21 December 2008

Change we can believe in

Caroline Kennedy has laughably tossed her hat into the ring to replace Sen. Clinton, who will leave her cushy, carpetbagged Senate seat for Foggy Bottom in January.

So, too, have the forces of nepotism reared their head even closer to the office of the president-elect. Vice-president-in-waiting Joseph R. Biden, Jr., has handpicked his close aide Edward Kaufman to replace him as Delaware's emissary to the U.S. Senate. It's easy to presume that the vice-president elect will ensure that his son, Beau, will assume the seat when he returns from his tour of duty in Iraq, in 2010.

Barack Obama promised "change we can believe in," and a new, transcendent style of politics that connects with the common man.

But he has stayed eerily silent on the topic of America's most nepotistic family, and perhaps the most wholly unqualified candidate to run for public office since, well, Caroline Kennedy's esteemed uncle.

Edward McCormick, Ted Kennedy's opponent in his 1962 battle for President Kennedy's vacant Senate seat, famously remarked, "If his name were Edward Moore ... with your qualifications, Teddy, your candidacy would be a joke."

Caroline Kennedy's record is even shorter than Uncle Teddy's -- fundraising for the American Ballet Theater, penning Kennedy-related books and serving on various nonprofit boards. 

The Democratic Party likes to pat itself on its collective back as the party of the poor, the oppressed, the downtrodden and those unable to help themselves. 

But they'd rather you not notice the tawdriness of the Biden and Kennedy tales, as well as the posturing over the president-elect's own vacant seat. 

To be sure, nepotism has handed us our most impotent president since Jimmy Carter (much more on that later).

But it also has come to define the modern Democratic Party. One not need look at just the Kennedys or Bidens, but the Clintons as well. Although Sen. Clinton has carved out her own niche in Congress, she carpetbagged her way to the United States Senate and has built her career on the coattails of her husband.

And this is the party throne to which Barack Obama has ascended. 

The president-elect is expected to assert that his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, did nothing wrong by merely suggesting to Gov. Blagojevich that Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett should be appointed to replace the Pope of Hope. But Jarrett has never before held public office. If Obama were interested in replacing the "politics as usual" that he spent so much time decrying, his office wouldn't have engaged in such behavior. Instead, he either would have chosen a candidate with any sort of meaningful record of public service in elected office, or worked with the Illinois Secretary of State's office to organize a special election.

Nor would Obama sit idly by as his vice-president has orchestrated a replacement system that smacks of brazen nepotism. He likewise would call for a qualified candidate to replace Sen. Clinton in New York, and doing so would immediately torpedo Caroline Kennedy's house of cards. 

He's the supposed leader of his party.

If you were one of the tens of millions who voted for Barack Obama, I'd like to paraphrase President Clinton's thoughts about the Changemaker:




Get over yourselves.

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