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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Ambassador Kennedy?

At the Washington Note today, Steve Clemons offers a way out of the strangely high-profile dispute over Caroline Kennedy’s aspiration to become the junior United States Senator from New York: Barack Obama should appoint her ambassador to the United Kingdom.
Steve doesn’t offer a whole lot of specific reasons for Kennedy’s suitability for this position. Indeed, he doesn’t even mention the fact that it was held by her grandfather, Joseph Kennedy, Sr., under the president so often being compared to Obama, Franklin D. Roosevelt. Maybe he doesn’t want to supplant one dynastic rationale with another.
But the idea does raise the broader issue of the series of appointments that Obama has yet to make: a vast number of ambassadorships. Given his huge low-dollar donor base, and his antipathy towards influence-peddlers, you have to figure that Obama is unlikely to follow the ancient pattern of handing over ambassadorial appointments to his most prominent campaign contributors. If that’s right, he will have a good opportunity to fill diplomatic posts with talented people who will do better overseas than in Washington, and even with career foreign service officers.
Maybe Caroline Kennedy meets the definition of “talented people who will do better overseas than in Washington.” Lord knows the British tabloids would focus on her incessantly, in a neat inversion of the U.S. fascination with the British royals. And there is obviously a bit of poetic justice in the idea of a U.S. president re-exporting “Camelot” to England, particularly in the person of an Irish-American.

One comment on “Ambassador Kennedy?

  1. ducdebrabant on

    Her grandfather was a notorious failure as Ambassador to the Court of St. James — an appeaser of Hitler, virtually a Nazi sympathizer. He was so much on the wrong side of history that his son Jack had to write “While England Slept” to clear the family slate. I can easily understand why his name would be unspoken in this context.


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