By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Just say no

The New York Times should have refused to run this crapola — written answers from someone working for Caroline Kennedy, responding to a series of questions about where she stands on the issues. Let her sit down for an interview.

Between Kennedy’s impending coronation in New York and the Rod Blagojevich fiasco in Illinois, I’d say it’s time to get rid of gubernatorial appointments for vacant Senate seats, wouldn’t you?

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Obama shouldn’t have waited


  1. Mike from Norwell

    Let’s see, the economy is imploding with no rational end in sight (and if you want to give further pause, google a Reason article about trying to kick start things with public works projects ala Japan’s experience in the 90s; do you really think that your friends and neighbors being laid off in the financial sector will translate their skills to pouring concrete?). First few questions deal with gay marriage and abortion. Folks, think we have bigger fish to fry than this…

  2. Ani

    Any chance Obama could rescue us from this by naming Caroline Kennedy ambassador to somewhere or other? I actually think she’d make a good one.

  3. Nial Liszt

    Wow.Ambassador to Never-NeverLand…maybe. Rupert, where are you?

  4. Nial Liszt

    It is even more entertaining to read it as if she herself is answering in the third person. Somewhere in SoHo tonight a band is changing their name to Caroline Believes.

  5. Mark

    Talk to Deval Patrick about getting rid of gubernatiorial appointments.He was hinting that he supported changing the Massachusetts law back to what it was pre-John Kerry running for president just in case Sen. Kerry was offered a cabinet position.

  6. Boston Venerable Bede

    Her responses could have been from someone from Massachusetts. Journalism outlets could be equally covering the other potential candidates. Inside, journalism feels more like INSIDE EDITION than anything else.

  7. Bill H.

    I’m predicting that Caroline Kennedy will be appointed and will make a great U.S. senator. We’re not exactly talking nuclear physics here. There are no qualifications except age and residence. The best U.S. senators are inquisitive, open minded and responsive. They come from all walks of life and are open to ideas that they’ve never considered before. And they’re courageous. She’ll be excellent; I called it.

  8. Dan Kennedy

    Bill: For the record, I think Caroline Kennedy might make quite a good senator. For one thing, she’s likely to inherit Ted’s entire staff. (Not to be morbid.) She seems smart and grounded.But there’s only one way to overcome the complete lack of experience and qualifications she brings to the table, and that’s to win an election. It’s time to end gubernatorial appointments.

  9. Ani

    Hey, Dan, if I may recall your point about candidates being no better than their campaigns, don’t you think this “crapola” reflects (badly?) on Caroline Kennedy and perhaps on how she might fulfill the job of senator?

  10. Dan Kennedy

    Ani: Yes, as a matter of fact.

  11. Peter Porcupine

    DK – In point of fact, I don’t think there’s even a length of time requirement for residency; I think it’s like the Mass. Senate where you just have to be a resident on the day you are elected. That’s how Hillary was able to run – personally, I was terrfied she’d choose Mass.

  12. LFNeilson

    Hey, at least she’s not occupying one position while running for another. Is there some magic seniority dust that’s a prerequisite? What did GWB or Arnold do prior to running for governor?zzzzzzzz

  13. O'Reilly

    We lose a vote in the Senate if both of our Senators are not in attendance, so there is an argument to be made about appointing an interim Senator to satisfy our right to representation. I recognize that our Governor’s motives and interests are not necessarily the same as ours in selecting a Senator, so it is imporant that an election be scheduled, relatively promptly. If the original senator’s term was schedule to end in two or fewer years, then the timetable is already satisfactorily set. If the seat is scheduled to be voted upon in more than two years, I would schedule the vote to happen on Tuesday in November at the next Congressional election, 2008, 2010…You’ll recall our own governor recently wanted to change the law AGAIN from a special election to Gov’s choice to replace a Senator. I was shocked, shocked I tell you, that a Democrat would change law for partisan gain. You don’t think he was going to appoint himself do you? If so, at least he was elected to statewide office at least once. November 10, 2008Dear Governor Patrick There is talk on Beacon Hill by some Democrats about changing a 2004 law that took away the power of the governor to appoint a temporary replacement for any U.S. Senate seat that becomes vacant in Massachusetts and instead requires that a special election be held within 145 and 160 days. There is some talk by Democrats of repealing the 2004 law and giving the appointment power back to the governor.The Governor should announce he is against a change in the law because good policy is good policy and bad policy is bad policy, regardless of an advantage it might give to partisan politics. One election should not decide two races. Democrats got it right four years ago. How can they argue that they are getting it right, now? They cannot. It would be purely partisan law making and we in the Democratic Party MUST stand for something greater than party. If anything, the Governor should have the ability to temporarily appoint an interim Senator, so that our vote is not lost, and insure that the campaign is long enough to attract the best candidates. In addition, we have better candidates for the Senate seat, if either should open up. Our integrity is more valuable than any short-term advantage.

  14. Ron Newman

    Why not have temporary appointments made by the state legislature, and only for 3-6 months until a special election can be organized?

  15. Aaron Read

    Kennedy might make a fine senator but she’d be a terrible Democrat, if you will, because she’ll get eaten alive at the next election; the campaign for which is less than two years away. That means we have a Democrat warming the seat for barely a year and then realistically the Democrats will be down at least one more senator in 2010.Fortunately there is SOME cushion in the Democrat margin in the Senate, but even so…every person counts.There’s likely no one in the NYS Democratic party who could have the skill and chutzpah to challenge a Kennedy in the primaries, so almost certainly there’d be a strong Republican candidate. And I can promise you, that Republican WILL win because most of NYS outside of NYC and Long Island is either solidly “red state” or is solidly “blue dog Democrat”. Hillary won re-election by cannily appealing to the latter while her pedigree picked up the downstate crowd. But upstaters hate everything the Kennedys represent on general principle. Starting with the money and running all the way to the nobility. I don’t see how Caroline will ever win much of anything north of the Catskills.ESPECIALLY since the Democrats have also taken over the State Senate; historically the state Democratic Party has treated upstate very poorly…that’s why Republicans have managed to hold on to so many seats in Albany, and the only reason they lost so many this year was “Republicans=Bush Hatred”. That’s going to backlash in 2010 as the state’s economy goes completely to hell in a handbasket under a Democratic Governor and a Democratic State Assembly and a Democratic State Senate.Having only lived here a year, I don’t have anyone in particular I’d prefer to be one of my two US Senators. But I didn’t leave Massachusetts to be followed by a Kennedy, dammit! 🙂

  16. O-FISH-L

    Anti-semitism (noun) prejudice toward Jews.—Isn’t there something blatantly anti-semitic in Caroline Kennedy’s decision to first embrace her married name of Schlossberg, then repudiate it? When will the media (other than Margery Eagan) discuss this?Not even John “Kerry” was as devious since it was his grandfather, not the Senator himself, who dropped the family name Kohn in favor of the name of one of old Ireland’s most beautiful counties. Understandably, the elder Kohn did so to survive the anti-semitism of his time, but why did Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg do it today? It was Kerry’s decision to act surprised at the media’s “discovery” of his Jewish heritage, not that heritage itself, that is shameful. If politically active Jews and spouses of Jews run from their heritage, how enthusiastic will our US troops be when they are inevitably called to help defend Israel? We correctly seek to defeat anti-Jewish bigotry in the world, but what message is Caroline sending?Legendary WBZ overnight talkmaster Larry Glick (a proud Jew) used to have a regular caller, Angelo, a naturalized American from Italy who would dispense advice to callers who, like Caroline Kennedy and John Kerry, were deeply embarrassed about something. The advice was always the same, “Don’t be ashamed, everything a nice.” Kerry and especially Kennedy Schlossberg would do well to check the tapes.

  17. William

    “Isn’t there something blatantly anti-semitic in Caroline Kennedy’s decision to first embrace her married name of Schlossberg, then repudiate it”No.

  18. Peter Porcupine

    Mr. Neilson – both Bush and Schwartzenegger presented their bona fides to the electorate, who were able to examine them and then elected them – Ms. Kennedy is seeking to skip that messy step. Even Sarah Palin had more convincing experience.If she were genuinely interested in public service, there was nothing preventing her from running all these years. Instead, she seems interested in having the position handed to her on a platter as her due. Nice work if you can get it.

  19. NewsHound

    Dan – Fully agree. Elect the senators. There is no other rational choice.

  20. Bill H.

    Anti-semitism and Sarah Palin in the same discussion with Caroline Kennedy’s legitimate interest in a U.S. Senate seat? You can’t be serious.

  21. MeTheSheeple

    FISH: Just to be clear here: You look at the actions of someone who married a Jewish person, and question whether the actions are anti-Semitic?

  22. Dan Kennedy

    If Caroline Kennedy had stopped using Schlossberg just recently, then she might rightly be accused of opportunism. (But anti-Semitism? Please.)But didn’t she stop using it quite a while ago?

  23. O-FISH-L

    Dan, I didn’t get the memo on the day she dropped Schlossberg, so I don’t have the exact date of conversion, but to you and Me the Sheeple, PLEASE! Believe it or not, I admired Caroline for embracing the obviously Jewish name of her husband at the time of her marriage. Although I disagree with him on almost everything, I would tip my cap to John “Kerry” if he reverted to the truer Jacob Kohn.If Jews and spouses of Jews continue to run away from their ethnic names, it serves only to send a signal that their heritage is something to be ashamed of. As “Angelo”, the Italian caller to Larry Glick (proud Jew) used to say, “Don’t be ashamed, everything a nice.”

  24. Dan Kennedy

    Fish: Please tell us Jerry Williams was a self-hating Jew.

  25. O-FISH-L

    Self-hating Jew? Not sure. Embarrassed to be a Jew (Jacoby), absolutely. Why else would Jerry “Williams” and so many entertainers of his era try to hide it? At least old man “Kerry”, I mean Kohn, did it to preserve his life. Caroline Schlossberg should explain her reasoning in 2008. Were there threats by modern day Nazis or something?BTW, what’s the difference between saying “this Jewish synagogue at the end of my street bothers me, so I will remove it” to this “Jewish moniker at the end of my name bothers me, so I will remove it?” Pray tell.Prejudice toward Jews, including Jewish names, is anti-Semitism. I’ve never heard a caveat that a spouse of a Jew is immune to this malady. The acrobatics here in trying to say otherwise are hilarious.

  26. NewsHound

    This is a setup for Caroline to be president in eight years. It’s all over for Hillary.

  27. Ani

    I’d go with the opportunism interpretation, and compare it to Hillary’s embrace of simply “Hillary Clinton” (not “Hillary Rodham Clinton”).And, Fish, I think it’s more about fear than shame that leads people to anglicize their names here.

  28. O-FISH-L

    Ani, this is the second time I’ve challenged you this weekend, and I don’t mean to be confrontational because I enjoy reading your comments, but fear of what?ps- You aren’t ignorant, I don’t know how to do a link either!

  29. Ani

    I would add this, about fear on account of anti-Semitism. World War II was not that long ago, Jews still get treated by their Christian neighbors in my neighborhood differently from the way the Christian neighbors treat one another. The fear is that that situation can all too easily be ignited by an untoward event or a demagogic leader.

  30. O-FISH-L

    Ani, I usually find your posts reasoned and a welcome alternative to the liberalspeak so often found here, but c’mon? Jews and their spouses in USA 2008 still have to change their names to avoid harm or mistreatment from their neighbors. Where is this? There’s a reason that the occasional vandalized synagogue makes news, because it’s rare and should be. Jews living in fear in their homes? Again, I’m not buying it. This from a retired cop who had Quincy’s last Orthodox synagogue on his beat (in a tough neighborhood) and never heard of anything more than garden variety vandalism that wasn’t motivated by hate. In fact, most if not all of the punks who might vandalize the place had no idea what it was, just another “church” if you will.

  31. Bill H.

    Call a person what they wish to be called. A woman may have many reasons for sometimes using and sometimes not using her husband’s name. If we judge people, and especially women, on that basis it says more about us than it says about them.

  32. Ani

    Bill H.,Do you think there is a difference between judging other people and trying to form an accurate predictive model of them so as to decide how one wants to interact with them? I mean, one can be too trusting to one’s detriment, yes?, and not discover the problem until it is too late to avoid the harm? But on the other hand, it doesn’t feel too good to be judging other people (and, of course, I don’t like being judged myself).Fish, You collapsed my points on top of each other — the name business is driven by fear which is driven by the experience of being treated differently and the knowledge from the past that such different treatment can escalate.

  33. mike_b1

    Ahem. Caroline Kennedy may be married to a Jew, but that doesn’t make her Jewish. Kind of a key distinction. Saying she’s running away from what isn’t even her ethnic name is an exaggeration of Biblical proportion. Where’s the outrage over why Schlossberg isn’t taking her surname? I’m oh-so-sure he’s never traded in it.My eyes can’t roll enough over this.

  34. MeTheSheeple

    FISH: Let’s be clear here.So now you’re comparing the anti-Semitism of someone who married a Jewish person to someone who destroys synagogues?Wow, the stupid, it hurts.Can you step back and breathe for a moment, before the rest of us run out of breath laughing in anticipation of your next delusional comment?

  35. Dan Kennedy

    Fish: There was a time not so long ago that it was nearly impossible to go on the radio (or television) with an obviously ethnic name, especially a Jewish name. The idea that Jerry Williams was embarrassed by his ethnicity is laughable to anyone who remembers listening to him.I still recall an afternoon when I was driving on 128 and Alan Dershowitz called in. The Dersh apparently knew nothing about Williams, because he accused him of anti-Semitism of some sort. Dershowitz got quite worked up. But Williams — unlike today’s talk-show hosts, who lack the brains and talent to do this — pretty much went silent on him, until Dershowitz was reduced to saying, “Hello? Hello?”I’ve never heard a radio host who could play the silences the way Williams did, a skill that I attribute to his being a musician earlier in his career.

  36. Zingoz

    For the record, Caroline Kennedy never took Schlossberg as her last name. The media occasionally refers to her as Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg. On the books she’s authored, she’s Caroline Kennedy. And the Christmas card she sends out as the president of the JFK Library Foundation, she’s Caroline Kennedy. And when she spoke at the 2000 and 2008 Democratic conventions, she was introduced as Caroline Kennedy. Considering her and her family’s human rights record, and the fact that she married a Jew, it’s absurd to accuse her of anti-Semitism. I have no problem with her being proud of her own family and heritage and sticking with her birth name.

  37. Bill H.

    Ani, you are often the voice of reason in these discussions, and I always take your thoughts seriously. Yes, I suppose there is a difference between judging someone and using their actions to better understand them. But I say there is no reason known to any of us to doubt that Caroline Kennedy is not exactly what she says she is. Honestly, if I were she I would want my Kennedy name to be out front in any political venture that I entered, and I venture to say that anyone else responding to this blog feels the same. Anti-semitism? Ethnic embarrassment? Ridiculous.

  38. Ani

    Zingoz,If you are correct that it was the media and not Caroline Kennedy herself who called her Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, then the whole issue about the name evaporates. Thank you.Bill H.,I am still puzzled as to why Kennedy thinks asking to be appointed senator makes sense, but she’s got every right to ask and I have to admit that since I don’t know her thinking, I shouldn’t judge it and interpret it as opportunism on her part. The same way I shouldn’t make ungenerous inferences about why her co-authorship of her book on privacy hasn’t been part of the dialogue (at least that I have heard — I’ve heard her having written such a book is part of her qualifications to be senator, but no mention, and I haven’t read the book or its preface, about the co-authorship). But I also have to admit that these issues are bothering me.

  39. Tunder

    O-Fish,Lookd like Angelo might change his slogan for you. “Be ashamed…” for bringing up this abusrd and laughable point about Caroline Kennedy and which last name she chooses to go by. Since “Kennedy” is probably the most recognized political name in the country, perhaps that might have something to do with it?Anyway, “Zingoz” has already proved you a fool. Careful regurgitating Sean, Bill, Rush’s talking points. You might get burned.

  40. Neil

    Ha ha a couple years ago Fish was on a similar wander about Adrian Pasdar, an actor of Iranian descent who is on the show Heroes and who is married to Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks. I’m hazy on the details (why wouldn’t Maines take Pasdar’s last name, maybe?), but it’s definitely a theme. As themes go though, it’s not a good one, as nobody seems to be able to follow the point of it. That left-leaning white women who don’t take their husbands ethnic last names are…hypocrites, because it reveals…secret racism? Like, they preach inclusion but when it comes time to walk the diversitay walk, they decline?Like that? Fish as troll. Good stuff!

  41. Rick in Duxbury

    Fish, never try to change the mind of a “progressive”. Waste of time. Besides, their rhetorical support of Rep. Patrick Kennedy is so much fun to watch. Be thankful that they stopped having kids by the dozen, otherwise we might have to endure a constitutional amendment to enlarge Congress.

  42. Dan Kennedy

    Anyone here support Patrick Kennedy? Anyone? Speak up! Rick, though I realize someone must be voting for him, I have never detected any enthusiasm for Patches among anyone. Of course, you don’t cite any specifics. You just thought it would be a fun thing to say.

  43. mike_b1

    I know Patrick Kennedy on a professional level, and there’s not a whole lot of there there.

  44. Aaron Read

    Let’s put aside Caroline for a moment and look at this like a good politician does.I’ll bet if you polled the entire US, you’d find at least twice as many people know the name “Kennedy” than do “Schlossberg”. Probably TEN times as many.The math really is that simple folks. We can all argue until the cows come home about whether it makes someone anti-Semitic or not, but I’ll lay $100 on the table that nobody in Caroline’s camps gives the slightest crap about that. They care about how the Kennedy name still means something in this country. She’d be a fool not to trade on the name recognition and the politics it stands for.Look at it this way. Does anyone on this list think she could actually WIN the appointment…much less a future election…if she steadfastly insisted on using “Schlossberg”? Everyone would be berating her for “rejecting everything the Kennedy family stands for”.

  45. Nial Liszt

    Aaron projected:*Everyone would be berating her for “rejecting everything the Kennedy family stands for”.*”I’ll bet if you polled the entire US, you’d find at least” half would say that rejection would be bad, how?This would be the ultimate political backdoor bs. She has zero chance of winning this seat in an election by sending out a flack to play 20 Questions with the media. The rest of the clan is only able to use the tired “do you know who I am”? She is about to invoke the show-stopping “Do you know who my daddy was?”

  46. Ani

    This issue continues to bother me, and on top of that, I’m bothered that I’m bothered by it. What would probably make me feel better about it is if the Kennedy camp would take the position that Caroline Kennedy has qualities that are hard to come by that would make her a more effective senator than others, once she gets up to speed on being an elected official and all that, and that while she is not following the cursus honorum of regular folk, she is aware of that and can justify it. I don’t doubt she can get up to speed (I believe her uncle Ted Kennedy did something similar — I knew a professor who had tutored Ted Kennedy in constitutional law, though I think that may have been while Kennedy was in law school), I just wish she would acknowledge that that’s what she’s doing and that it’s not the usual way. Something like that.

  47. Bill H.

    I’m interested in the assumption that Caroline Kennedy would lose an election of the U.S. Senate. Last time I looked, Kennedys haven’t lost too many elections. Their W’s pretty heavily outnumber their L’s.

  48. O'Reilly

    O-Fish-L rant on antisemitism with respect to Caroline Kennedy gives you a clue about where he’s coming from. I wonder where he first learned of it. I’ll guess it was from a national broadcast radio show from a guy who has hours to fill… so why not fill it with baseless, thoughtless race-baiting crap?

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