Alex Massie

Oh Caroline!

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A very entertaining piece on Caroline Kennedy's "run" for the vacant Senate seat in New York by Larissa MacFarquhar in this week's New Yorker. There are moments at which one feels rather sorry for Kennedy, but overall the piece is not, shall we say, flattering. And what to make of this splendidly amusing stuff from her courtiers?

Now Caroline Kennedy has had her moment and flubbed it. Paterson has appointed Kirsten Gillibrand, a second-term congresswoman from Hudson, near Albany. “Paterson has no comprehension of upstate New York, absolutely none, and has chosen someone better at representing cows than people,” Lawrence O’Donnell says. “What you have is the daughter of a lobbyist, instead of the daughter of a former President or the son of a former governor. This is the hack world producing the hack result that the hacks are happy with.”

To Caroline Kennedy’s friends, her putting herself forward for the Senate, whatever the result, was a step of great courage and significance. “This is a person who has the blessing of using her remarkable position to advance larger issues,” Richard Plepler says, “and, because she has never taken advantage of that, that is something that speaks to the integrity and, not to be too corny, but, the nobility of what she’s doing now.” “To put yourself through that seems like a lot for her, but I take my hat off to her, because changing your life up and trying things at—you know, she’s not twenty-five—takes a certain amount of guts,” a friend says. “She’s not stupid, she knew that the life she knew would come to an end whether she got the appointment or not, and that’s a tough thing for anyone, giving away the life you’ve had.”

A profile in courage indeed.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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