No foolin’. It’s all about the “wherewithal.”
In recent days the Massachusetts senator has called Gov. David A. Paterson and Senator Charles E. Schumer, as well as Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, who took over last month as head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee when Mr. Schumer stepped down.
Mr. Kennedy’s message, according to Democratic aides who were not authorized to discuss the conversations, is that Ms. Kennedy — backed by the Kennedy family’s extensive fund-raising network — would have the wherewithal to run back-to-back costly statewide races without having to seek help from Mr. Paterson or Mr. Schumer.
The ability to raise significant money is a key concern for Mr. Paterson, who has been deluged from every direction by politicians interested in the seat, which the governor is expected to fill early next year. Whoever is chosen will have to run in 2010 and again two years later.
Believe it or not, this is only the second most offensive pro-Caroline pitch of the day; Ruth Marcus’s ineffably humiliating tribute to the “fairy tale” appeal of our “tragic national princess” takes the prize. See Ross Douthat for a reply, or Richard Bradley at Slate for a primer on Caroline’s career. Not much of substance, not much by way of fraternizing with the hoi polloi, but loads of “ceremonial” duties aimed at glorifying the family name. There’s no purer example of noblesse oblige in American life that I can think of. Why not hand her a Senate seat? Elections are for proles.
Remember, Teddy also reportedly wants his wife to inherit — and that is the right word — his own seat once he retires, so at this point the number of Kennedys in the Senate is capped mainly by their own reproductive capacity. I’ve mentioned this before, but I still can’t quite get over a guy who campaigned against the Clintons’ dynastic politics hooking up with a family that considers itself a quasi-congenital aristocracy. They need each other, I guess: The Kennedys get “authenticity” and popular vogue from Obama’s race and mass appeal while The One gets some extra polish on his halo from being crowned rightful heir to JFK. What a joke to have the ultimate self-made man, who beat centuries of prejudice, followed to the Senate by a female dauphin installed in a sinecure. They’re like two sides of Hillary, split.
Update: Teddy’s office issues the perfunctory denial.
Update: From the comments, a point I should have made myself in light of today’s other news: “There’s more than one way to buy a Senate seat.”