Barack Obama is a happy, happy man today. He trounced his rivals for the Democratic nomination yesterday in South Carolina, and has the wind at his back as the rest of us all trudge toward Super Tuesday.
Tenured Radical has a post up that notes Caroline Kennedy’s endorsement of Obama this morning in the New York Times. The Radical one writes, “If the Kennedy family hits the campaign trail for Obama, it’s all over but the shouting, friends.” If the whole family–Senator Edward M., Congressman Patrick, and Lieutenant Governor Kathleen–you know, the Kennedys who are actually in politics–hits the trail for one candidate, that would make a statement. But, seriously: does anyone really care who Caroline Kennedy thinks should be the next President? (I suppose the title of CK’s op-ed piece should clue us in as to why her opinion should matter: “A President Like My Father.”) But, is being (tragically) the only survivor of your birth family something that should make your opinion matter? (It may matter to baby boomers and older people, but I don’t think she matter to my generation, or certainly to anyone under 30.)
Obama’s campaign benefits from the notion that he represents a break with the past, and from the tedious royalism of Bush-Clinton, Bush-Clinton that looms with the prospect of a Hillary Clinton presidency. Hauling out the genealogical blessing of Caroline Kennedy is trying to have it both ways (although it may be a canny maneuver because Clinton’s support tends to come from those who are 45 and older). But I thought that the Republican party was the party that celebrated and naturalized unearned privilege. Shouldn’t Democrats get over this worship of blood and family? Allons, enfants de la patrie…
UPDATE: Tenured Radical has a new post up noting that Senator Kennedy’s endorsement of Obama is confirmed, and she comments on Paul Krugman’s column this morning in which he comments on the lessons of 1992 for any Democrat elected president this year. Personally, I’ve never believed that Obama actually believes that he is a uniquely non-divisive person who can “unite the country.” This has always seemed like a shrewd way to differentiate himself from Senator Clinton, but I think (I hope?) he’s too smart to fall for his own rhetoric. Bill and Hillary Clinton were not divisive, their “sin” was that they won–in 1992, and again in 1996, and again in the failed impeachment of 1999. If he is elected, he and Michelle will be Public Enemies #1 and #2 in the right-wing playbook anyway, and Krugman’s column reminds us all that any new Democratic president had better understand that and be ready to swing for the fences on progressive policy.