The New York Times‘ coverage of Caroline Kennedy’s first outing as a Senate candidate can hardly be what the Ms. Kennedy or her supporters had in mind.
In fact, the story’s headline —–In Appearance Upstate, Kennedy Says Little— is really quite generous because it is based on a Clintonian parsing. It is true that Ms. Kennedy spoke ten words (“Hopefully I can come back and answer all those questions”). But it is also true that she said nothing.
For Team Kennedy, the unkindest cut of all has to be the linkage in the first sentence of the Times‘ first paragraph:
In a carefully controlled strategy reminiscent of the vice-presidential hopeful Sarah Palin, aides to Caroline Kennedy interrupted her on Wednesday and whisked her away when she was asked what her qualifications are to be a United States senator.
In her first public appearance since letting it be known that wants to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton, Ms. Kennedy emerged from a closed-door meeting with Matthew J. Driscoll, the mayor of Syracuse, where about a dozen reporters were waiting.
She offered a 30-second statement saying that she would respect the process undertaken by Gov. David A. Patterson to fill the vacancy.
Then, as reporters asked why Ms. Kennedy was seeking the Senate seat and whether she was ready, she did not answer, then walked away, heading toward a waiting black sport-utility vehicle.
When one reporter asked what she would tell New Yorkers who question whether she has the qualifications for the job, Ms. Kennedy, 51, started to respond. But then an aide stopped her from saying more, and led her to the waiting vehicle.
“Hopefully I can come back and answer all those questions,” she called out as she got into the S.U.V.
Of course what’s really going on behind the scenes both in New York and Washington is a titanic power struggle between Obaman and Clintonian forces for the soul of the Obama administration and the future of the Democratic Party.
Ms. Kennedy, having committed the lese majeste of endorsing Senator Obama during the primaries, now wants to add insult to injury by usurping filling Senator Clinton’s seat. This is something the Clintonians (whose sense of entitlement surpasses even that of the Kennedys) aren’t about to countenance.
It’s hard to know just how much POTUSE Obama is even aware of all this, because his phone calls are now being screened taken by Betty Curry, President Clinton’s White House secretary.
And Governor Patterson, who will have to make the decision about whom to appoint, seems to be temporarily distracted by his recent impersonation on Saturday Night Live in a segment that made cruel and gratuitous fun of disabled people in general and blind people in particular.