

Posted by: fostert on January 22, 2009 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

The truth is that all this drama was meant as a delay tactic until I had the time to move to New York and make myself available for the position. But alas, I found out last night that outside of Texas there is this unpleasant thing called "winter" and that New York is one of those places that has it. So it looks like no Senate seat for moi.

I'll just have to wait until Kay Bailey vacates her slot in 2010 and run for her's the old fashioned way.

Posted by: Doctor Biobrain on January 22, 2009 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

Don't let the national media fool you -- she was not the favorite for the job, not by any means, at least not in recent weeks. Polls among New York state residents showed Andrew Cuomo, the attorney general, a clear favorite; yeah, he's got family bloodlines, too, but at least he's got genuine political experience.

It's just as well. A Sen. Caroline Kennedy would have been great for national Democratic fundraising (one reason Harry Reid and others wanted her in the seat), but an out-and-out disaster as a lawmaker -- someone who didn't know the state (until this "run," she admitted she had never been to Syracuse in her life, a slap in the face to the struggling upstate).

Had Paterson chosen Kennedy, he would have been writing his own political obituary for 2010. Her bowing out also enables her to avoid a public rejection, which of course is beneath any Kennedy.

Posted by: Vincent on January 22, 2009 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

My guess is she was always ambivalent-- and that the delay, the inauguration and negative media tipped the scales enough for her to bow out.

Her own uncertainty showed itself in many ways--most notably in her lack-luster and confused self-promotion--first avoiding the media, than being very cryptic with answers.

I am only speaking from my personal gut, but I was so underwhelmed with it all. I understand she is shy, but wow--even her gait is unsteady--the way she rocks back and forth so casually, like she's tired or reluctant to get to her destination. And there is no umph behind her words. She seems tired, even depressed. And that permanent smirk she adorns--it's a bit annoying, frankly. Though many self-conscious folks hold themselves this way. Maybe she truly is much shyer than I realized.

Look at how ambivalent she apparently was even to the end--apparently she was preparing a statement re-asserting her interest late last night, then finally just said "No thanks".

Even with all this, I was kinda gunning for her. I wanted a friend of Obama there in the Senate. I wanted a female who seemed bright enough for the job.

But maybe it's all for the best. Maybe it really was not her calling after all, and she finally realized the same.

Posted by: Caroline Kennedy always seemed ambivalent on January 22, 2009 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

Caroline Kennedy always seemed ambivalent

I've been quite vociferous in this and other forums arguing against Kennedy in favor of someone who actually has had a successful political career and represented NYS residents in elected office - and you've articulated exactly where my concern is. it's too high and too important a position to be just handed to someone who hasn't really shown that they deserve it.

Posted by: Ethel-to-Tilly on January 22, 2009 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly