Caroline Kennedy Splitting Opinion in Pursuit of Senate Seat

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That one ring on Anne Hathaway's finger could probably pay off half of these debts. Unfortunately, she's now out of the picture. Photo: Getty Images

It's been simmering just out of the public eye for weeks, but now Caroline Kennedy is making it known that she is actually quite keen on occupying Hillary Clinton's Senate seat. This has sparked a debate not only on Kennedy's qualifications, but on her name itself. We're not an aristocracy, her detractors fume. She may be a perfectly nice lady, but in this country we call America, we don't give someone a Senate seat just because they have a magical last name. On the other hand, her supporters say, it's also unfair to not consider her simply because we're jealous of the advantages of being a Kennedy. She's done things, okay? Not things you're aware of or that she was elected to do, but things like raising money for schools and writing books and being a good mom. And, also, since you mentioned it, she's a Kennedy.

• Mark Schone is "hoping she reconsiders, and/or that Gov. David Paterson appoints somebody better suited for the post," not because Kennedy isn't committed to public service, but because "the only line on her CV that truly recommends her for the post is the one at the top: her name." All Kennedy can offer is "celebrity and good intentions." [War Room/Salon]

• Steve Benen isn't particularly "a fan of family dynasties, and I'm even less comfortable when dynasties are continued through appointments." But he doesn't discount the possibility "that Caroline Kennedy would be a fantastic senator and a champion of values and issues I hold dear." The problem is that we just don't "really know much about her, other than her last name, and some of the work she did in support of the Obama campaign." [Political Animal/Washington Monthly]

• Chris Cillizza reports that backers of Hillary Clinton are still miffed that Kennedy endorsed Barack Obama for president and are concerned "that Clinton's Senate seat would be handed off to a New Yorker who didn't support her national bid." [Fix/WP]

• Karen Tumulty says it's possible that if Kennedy is appointed by Paterson — who, at this point, "might feel that he has to [appoint her] now that Kennedy has thrown her hat into the ring" — she may not even like the job. One downside is that because she'd have to run in 2010 and again in 2012, "she would be in virtual campaign mode for her first four years in office." [Time]

• George Stephanopoulos also hears that "it would be difficult, if not impossible, for the governor to say no." [George's Bottom Line/ABC News]

• Jane Hamsher doesn't appreciate Kennedy's sense of entitlement. "It appears Ms. Kennedy thinks that US Senate seats are something to [be] lobbied for amongst political elites when one decides one wants them, and that the public should be happy to simply fall in line." [HuffPo]

• Michael Daly writes glowingly of Kennedy's character and claims "that much more than her surname makes her exactly the right person to follow her father and uncles to the Senate." [NYDN]

• Steve Kornacki resents the advantages that Caroline Kennedy and all the other Kennedys see because of their last name. "If Caroline Kennedy goes to the Senate, she may end up surrounded by family. That’s how it goes when you’re a Kennedy." [NYO]

• The Daily News editorial board doesn't think we should dismiss Kennedy, as she's "racked up achievements that should neither be magnified nor be diminished just because of her heritage." We should "evaluate Kennedy's merits and demerits on a scale with all others who demand consideration." [NYDN]

• The Post editorial board officially endorses Kennedy for the seat, specifically touting the power that her name entails. "As the only surviving child of President John Kennedy, she'd enter the Senate with considerably more political clout than the average freshman." Her selection would also demonstrate "Paterson's willingness to reject the politics of pander and special-interest pressures merely to satisfy some ethnic or geographic quota." [NYP]