Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Caroline Kennedy's Coronation Not Yet Assured

Caroline Kennedy has asked New York Governor David Patterson to appoint her as senator, filling the seat of incoming Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Kennedy has never held an elected political position before, and it's clear that her name, wealth and connections are essential to her aspirations. Kennedy is not helping fight charges of elitism by declining to make a financial disclosure:

...Ms. Kennedy, who has asked Gov. David A. Paterson to appoint her to succeed Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton...is declining to provide a variety of basic data, including companies she has a stake in and whether she has ever been charged with a crime.

...“If this were an open primary, and all the people seeking that position had to run, she’d have to make all those disclosures, so why not in the appointment process?” said Bob Edgar, president of Common Cause, a watchdog group that lobbies for tighter ethics rules. “She can’t simply ride in on her name recognition or place in history. The voters and people of New York deserve that full disclosure.”

In addition, Kennedy has also declined to be interviewed by reporters and supplied only brief written answers on 11 major issues. Meanwhile, there is growing resistance among Democrats to the Kennedy bid, due to the governor's irritation and her ties to Mayor Bloomberg of New York City:

The governor is frustrated and chagrined, the advisers said, because he believes that he extended Ms. Kennedy the chance to demonstrate her qualifications but that her operatives have exploited the opportunity to convey a sense that she is all but appointed already. He views this as an attempt to box him in, the advisers said.

...her refusal to say over the weekend whether she would back a Democratic candidate next year, when Mr. Bloomberg will seek re-election as an independent, set off intense reaction among some in the party.

Apparently, then, the appointment – or coronation – of Kennedy is not necessarily inevitable. There are, in addition, other possible appointees, including Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and Representative Carolyn B. Maloney. Both carry the asset of actual political experience.

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