Tuesday, December 30, 2008

She's a Kennedy, and She's Not Like Us

In the Washington Post, Anne Glusker argues that the response to Caroline Kennedy asking very nicely for that Senate seat is just like the response women who once had careers get when they try to go back to the workforce after taking time off with their kids. You know what? That's total malarky.

Yes, women trying to return to the work force after taking several years off have a terrible time finding work. Yes, they are often forced to take pay cuts or jobs lower on the ladder then their experience warrants. I'm all for having a debate on work-life balance and trying to change work-place policies to make them more amenable to family life for both women and men. But I don't think we should confuse the problems women face going back to work with a cry of "Enough!" when it comes to one nice woman from a good family. Because the work-life problem is a big one, but it has nothing to do with Caroline Kennedy.

Caroline Kennedy put together a reasonable working life writing books and working for the New York City public schools. This presumably gave her a flexible enough schedule to care for her children. Now she wants to enter public life in the legislative branch. Certainly she has an enviable professional network and has done some very good work. But does that mean she should get the seat?

When Hillary Clinton ran for the Senate, she did what she always does. She worked. As a partner in a law firm in Arkansas, she had to negotiate, like senators do. As First Lady, she learned the ins and outs of the legislative process the hardest way imaginable, in front of the cameras and as "the wife." And as a candidate, she went on that listening tour upstate and probably sat through 7,000 chicken dinners. Then she won the seat. Sure, she had a famous name, but she also earned it.

Galusker would have us believe that it's wrong thinking to argue that because Kennedy didn't follow the "straight and narrow" she can't do the job and just because she hasn't done something similar doesn't mean she can't. Well, no. She might be able to do the job, but that's not the point. The point is why is her hat in the ring in the first place?

I think it's gret that someone in Kennedy's position wants to do public service. It's a hard choice -- easier to make if you're wealthy, sure -- but it's still not an easy life. But why is Kennedy asking to start at the very top? And why isn't she running in an actual election? There are elections in New York. She could lay the ground work for one right now and she could run for any number of jobs. But instead Kennedy chose to ask for the high visibility seat that once belonged to her uncle, and without ever having run for elected office, she is being considered for this job primarily because of her family.

Certainly being the daughter of John Kennedy has been both a blessing and burden, but, let's be clear: without her name, she's a smart woman with a good address who went to the right schools and kept working when she had kids in the way that worked for her. With her father's name and history, she's a senate candidate. Now, really, is that like you and me?

6 comments:

Jack Reylan said...

Avenge Sarah Pailin by Trashing Caroline Kennedy! Blame professulas whose posh pensions graze on stumbent loan interest from vacuous degrees in basket weaving commie nutty organizing. Turn grant grubbing blatherers into fuel, especially perverts like mayor crotch who gas for obsama zbin biden. Your islamosympathic gutterswabbing clothing and pierced privates spread diesease. If you weren't such baby killing, vermin snuggling perverts you wouldn't be driving up our health costs, then collecting disability for your commie nutty organizing dementia. Your passive aggressive labor unions grab our guns, cars (congestion pricing), balls (SONDA), wallets, and homes but we will grab your throats and dang you from trailer bone tolls. Apply Sarbanes Oxley to non-profits! Repeal the seventeenth amendment before any VAT. All the homeless are drugged out hippies. Second Amendment is the ONLY Homeland Security. Wait until we waste all your stumbent subprimes, so you need to sell your affectation glutton art and work instead of diverting tution and Y2K scams to soviet freezeniks! Deport for multiple visits to same country. If you controlled your own pension neither your boss nor the government could abuse it. Lynch soviet wealth fund abbetting aghadhimmic peakies when oil plummets! Parasites complain about salaries but pig out with benefits. Global warming is a grant grubbing extortion racket. Urban sprawl annoys terrorists. Hazards and pollution stem mostly from mandates. Aqua volte! This land wasn't build by bullocraps.

Robin Aronson said...

The above comment does not belong on this blog. All comments should be reasonable and respectful. Unfortunately, with my current comment settings, I don't think I can delete this comment. My apologies to everyone.

Robin

Nicole said...

Wow, who is this crazy man???

Nicole said...

BTW: nice post, Robin!

Robin Aronson said...

Thanks, Nicole! Too bad about the crazy guy.....

Melissa said...

I agree, great post Robin. But you should figure out how to delete the crazies! There has got to be a way.