On the day Hillary Clinton was confirmed by a 94-2 vote as Secretary of State, thus defeating attempts at partisan payback by her husband's enemies, the New York media wolfpack claimed a prized scalp as Caroline Kennedy decided her privacy, fragile health of her uncle, family and indeed life itself was not worth the scrutiny circus that never ends and withdrew her name from consideration for Mrs. Clinton's former Senate seat.
What a shame.
As I watched the continuing long-running clip of a member of the New York's finest media photographers surround Bernie Madoff in a rugby scrum and deliberately poke/push him in the chest to elicit an angry and thus memorable photographic response, I wondered was there any length to which this group would fail to stoop? Not professing any sympathy for Mr. Madoff, Mrs. Kennedy was not ready to live in the 24/7 privacy depriving bubble of being a US Senator from the Empire State. New York chews up its famous and spits them out like tobacco juice. They build them up just for the sport of tearing them down.
As a lifelong fan of the Boston Red Sox, I grew up with the mantra (New York's) "Yankees Suck!" And when the former coach of my university's football team was fired because he put his name in for consideration for the open New York Jets coaching vacancy, I said, "Coach Jags, don't do it, you're too nice a guy, they will eat you alive!"
We are much the poorer for Ms. Kennedy's decision and all I could do was wonder how many truly worthy and selfless public servants never even consider running because of this environment where every minor gaffe is exploited for maximum air time.
Watching snippets of Timothy Geithner's hearing yesterday, I was appalled that the opposition party could make such a big deal out of his misinterpretation of a tax rule when all 536 member of the House and Senate require accountant assistance in filling our their own tax forms. Why? Because the code they created is so difficult and rules change so frequently that they would and do all fail their own IRS annual 'ease of understanding' test. And these are the people who make the tax laws!
Watching the clearly brilliant Geithner, our best hope for bringing accountability to the Bank bailout, squirm over this mistake should be criminal and yet this is what we have wrought, looking for headlines where none should exist. Taking our public servants and reducing their confirmation hearings to an episode of, "it's my 5 minutes on national telly and I'm taking every one of those 300 seconds to show my constituents how hard I work for them?!?"
So we took Caroline Kennedy, successful businesswoman, a leader in the publishing world, matriarch of a star crossed political dynasty, accomplished author, capable of vetting and assisting the President in his Vice Presidential search, a woman with more class in her little finger than most of both parties have in their entire corrupt bodies and allowed the media to dis and dismiss her for not passing the 'aaah' count test at a local Toastmasters meeting? Is this what we have become?
One of my favourite books the last few years is her brilliant collection of essays called A Patriot's Handbook. I have given it as a gift many times and think the media pack should take a look as well. At 500+ pages it was more weapon than book and I continually use it as a reference. The thought that went into the selection of each essay, poem or comment showed a depth of understanding of the peril our nation faced shortly after 9-11. She saw the Patriot Act, loss of Habeas Corpus, blatant executive branch power grabs and jingoistic flag wrapping of ourselves as truly dangerous acts. Her book continues to show one and all what true patriotism is about and her decision to try for the seat was a selfless act. Inspired by a new President with vision and wanting to serve him and the people of New York she sacrificed her privacy to serve her country and this is the thanks she got?
Good for you Mrs. Kennedy for putting family and sanity at the forefront instead of self. Shame on you New York and the national media. This is a truly sad day and New York's, our nation's and indeed the world's loss.
As was said at the untimely passing of your father, "Caroline (most of us) hardly knew you."