Thoughts from a Yellow Dog Democrat living in Olympia, in the great BLUE state of Washington

I am a liberal because it is the political philosophy of freedom and equality. And I am a progressive because it is the political path to a better future. And I am a Democrat because it is the political party that believes in freedom, equality and progress. -- Digby

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Caroline Kennedy is Qualified

I don't understand why a smart, educated, poised young woman who happens to be a Constitutional lawyer and has written 6 books on the Constitution and our Courts is being nagged with these questions of how she's qualified. What's wrong with these people?

Where were they when Liddy Dole decided to be a Senator? What were Margaret Chase Smith's unique qualifications? Where were the calls for bona vides from Jean Carnahan who said she would represent Missouri in the US Senate, if her late husband, Mel Carnahan won the election? Here's a smart essay on other women who went to Congress or the Senate based on nothing more than they were the widow or daughter of the person who previous held that seat:
. . .12 were widows who succeeded their late husbands. Three women directly succeeded their fathers: Representatives Susan Molinari of New York, and Lucille Roybal-Allard of California, and Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.
The elections of Jo Ann Emerson of Missouri, Lois Capps of California, and Mary Bono of California—each succeeding her late husband—to the House between January 1997 and April 1998 were portrayed by the national media as a testament to the power of the marital connection. . . . Earlier widows in Congress, such as Mae Ella Nolan of California, Katharine Byron of Maryland, and Irene Baker of Tennessee, were to various degrees involved in their husbands’ political careers. . . . in 1998, Lois Capps succeeded her late husband, Walter, a theology professor-turned politician. Having worked as a nurse and medical administrator for decades, Capps eschewed her husband’s focus on religious issues and became an advocate for health care professionals and reform within the industry. . .

We have a long history of putting women in seats of power based solely on their family connections. It used to be the only way a woman COULD achieve these positions (this happened even in private or public companies). Many of these women were wildly successful.

Now times have changed and women are able on their own accomplishments to have success but when a qualified and smart woman wants to throw her hat in the ring it seems like because her name is Kennedy it's being held against her. I don't understand it.

This isn't a solely USA phenomen: Was Indira Gandhi the MOST qualified person to lead India after her father Nehru? Probably not, but she successfully led that country for 11 years until her assassination.

Caroline Kennedy is qualified and it would be wonderful to see her more active on a national basis. Anybody that ignores her qualifications is a sexist.


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