The Campaign Spot

Satisfy the Ghosts that Haunt Newspaper Columnists! Appoint Caroline Kennedy!

Is it possible to write a column defending the appointment of Caroline Kennedy as the next senator from the state of New York without references to her father, ghosts, spirits of the past, etc.? Can anybody write an 800-word column that stays in the here and now, instead of the hereafter?

Michael Daly’s effort in the New York Daily News veers into unintentional self-parody:

A moment came as Caroline Kennedy was at the podium, endorsing Barack Obama, when she tipped her head and smiled just like her father.
At that instant she seemed to fill with her father’s spirit, the spirit she had seen in Obama, the spirit propelling her to step from the carefully private existence her mother had worked so hard to make possible . . .
Then, as she endorsed Obama before the TV cameras at American University, there came that moment when she suddenly seemed so much like her father.
I saw that and thought back to my boyhood, to Nov. 13, 1963, when I was a White House junior host and stood on the South Lawn, listening to the pipers of the Black Watch Royal Highland Regiment of Scotland.
President John F. Kennedy watched from the lower balcony, sitting while his daughter stood at his right shoulder, a little girl delighted to be with her daddy.
Nine days later, a twisted loner with a rifle changed the world. I returned to the White House on Nov. 24 and stood with my father and brother staring at the flag-covered coffin. I remember thinking that the coffin was much too small to hold what had meant so much to so many.
The coffin held the man, but the spirit lives and now comes back to us in the hearts of all who are hopeful. The spirit is most unmistakable in his daughter, who is inspired to set aside her plans and join in the effort to do great things that suddenly seem possible.

Daly also shares how he knows her personally, he worked on a book with her, and she met his father in Ireland and couldn’t have been nicer, and all of that is why she ought to be appointed senator.

Does anyone know much about her views? Beyond, as Daly puts it, “Her work for the city Education Department proves she grasps the importance of schooling.” (How many senatorial candidates do not grasp the importance of schooling? Anyone ever get elected on an “I want to shut down all the schools” platform?) What did she do there that stands out, that represents some sort of unique or attention-worthy accomplishment?

The sudden enthusiasm for this is strange, considering we’re at the time of year when we have our annual fights about creches in the public square and whether kids can sing carols that mention Christmas at the school “Holiday Concert,” etc. We’re supposed to expunge public life of references to religion, and God and the afterlife, etc., while at the same time, we are to appoint a woman a senator because somewhere, her father will look down upon us from the great beyond and smile.


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