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Richard Laermer Headshot

Caroline Kennedy, We Hardly Know Y -- Wait, We Don't Know You At All!

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Caroline Kennedy

New Yorkers have always had an interesting relationship with future Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. We weren't quite sure what to make of it when she moved into our state -- apparently for the sole purpose of running for one of our senate seats -- and we really didn't know what to do with her during the now notorious race against Rick Lazio. We do know now -- as 2009 rolls out -- that for the most part we really like and admire the tough-as-nails Sen. Clinton, and that she has done a pretty good job in her role. She is battle-hardened enough to satisfy even the gruffest of NY dwellers, yet thoughtful enough to be genuine. We wish her well as a member of President Obama's cabinet.

With Senator Clinton soon to leave the legislative branch, our betwixted Gov. Patterson has to perform a Constitutionally-mandated duty of choosing the much-discussed newbie. This is an awe-inspiring and worthy task; just ask Governor F-Word! One perspective name that seems to be circulating through the hallowed and varied halls of New York is that of a certain Ms. Kennedy -- daughter of the last Obama. While Kennedy certainly meets the legal requirements to become a U.S. Senator, I have to wonder if she is up to the task of being one of New York's crucial legislators.

New Yorkers (like me since birth) strongly dislike non-authentic types. We don't do bullshit. If you aren't going to talk straight, we wish you'd get out of our way. There are millions of people in our state and surely someone will give us what we need. That said, when Ms. Kennedy gave an interview to the New York Times, she repeated the phrase "you know" an astounding 142 times. One hundred and forty two! I mean... Palin may have been a public catastrophe, but she has to be cackling now.

Ms. Kennedy, we don't know. We want to find out (preferably now) what qualifies you to be in the Senate as opposed to, say, a public servant at a lower level. We want to know why the interest to become a political figure? All of a sudden? Why after 50 years of "leave me alone and let me raise my children in peace"-iness are you so anxious to serve and be bugged by people like me. Mostly though, why you don't deserve comparisons to our dear friend from Alaska, who was ridiculed even by those who did not doubt her.

Objectively speaking, Mrs. Palin has infinitely more political experience than La Kennedy. Palin has been elected to municipal office and statewide office, two not small feats, and was (still is) widely lampooned as "not experienced enough" for a shot at Washington. If she lacks the stuff, what does Ms. Kennedy have besides the new president's nod to escape this double-standardized criticism?

Look, Caroline (can we call you Caroline?) -- fact is, we love Teddy. He's a good man We worshiped your Uncle Robert from afar. We adored Dad, and because we, like she, epitomized New York, we were infatuated with your mother. We want to like you too. But we're smart and see through the noise.

Please give us something of substance. And add a decent public speaking course to your resume. Or your argument stops at "Gee, my name is Kennedy... you know?"

I'm Richard Laermer of the book 2011: Trendspotting. More like this at