From Political Chastity to Whoredom

Oh, sexism. How you rear your silly head in the most obscure and well-meaning of metaphors. From the New York Times today:

For Kennedy, Self-Promotion Is Unfamiliar

After a lifetime of being wooed by others, Caroline Kennedy is still learning how to sell herself.

Teehee! It works, because she’s a woman, and she has to go from being sought after (by political suitors, so to speak) to selling herself to people (to political elites, specifically)… get it? Teeheehee! She needs to be flashier, see — give them the old razzle dazzle, Ms. Caroline K:

Others pointed out that Ms. Kennedy was also laboring under a colossal weight of expectations. Some people seem to expect her to be more, well, Kennedyesque — gregarious and extroverted. But Ms. Kennedy’s own political style seems to have more in common with that of Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who once held Mrs. Clinton’s seat: cerebral, restrained, wry.

In an age when flamboyant displays of warmth and empathy seem almost like an obligatory feature of campaigning, Ms. Kennedy simply seems to prefer keeping her feelings to herself.

Reminiscent politically to that Prager theory of putting out, even when it’s counterintuitive to what you want. Don’t deny us your energies! The camera’s rolling! Show your creds!

“Caroline,” [Maura Moynihan] added, “has never had to sell herself, but she has spent her whole life trying to help other people. She is a person of extraordinary integrity.”

See? Is politically chaste. Good for seat.

Mr. Silver, who has been openly antagonistic to Ms. Kennedy’s bid, said, “She clearly hasn’t shown herself to have the chutzpa of a Chuck Schumer to go out there and advocate for New York in the way in which he has clearly been effective.”

“There’s no question,” he added, “she’s not used to the political system.”

Ms. Kennedy’s whirlwind introduction has raised some doubts about her temperament and political hunger. One person who discussed the Senate job with Ms. Kennedy, and who spoke on the condition of anonymity in fear of retribution from her supporters, said that she did not convey a thirst for the job, adding, “It was hard to discern if she wants this or if she’s doing this out of a sense of duty.”

Boo! Too chaste! She’s lying back and thinking of America! Passion, chutzpah, want it, put out, rah! Campaign for the Senate appointment!

Am I having too much fun? Methinks I’m having too much fun with this article.

At the core of the potential Kennedy appointment lies a few difficult matters the American people and New Yorkers will have to face:

1) The dynastic quality of American politics is insulting to the allegedly democratic system we have in place — people’s names shouldn’t guide their credibility and pathway to political office. This is nothing new in Caroline Kennedy’s bid, nor is it new in Andrew Cuomo’s bid, nor was it particularly new in Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and when you backtrack through American political history, the oligarchy fluctuates in and out of being held accountable.

2) We should not let Caroline Kennedy’s position as a member of this oligarchy (by birth, not by choice) subject her to demeaning attacks on her accomplishments. Bony elbows included.

3) At the same time, we should not let past Kennedy-Cuomo family drama (with emasculation that’s better than a daytime soap opera!) taint discussions of her motivations, either. Look at her decisions for guidance; here’s an example of one.

4) Even if an election course isn’t going to happen (although it would certainly be most prudent; I’ve grown weary of appointment news for obvious reasons), Paterson should be gauging more of what New Yorkers want by some objective barometer and not through the media’s shrieking that CK’s not putting her back into it — so to speak.

It’s interesting watching this political comedy of errors play out surrounding appointments because I’m starting to wonder how much change is coming to the game after January 20th. The only real hope left for now concerning the Senate appointment is Paterson making the right choice.

For now.

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