Let me begin with a confession. I was more charitable towards Sarah Palin, when she was picked as McCain's running mate, than I would have been if the Democratic nominee had chosen someone similar. In a now famous series of interviews, Governor Palin looked, well, not ready for prime time. My bad. But that being said, consider that Sarah Palin was Governor of a state. She also sported some very attractive spectacles.
Now consider Caroline Kennedy, the apparent replacement for Hillary Clinton as the next Senator of New York. Here I will point out that I praised Ms. Clinton for going to New York, carpet bag in hand, and earning her way back onto the national stage. That's more than Jesse Jackson ever did. But Caroline Kennedy is something else.
Ms. Kennedy is apparently New York Governor David A. Paterson's pick for his state's empty Senate seat. Should she be appointed, it looks like the seat will remain empty. The New York Times interviewed Ms. Kennedy, and she, you know, flubbed it. Here is a summary that you have to go to the London Times to get:
Caroline Kennedy's quest to enter the US Senate has suffered a self-inflicted blow in a series of interviews in which she can only be described as . . . um . . . excruciatingly, you know, unerudite.
During a series of meetings with the New York press, one of which was recorded and is now being admired on YouTube in all its ineloquent awkwardness, the daughter of President Kennedy was vague, unconvincing and displayed a potentially ruinous verbal tic.
In one sequence, lasting 2 minutes and 27 seconds, Ms Kennedy, 51, revealed that she had inherited none of the eloquence, energy or charisma associated with other members of America's foremost political dynasty: she used the phrase "you know" no fewer than 30 times.
Yesterday The New York Times, which published the interview with Ms Kennedy on Sunday – calling her forceful, but vague and largely undefined – released the full 8,500-word transcript of the encounter, revealing a verbal landscape knee-deep in "you knows". She used the phrase a grand total of 144 times.
All the warning signs of stupid. If you don't believe me, check out the, um, you know, YouTube video. Or check out the full transcript at the New York Times. Let me get this straight. Caroline Kennedy has never run for, let alone been elected to, any political office. Not even one of those unimportant states like Alaska. In fact, she hasn't even bothered to vote in half the elections since she has been eligible to vote. She talks like she was doing a Saturday Night Live parody of a New York Street Sweeper. Her sole qualification for the office is her last name.
Hillary Clinton should be deeply offended that this is her possible replacement. Is this all the office is worth? A dock for celebrities? Whose next: Brittney Spears? The Democratic National Party should be raising a ruckus. So should the New York Press. But so far, only Michael Goodwin, at the New York Daily News seems to care.