Alex Massie

The Kennedy Interest

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The conventional wisdom seems to be that Caroline Kennedy is, as Nick Confessore puts it, "too big to fail" in her quest to succeed Hillary Clinton as the junior Senator from New York. Perhaps so. There is, of course, one person who could decide that it's not in the public interest to bail-out the Kennedys. With just two phone calls - one to David Paterson, the other to Kennedy - Barack Obama could put an end to this and suggest that New York have, like, an election or something shocking like that...

But conventional wisdom also says Obama will do no such thing, not least, or perhaps largely, because he owes Clan Kennedy for Teddy's early and enthusiastic endorsement of the upstart challenger to Queen Hillary's throne. Maybe so, again. During the campaign Obama spent a lot of time lambasting the "special interests" that were, apparently, running and ruining Washington. This would Change when Hope returned to the Capitol.

Well, what are the Kennedys if not a Special Interest? Now, granted, Obama meant that he disapproved of special interests bar those goals he shares, but I can't help but feel that permitting Kennedy to glide into the Senate is not exactly the sort change We Can Believe In that we were promised.

Conversely, there might be a political upside to stiffing the Kennedys: it would send a message that even the new President's friends should not take his friendship for granted; nor should they presume to abuse it. The good old days of stitch-ups and back-scratching are, outwardly at least, gone... Or something of that sort.

And no, I don't really believe this will happen either.

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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