Monday, December 29, 2008

Caroline interviews with NYT, you know ...

Is Caroline Kennedy not quite ready for prime time?

Politico writes about her interview with the New York Times. The news outlets and blogs are talking about her overuse of the phrase, "you know." I am curious as to what the 51-year-old did with her husband's last name.

The NYT interview is somewhat vague. The reporter seems to have had difficulty pinning Ms. Kennedy down on facts, issues, and her reasons for entering the race.

I have watched Caroline Kennedy since she was a little girl riding her pony on the White House lawn, a part of Camelot. As an elementary school student, I watched as the Kennedy family went through a very public funeral after her father was assassinated ... the Onassis years when her widowed mother married the Greek tycoon and the rumored rocky relationship that followed ... Caroline's law school education, her marriage and subsequent motherhood raising three children ... the illness and eventual death of her mother ... her friendship with her brother and his untimely death, along with his wife, in a plane crash almost 10 years ago. Ironically, he was the one expected to go into politics.

Through it all Caroline was in the background, a picture of grace seeking her privacy. After John Jr.'s death, only she was left of the original Camelot.

It is a little painful watching what is occurring now. The gauzy view of the lady of grace is slowly eroding.

I suppose my question is ... why? Why would she want to subject herself to the public scrutiny, the press interviews, the chipping away at her privacy? Nothing she has said in news interviews has answered that question, in my opinion.

She has all the money in the world to live a comfortable lifestyle. She has a husband, a family, a nice home, and a law degree. She has never been that involved in politics.

So I am left to wonder if she is being pushed into this ... but who would have enough influence to make her do something she may not be quite willing to do? She seems to be a reluctant participant, at best, and with her voting record (now exposed that she did not vote in every election) and her reluctance to release financial records (who wants the world to know you are worth $100 million or more?), it raises more questions.

Politics is a nasty game. Caroline has spent years avoiding the limelight. Why would she now wade into a venue where she could be chewed up and spat out?

After reading the New York Times interview, I am even more perplexed. At one point in the interview it was noted:
... she said that it might have been preferable to seek the seat in an election, noting that “it would give me a chance to explain exactly what I’m doing, why I would want to do this, and, you know, to get people to know me better and to understand exactly what my plans would be, how hard I would work.”
What is preventing her from answering all those questions now? That is what people want to know ... that is what news interviewers are asking ... and she remains, for the most part, vague about her reasons for running and her issues. Why not act as if this were the general election and answer the questions?

Again I will say it is almost as if she has been talked into running for the position by someone. Uncle Ted, perhaps, to carry on the family legacy?

I don't know the answer but I do know this: Caroline Kennedy appears to be not quite comfortable with the publicity while pursuing a powerful elected position. But could she do the job?

Of course.

Transcript of New York Times interview with Carolina Kennedy, December 28, 2008.

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