Bloomberg Maneuvers to Crown a Kennedy

Who's Caroline's daddy?

The dissembling that misrepresents Kennedy's DOE service has been extended to every phase of her life. She told the Times: "I've written seven books—two on the Constitution, two on American politics." But she's penned only two (both with a co-author who is, unlike her, a legal scholar), and edited five others that were collections of everything from her mother's favorite poems to other writers' essays about political courage. She has repeatedly referred to herself as a lawyer in her recent appearances, though she's never practiced law and even let her registration with the Bar Association lapse for years.

Though she wrote in A Patriot's Handbook that "the day I feel most proud to be an American is not the Fourth of July, but Election Day," she's missed half of the elections since 1988. She even failed to vote in 1994 for her in-law Mario Cuomo, when at least four other Kennedys campaigned for Cuomo in the race of his life. She skipped the Democratic primary in 1989, when David Dinkins was the first black person nominated for mayor, and the general election in 2002, when Carl McCall was the first black person ever to appear on the statewide gubernatorial ballot as the candidate of a major party. She didn't vote when Liz Krueger broke the three-decade hold the GOP had on the East Side state senate district in two 2002 elections (a February special and a November general) that propelled Paterson to become minority leader later that year. Yet she expects the state's first black governor to put her in the Senate, ignoring the contradiction between her published declaration—written at the very same moment that she missed the 2002 election—that the "right to vote is perhaps the critical right in a democracy, an opportunity as well as an obligation."

The campaign that she and Bloomberg have conducted for this appointment is a campaign of prevarication. Its assumption is that David Paterson, who was first installed in the Senate two decades ago by a Harlem-based Democratic county committee when the incumbent died, and who rose to governor when another incumbent quit in disgrace, is too weak and uneasy about the challenge that awaits him in 2010 to do anything but knuckle under to their cabal. They believe Paterson will see Bloomberg and Kennedy's political marriage as a lucrative source of potential contributions for his own campaign, though Kennedy has given almost as little to New York Democrats as she has to its public school children, and Bloomberg has only bankrolled Republicans.

Caroline Kennedy and her barker, Mike Bloomberg
Paul Hawthorne/Staff
Caroline Kennedy and her barker, Mike Bloomberg

While they would never have mounted a Kennedy campaign in a normal election year, with a candidate so raw and uncertain, they clearly see Paterson's appointment process as tailor-made. It is, after all, precisely the kind of democracy Bloomberg likes best: a decision made by one man—or, in the case of term limits, by a small and vulnerable council—in the sort of moment when the power of titans always seems to prevail.

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