Caroline Kennedy? What would Joseph Pulitzer say?

Caroline Kennedy, appointed to U. S. Senate?

When rumors spread that Robert Todd Lincoln, son of the assassinated president, Abraham Lincoln, was considering a political career on his own the ever vigilant American print media went ballistic.  No less than Joseph Pulitzer, himself, led an avalanche of stinging editorials warning that the emergence of Lincoln represented a dangerous threat to democracy and that any attempt at a political career would be fiercely opposed.

“True democracy makes no claims of birth or name,” wrote Pulitzer’s paper. “The merits of the man not the accident of his ancestry should be the passport to positions of public trust under a republican government.”  And as the specter of another Lincoln in public life grew more likely, the editorials grew more vicious.  “Rotten Republicanism has learned to reverse things that savor of monarchy and aristocracy,” the paper wrote, “It would transmit the Presidency as their fathers’ successors to crowns.” (New York World, May 10, 1884.)

Today, the same writers who opposed the nomination of Hillary Clinton on the grounds that she was trading on her name and bemoaned the damage to the country of the Bush dynasty are now silent on the imminent appointment of Caroline Kennedy to the U.S. Senate.

Media types who were outraged by the inexperience of Sarah Palin are now dewy eyed over the prospect of another Kennedy in power. 

But Sarah Palin had much more experience than Caroline Kennedy.  In a rather partisan and misleading segment shown at the top of an Evening News program, the network anchor interviewed their paid historian, asking if Palin were qualified.  “Actually,” Michael Bechloss intoned with a straight face, “Palin would be the first vice president who has not met with a foreign head of state since Pearl Harbor.”

A more relevant and more fair historic analysis would have pointed out that, love her or hate her, Sarah Palin’s service as a small town mayor and two years as governor, with an 80 % approval rating by her citizens, need not have been terribly troubling to the electorate.  Considering that Theodore Roosevelt was a governor for only two years before taking on the vice presidency and then later moving into the White House.  And Woodrow Wilson was a governor for two years before becoming president.  Roosevelt and Wilson are almost always ranked among the five greatest presidents in American history.

But Caroline Kennedy?  Appointed to the U.S. Senate?

There will be no Saturday Night Live skits calling a fat girl fat, or in this case, having a goofy Kennedy impersonator mumbling “and eh, you know?” ala Mrs. Kennedy in her soft ball interview with a local, handpicked, media person.  Rather expect SNL to offer backhanded compliments.  Nor will there be a condescending, I’m-the-principal-and-you-are-the-student interrogation from a news anchor.  Or a gotcha interview with a top journalist.

 This is a real, live, royal, coronation, folks.  And, those “watchdogs of American democracy,” will be lining the road with flowers and winks.

Actually, Mrs. Kennedy’s interview with the handpicked, local media person, with the pre-approved questions, was rather revealing.  She managed to survive the frightening question, “What would your mother think?”  But she blew the next one, “What would your brother think?”

Said Mrs. Kennedy, “He would laugh his head off.”

Really?  Why?  Is she so unqualified that he wouldn’t be able to picture it?

But Mrs. Kennedy had regained her political savvy and offered an explanation, “Because that’s the way our relationship was.”  We were not allowed to probe further.

Caroline Kennedy is my favorite Kennedy.  She has done well as a child of a president.  Her stature has transcended her White House experience.  No easy feat.  She is almost a social and philanthropic institution. 

And it is true, that a perfect storm is upon us, that Republicans dare not complain, they have had their own dynasty.  And who in the GOP wants the Bush family as enemies?  And the Democrats have their Clintons.  So we have this rare moment, when no partisan checks or balances are in play, and we have a historical version of “dynasties gone wild.” 

But none of that excuses this irresponsible abdication of duty by the national media.  The contrast with their partisan mugging of Sarah Palin is breathtaking in its hypocrisy.

For everything on children of presidents see…


Published by Doug Wead

Doug Wead is a New York Times bestselling author whose latest book, Game of Thorns, is about the Trump-Clinton 2016 election. He served as an adviser to two American presidents and was a special assistant to the president in the George H.W. Bush White House.

9 thoughts on “Caroline Kennedy? What would Joseph Pulitzer say?

  1. I think the more savvy will say that the media will not be doing Mrs. Kennedy a favor by “giving her a pass.” But that is exactly what they will do.

    And yet, they have set such a high standard of experience by their treatment of Sarah Palin and their rigorous cross examination of her was so shameless. There is no way that they will do the same to Mrs. Kennedy, and to be truthful, the “mugging” as you put it, of Palin was so vioilent I wouldn’t want to see anyone else go through it again.

    Bottom line? The media doesn’t really care what its more attendant audience thinks. It plays to the masses and it will let the critics call this moment “hypocrisy” and take those lumps and go right on. Palin no, Kennedy yes. Is it fair? No it is the arrogance and the religious and cultural bigotry of the fourth estate.

  2. Conservatives have a bad track record on a lot of things these days, but liberals are the heavyweight champions of hypocrisy and double standards.

    To thine own self be true, except when it’s politically expedient or when money is involved…. Shakespeare

    I was on my high school student council for one semester, and I think I’m ready to grab myself a senate seat.

  3. The fact is, and will always remain, that the name Sarah Palin and Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, can never be uttered in the same sentence when even vaguely or lamely attempting to compare intelligence, readiness or even a vague appreciation of what the real world is like outside of Wasilla Alaska. I for one will always choose to pick the person that is most capable of dealing with the bigger and wider picture at hand. Sarah Palin fits none of these bills. As a native New Yorker, who does not necessarily think that Caroline Kennedy should slide into this position, I really wish that everyone would just leave this up to NEW YORK STATE, to make it’s own decision.

    Sarah Palin was poised to be one step away from the Presidency. At best, Caroline Kennedy could only hope to appointed to the Junior Senate seat from the State of New York. In my eyes there is a VERY big difference.

    Leave Sarah to handle her own mess that is beginning to unravel right before her eyes all the way on the other side of the United States. The State of Alaska is rift with greed and avarice and she is once again front and center of it all.

    Thank you for allowing me to post my opposing views here.



  4. Why does it seem like today’s Democratic Party expresses latent Loyalist genes that have re-asserted themselves in the past quarter century? All this talk of predestination, political bloodlines and that the US needs to become more like Europe – it’s like the Revolutionary War never really got settled, internally.

  5. It is interesting that almost a year ago Wead wrote about the impact of Caroline Kennedy endorsing Obama. I wonder how that impacted the move for her to fill the seat vacated by his opponent at the time of that endorsement?
    And interesting too, how once foes are all becoming one big “happy family”.

  6. One really needs to remember that Caroline actually is a lawyer, and that she has written a very fine book on constitutional protections. It’s not like she has never done anything with her life. I don’t know how she will do, but I, for one, would LOVE for her to do well. Guess we’ll see.

  7. Look, I have nothing against Caroline Kennedy and wish her well. But there are tens of thousands of attorneys in this country and her books were a bore, poorly researched, no new breaking ground, a rehash of facts on record and probably ghosted like most books by public figures and yet hyped by the same media that wants us to accept she is qualified as a Senator and should have the seat, even without so much as serving in the State House.

  8. Wow, there’s not a political celeb butt that isn’t suitable for Doug to kiss, is there? Hehe

    So please, what has Mrs. Schlossberg accomplished in her life that would make her a suitable senator?

    By the way, as a resident of New York, I am entitled to ask this question.

    Let’s see, she earned a law degree and inherited a lot of money from her mother and father.

    Hmm, my brother has done the same thing and he’s in no way qualified to be a senator of ANY state.

    My wife, who also happens to be an attorney, asks when and where DID Mrs. S. ever practice law?

    Mrs. S. never worked for a law firm. Imagine that. In fact, I’ll bet she has never tried a case in a court of law in her life, much like that bobbleheaded dead brother of hers, who took at least 4 or 5 tries to pass his NY bar exam.

    Everything she has is due to her name only and not because of any individual merit or accomplishment that rises to a level of being worthy of high political office.

    Plus, I will wager that her books were mostly ghost written. Celebs with book deals never do the heavy lifting during the writing stage.

    I’m sure that Doug would agree that of the entire Kennedy clan, the poor suffering women have proven themselves to be the most admirable and decent, unlike their philandering men folk.

  9. The postscript to this near-fiasco is that our dear little Caroline has withdrawn her name from contention, likely for some true reason that isn’t being divulged to the public.

    Now she can return to her perfect life of symbolic do-gooder activism using her family’s name and money.

    All these years, I wonder what her grandfather Joe Sr., a tried-and-true Boston Irish Catholic, would have thought of her marrying a Jew.

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