Posted elsewhere, I make the case that dynastic politics are messy to begin with, so why not inject a little fun into the mix? Philip’s got a solid case overall against Caroline Kennedy, which is why I think we’d be better off with Chelesea.
Drudge links to this wire story and puckishly asks why not have Chelsea fill in her mother’s shoes in the Senate? You may think this is an awful idea, but considering the options, I’d prefer a Clinton to a Kennedy.
The business of hereditary politics is an ugly one to be sure, and the cult of Camelot has animated the worst parts of the American imagination. That is to say, the public has been willing to overlook that little thing at Chappaquiddick and that other little thing with the car and the pole. It’s one thing to roll your eyes at the celebrities doing dumb things. It’s another thing to vote so they can continue representing you in Congress. Fine, Caroline Kennedy isn’t a drug-popping lush with a bad driving record, but since her name is all that commends her to become junior senator of the Empire state, perhaps we ought to consider how that name has helped out those who’ve shared it. Hey, maybe New York really wants a senator that comes with a last name that gives her a blank check from the bank of accountability. At least there won’t be a surcharge.
On the other hand, the Clintons have enjoyed no such insulation based on name alone. The impeached president got a pretty easy ride during his lame duck year, and the press is still refusing to revisit much of Pardongate and the roles played by certain Obama cabinet nominees. But the Clintons had already upset liberals with NAFTA and welfare reform, and, oh yes, torpedoing progress on healthcare for at least 10 years. They went even further by delaying the Inevitable One’s nomination by, gasp, having the nerve to continue running. The press had started out talking about how much Bill could help Hillary on the campaign trail, and by the end, they were saying that Bill was a liability.
The Clintons continually trip themselves up, even as the press is willing to forgive and forget. The Kennedys, on the other hand, operate from a political chair of Peter. I never thought I’d say it, but if we have to go the dynastic route, Chelsea Clinton is better for the Republic.
To go a step further, though, there is nothing funny about the Kennedys. They have a horrific curse that demands that the Kennedys will suffer untimely deaths, mostly from doing stupid things (pulling secret servicemen away from the convertible, playing football while skiing, flying a lightweight aircraft in a storm). You can’t make jokes about it, or if you do, it always elicits the “That’s not fair” look and makes you the outcast at all those cocktail parties Conor Friedersdorf is concerned about.
The Clintons, on the other hand, are a hoot. The only catch is that you then get accused of “Clinton Bashing,” even when you’re referring to documented facts of record (cigars, dresses, troopers, pardons, real estate). All I’m saying is that if Bubba starts fundraising for his little girl, it’s going to be a YouTube Christmas. A wonderful, hilarious YouTube Christmas.