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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Caroline Kennedy of the Julii

Ck In the later days of the Roman Republic it became impossible to hold high office without being a member of, or being supported by, certain families. One of these families eventually decided to do away with the whole system and turned themselves into an Imperial family. It is with this in mind that I can’t help but roll my eyes at the prospect of Caroline Kennedy (daughter of you know who) becoming the new Senator from New York.

To be sure every country has their political families. This is only natural; after all being raised in a politically active household makes it more likely you will seek office. Yet the Martins and Mackays of Canada are rare and they have always had to prove themselves on their own merit. This will ultimately be true of even Justin Trudeau (son of you know who).

The scions of the presidential clans are far more fortunate in the United States. Apparently you can get yourself appointed to the US Senate with no experience at public office or being in the public spotlight. According to CNN the best thing she could say about herself is that she wrote a book. Even the President Elect never claimed that his books qualified him for public office. The polls indicate that she also doesn't have the popular support.

Truly I must ask, if this woman was not a Kennedy than would she be considered? Is she merely positioning herself to take over the position of her uncle as the head of her patrician family? Does anyone else here suddenly feel very uneasy?  

Posted by Hugh MacIntyre on December 28, 2008 | Permalink

Comments

She will get it, no doubt about it.
Painful to hear her speaking, too: 15 "you know" in a minute time...If her name were something like, let's say, "palin", I can see SNL, Daily Show and others giving her the "dumbest person on earth" treatment...But she's a Kennedy,so it won't happen.

Posted by: Helena | 2008-12-28 4:47:59 AM


Choosing name over substance certainly degrades the position.

Others have to carry persons in positions they're not qualified for.Perhaps there are some willing to carry a Kennedy but this sure has the earmarks of a sham.

Posted by: LizJ | 2008-12-28 6:33:32 AM


Repeal the 17th Amendment!

Senators are supposed to represent the States. Nowadays, they are just at-large popular Representatives. With the Governors given power to name replacements, the 'popular' part becomes optional. The corruption of this amendment is becoming painfully clear this election cycle (Illinois, New York, Delaware).

Carolina Kennedy is a farce. She has done nothing for liberty. I nominate John Stossel.

http://www.mikevine.com/

Posted by: Mike Vine | 2008-12-28 7:13:34 AM


Hugh,

The underlying problem is a political system that allows for appointments rather than elections to office. If Caroline Kennedy won an election, as others in the Kenney clan have done before, then more power to her. But neither she nor anyone else should get the job by appointment. It is the absolute power of a Governor's appointment that leads to these sorts of cases of extended nepotism. It also makes it possible for Governors to look for bribes and kickbacks for making appointments, as has just happened in Illinois.

Any time one person can appoint people to positions that should be elected there is a problem, and the US system has a lot of this. Even the President's cabinet are all appointments of unelected people as opposed to the Parliamentary system where first you have to be elected to qualify (despite Harper's abuse of that with the appointment of Michael Fortier).

Now add to this the absolute power that Presidents and Governors have in other ways (like being able to pardon any criminals they like for any or no reasons at all) and you see that while George Washington rejected being addressed as "Your Majesty" he did not do nearly enough to cast off the real powers of an absolute monarch. You'd think a country that prides itself in electing dog catchers could get the more important positions right.

Posted by: Fact Check | 2008-12-28 7:18:25 AM


"This will ultimately be true of even Justin Trudeau"

Hasn't been so far.

Posted by: Ray K. | 2008-12-28 3:14:33 PM


Fact Check

"Any time one person can appoint people to positions that should be elected there is a problem, and the US system has a lot of this. Even the President's cabinet are all appointments of unelected people as opposed to the Parliamentary system where first you have to be elected to qualify (despite Harper's abuse of that with the appointment of Michael Fortier)."

What's colour is the sky in your world. When was the last time you saw a supreme court justice on television in Canada appearing before an appointment committee.

And about the (un)"elected" senators...

Posted by: h2o273kk9 | 2008-12-28 4:02:47 PM


H2O,

The sky is blue in my world. How about yours? Probably mostly a very very dull grey.


"When was the last time you saw a supreme court justice on television in Canada appearing before an appointment committee."

Never, but Canadian Supreme Court justices is not the subject. Did you have too much eggnog?


"And about the (un)'elected' senators..."

I'm no fan of the current Canadian Senate, so you won't get a defence of it from me, but at least in Canada we have the good sense to have marginalized it so that as a body it has almost no power at all as is befitting an appointed body. Appointed US Senators and Representatives have power equal to that of elected ones. Nepotism and corruption are made much more likely by such a system. That's a problem. In the real world, anyway. In your drunken stuppor world, well, maybe not.

Posted by: Fact Check | 2008-12-28 5:03:27 PM


Fact Check (if that is your real name)

You said

"Appointed US Senators and Representatives have power equal to that of elected ones. Nepotism and corruption are made much more likely by such a system. "

Please provide FACTS that this is more likely. You claim that unelected Canadian Senators are marginalized...so why is Harper appointing 18 of them? Surely they have some corrupt or nepotistic power.

Well?

Posted by: h2o273kk9 | 2008-12-28 6:04:32 PM


Fact Check (if that is your real name)

You said

"Appointed US Senators and Representatives have power equal to that of elected ones. Nepotism and corruption are made much more likely by such a system. "

Please provide FACTS that this is more likely. You claim that unelected Canadian Senators are marginalized...so why is Harper appointing 18 of them? Surely they have some corrupt or nepotistic power.

Well?

Posted by: h2o273kk9 | 2008-12-28 6:04:33 PM


H2O ... not just seeing double ... but posting double. Too much eggnog, indeed. Sleep it off, H2O. Sleep it off.


"Please provide FACTS that this is more likely."

Well, it is common for the spouse of a dead Congressman to be appointed to finish their term. Mary Bono got into Congress that way after Sonny Bono died. Muriel Humphrey was a Senator appointed to replace her husband, Hubert Humphrey, after he died. I'm sure even with your double vision and booze-soaked brain you can find many many more examples like this if you look for them. There are many.

In the Parliamentary system, such situations are not possible because we have elections to replace dead MPs. So even if a spouse wins the seat in the next election (like Dona Cadman), it is the result of the people's choice, so it can't be nepotism. See Hugh's examples of other Canadian political families above (if you can focus, that is).


As for Harper's appointments, I have posted elsewhere on this site (a couple of times) about this topic, so you should go read those comments. Just try not to puke on your keyboard or faceplant into your monitor while looking for them. Don't drink and post, H2O. Or at least stick to cannibalism. Water won't get you so buzzed.

Posted by: Fact Check | 2008-12-28 6:54:42 PM


Fact Check

I repeat...please provide FACTS that nepotism and corruption is more likely.

"it is common for the spouse of a dead Congressman to be appointed to finish their term."

Being "common" is not a statistical proof. Actually, it's not all that "common" at all. I'd like some statistics on the "common" practice of "appointing" a spouse to replace a dead congressman.

Well?

Posted by: h2o273kk9 | 2008-12-28 7:35:30 PM


The Kennedy clan has a name brand. So do the Bushes, the Doles, the Humphries, etc. They are the Toyotas, Kleenexes, and Heizes of the U.S. political market.

With them, at least you know what you are getting. It might be better to appoint someone who actively pursues a consistent political philosophy than to elect a no-name seat-warmer, a time-biding clapping seal.

The issue isn't elections vs. appointments. The fundamental issue is that popularity does not make good governance, whether the popularity results in elections or appointments. The answer is to leave less and less within the jurisdiction of popularly elected/appointed representatives, and more and more within the jurisdiction of the individual sovereign citizen.

Posted by: Grant Brown | 2008-12-29 1:10:18 PM


Sehr gute Seite. Ich habe es zu den Favoriten.

Posted by: mietwagen | 2009-03-12 2:25:32 PM



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