Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sweet Caroline

Usually we only see Democrats behaving like packs of starving Coyotes, ripping the flesh from each other's bones, splattering blood all over the citizenry, when the Wall Street Boys stop by Congress to hand out the paychecks.

But unfortunately we're getting a new glimpse into the sordid vendettas and petty grievances that form such an important part of the secret platform of the leading Democrats. And what we're seeing is so nasty and irrational that it almost seems it was crafted by KKKKarl Rove. What better way to create conflict within the Democratic party than to have one group of Democrats launch a public, vicious assault on an intelligent, law-abiding constitutional scholar, author, mother and citizen, daughter of one of the most beloved Democratic politicians who ever lived, daughter and niece of men who were murdered because they stood up for traditional Democratic constituencies like labor, poor people and minorities, and stood up for critical Democratic principles such as freedom of speech and economic justice.
What are the objections to Caroline Kennedy putting her name out for consideration to be appointed to fill Hillary Clinton's senate seat? Why the rabid mad-dog opposition? We know that Caroline supported Obama in the primaries. There were some Hillary Clinton supporters who opposed Obama and supported McCain out of their own sense of loyalty to the unsuccessful campaign of Hillary Clinton. Some of the opposition to Caroline Kennedy is coming from these old-Clintonites who just can't seem to let it go.

We're also seeing some feigned anguish expressed by well-known liberal men who claim that they feel compelled to speak out because ... someone else, unnamed, might be better, and how dare she ask to be considered. Andy Borowitz, normally a pretty funny guy, even decided to jump on this anti-Caroline bandwagon, the suggestion that she is outrageously out of line for even asking to be considered, by his humor column today saying that Caroline has asked to be named the Time person of the year.

Some pundits question whether Caroline Kennedy has the proper qualifications. These are the same people that claimed they opposed Obama because he didn't have enough experience as a qualification for office. We only hear these objections to lack of qualification when women or minorities apply for the job. Any useless, slow-witted coked-up drunken son of a rich man can get elected to national office, even become president, as long as he's white and his daddy's rich.

Some men's objections to Caroline Kennedy have nothing to do with who she is, or what her qualifications are. They are simply angry that she would put her own name forward, suggest herself as a legitimate person to be considered. These men apparently believe that it is outrageous that a woman would ever promote herself or ask to be considered for an appointment. In our society, women are never supposed to suggest themselves for promotion, to call attention to their own qualifications, or to ask for anything. Nice girls don't. It's so unladylike . Women should sit quietly and wait to see if they are offered something. Otherwise, say nothing. Is it any wonder women get so much less than men in every area of our society when social norms include a prohibition on even asking for something. "She asked for something. Slut." Some things never change.

We have the additional problem that Caroline Kennedy is now a single (divorced) woman and she is not leaning on her husband's arm while asking to be considered. Who will vouch for this woman? Until very recently, women (and blacks) were not even allowed to testify in a court of law as a witness because the were irrebuttably presumed to be incapable of telling the truth. And of course former slaves (the male slaves), considered the most abused group of people in our society, were given the right to vote (in 1870), to participate in the political arena to the modest degree of casting a vote (even if their views or thoughts were never to be openly expressed) over 50 years before women were finally given the right to vote (1920).

Women are not allowed to enter the highest corridors of power unless they are brought there by a man: husband, boyfriend/lover, father. Some man has to legitimize their entry, stamp their ticket, vouch for their trustworthiness, in order for them to move into the all-boys-club. After all, we still only have a few women in the Senate, even though women are 50% of the country. And women continue to earn only 70% of what men in comparable positions do. Imagine how men would feel if they were told that 30% of their wages would be taken away from them for their entire working life, making the difference between them being able to have a decent life as opposed to living constantly in or on the edge of poverty. Exclusion based on gender remains the rule rather than the exception in this society.

Some of the objections I'm hearing about Caroline Kennedy vaguely refer to dynasty. The same people did not object to Hillary Clinton getting the spot, although she had done nothing in her entire life other than sit on the Board of Directors of that infamous union-busting slave-labor supporting Wal Mart, represent and advise real estate developers and S&L con men, and be married to a man who was himself a successful politician. She had never run for or been elected to office, and had no apparent qualifications for the job. But she was OK because her husband said so. That's a dynasty.

Where is Caroline Kennedy's dynasty? Her father and one of her uncles were murdered when she was a child. Her other uncle is seriously ill . Her brother died, and her mother mercifully had died shortly before that. So exactly what is her dynasty? Who in her family has been in public office since 1963? If we exclude the cousins (and yes, she has a large extended family), that would be no one.

Would Caroline "fill the shoes" of Hillary Clinton? Hopefully not. I don't think Caroline would be so corrupt as her predecessor was to sponsor bills making it illegal to burn a flag (a clear violation of the citizens' first amendment freedom of expression) to try to pick up votes from the right-wing. I also don't think she would support an illegal war just because she thought it might help her future political goals.

What are Caroline Kennedy's qualifications for office? She is a constitutional scholar. She has written many books. She is a mother, citizen. There has been no scandal or impropriety associated with her. Unlike the Democrats currently in the Senate, she did not support the U.S. launching a war of aggression against Iraq nor the continued funding of that illegal war; she did not support torture or sit by while it was done by the government when she was in a position to stop it; she did not get her spouse to engage in war profiteering and get personal gains from this atrocity; she has not taken millions in bribes from Wall Street to do nothing while they looted the country, unlike most of the Democrats currently in Congress; she did not sit on her hands and do nothing while Bush and Cheney put illegal wiretaps into the homes of many Americans in violation of the 4th amendment.

I may have answered my own question. Perhaps the objection to Caroline is that she's simply not corrupt enough to be in the Senate. Maybe that's it.

Sweet Caroline (Neil Diamond says he wrote this song for Caroline Kennedy)

"Hands, touching hands, reaching out, touching me, touching you,
Sweet Caroline, good times never seemed so good.
I've been inclined to believe they never would. "

Maybe the real objection to Caroline Kennedy is that she represents the old traditional Democratic party. After all, her father and both uncles stood squarely on the side of the poor, minorities, and labor, and stood in favor of economic justice. Isn't the real threat to both the Republican and Democratic parties the idea that we might get decent politicians in office who would support the people instead of working against them?

Bill Clinton and his crew tried to change the Democratic party by their doctrine, some call it neo-liberal, which claimed that it was possible to support Republican policies but still be a Democrat. I've never bought that whole story, and see Bill Clinton as a Trojan Horse who served to undermine the Democratic party and hurt the working people of this country. But he did it with intelligence, wit, good looks and a smile, and fooled a lot of people. I don't care what label you put on it, the whole idea that even one American job should be sent overseas is a bad idea. Let's get full employment here, universal healthcare and completely funded pensions, then we'll talk about whether we have any "extra" jobs we want to give away.

And deregulation of the financial institutions simply freed them to loot the country and steal all the money from working people. I never once heard Bill Clinton say that removing the restrictions, and allowing these criminals to charge 30% interest on credit card loans to poor people, might not have been such a good idea after all. What does he care? He's collected hundreds of millions of dollars from rich people and corporations since he left office. He knew who he was working for, and it wasn't us. So maybe the real assault on Caroline Kennedy is from the neo-liberals who fear that if traditional Democrats get into elected office again, working people might begin to stand up for themselves and throw these Republicans in Democratic clothing out of office.

I've heard some leading Democrats take snarky little digs at Caroline Kennedy because she's Irish Catholic, old school like her Uncle Teddy, like that's so last year. Why would liberals attack a woman who comes from such a clear tradition of support for the oppressed, for minorities, for working people? The pseudo-Democrats like to see themselves as wall street types with expensive shoes and suits, taking money from the rich people to send jobs overseas, carefully balancing on a high-wire so they can appeal to traditional Democratic voters while selling us out to the rich people who run everything. Maybe Caroline's candidacy represents more than meets the eye. Now that we've got Obama in the white house, isn't it time to start throwing the traitors out of office and electing some real Democrats for a change?

Let's take the Democrats back to traditional Democratic values, and send the Clintonista-Republicans back to Arkansas.

Caroline for Senator.

P.S.: after spending some time reading other on-line blogs, it occurs to me that this may simply be a Republican tactic to denounce the entire idea of a (Democratic) Governor getting to select the person to fill a vacant Senate seat. Since Obama has chosen to recruit so many Democratic Senators to serve in his administration, this could essentially give the Republican party a chance to re-take control of the Senate simply by forcing each of these seats into an immediate election, while using massive funds to create a scent of scandal and incompetence in the Democrats. The timing of the "expose" on the Illinois Governor certainly is odd, and may be the first shot. How stupid are the Democrats? I hope every Governor appoints a new Senator for every vacant seat, and then let's move on.

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