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Caroline Kennedy Wants To Go To The Senate

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Former President Kennedy daughter has thrown her very expensive hat into the ring for New York’s soon-to-be-vacant Senate seat:

Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of an American political dynasty, has decided she will pursue the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, a person told of her decision said Monday.

The decision came after a series of deeply personal and political conversations, in which Ms. Kennedy, whom friends describe as unflashy but determined, wrestled with whether to give up what has been a lifetime of avoiding the spotlight.

Ms. Kennedy will ask that Gov. David A. Paterson consider her for the appointment. The governor was traveling to Utica today could not immediately be reached for comment.

If appointed, Ms. Kennedy would fill the seat once held by her uncle, the late Robert F. Kennedy.

Ms. Kennedy has been making calls this morning to alert political figures to her interest.

Ms. Kennedy’s decision is likely to have a major impact on the governor’s considerations as he mulls who should succeed Mrs. Clinton. Already, some other Democrats have pointedly questioned her credentials for the job. Rep. Gary Ackerman, a Queens Democrat, said last week that he didn’t know what Ms. Kennedy’s qualifications were, “except that she has name recognition — but so does J. Lo.”

But others, including Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg have praised her abilities.

Ms. Kennedy first telephoned the governor Dec. 3 to inquire about the job, but Mr. Paterson described that conversation as “informational” and said it was clear Ms. Kennedy had not decided whether she wanted to pursue the position.

But since, then, she has begun reaching out to key political figures in New York, such as Sheldon Silver, the speaker of the state Assembly, and State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. She has also hired Knickerbocker SKD, a prominent political consulting firm headed by Josh Isay, a former chief of staff to Sen. Charles Schumer, to advise her.

With this announcement and what appears to be the support of some key political figures in New York, it’s going to be pretty hard for Patterson to choose someone other than Kennedy at this point. To do so would likely be seen as a slap in the face of someone who is fairly well-regarded outside the political realm in New York, and, given how weak Patterson is politically (there’s a good possibility that he could lose the Democratic primary in 2010), it would not be to his benefit.

Nonetheless, I still think that this assessment is largely correct:

If Paterson were to make his decision based solely on the competence and experience, it’s fairly clear that Kennedy would not be a serious candidate for office. She’s less qualified than Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, or any other of the people supposedly on Paterson’s “short list” for the Senate seat.

The difference is that, unlike Kennedy, none of these candidates possesses a last name that causes Democrats to genuflect as if they’re talking about God. The fact that she has less political experience than Sarah Palin doesn’t matter, because she’s a Kennedy.

Paterson may well pick Kennedy, but let’s not delude ourselves into thinking that he’s doing it for any reason other than the fact that she happens to have the same last name as a dead President.

Not to mention all the arguments against the extension of dynastic politics.

But, like I said, she’s a Kennedy, and the New York Democrats are likely to get quite orgasmic over the prospect of having one of those in their ranks again.

Cross-posted at Below The Beltway