Caroline Kennedy Has the Qualifications for the Senate

Whether she's the best choice is another matter.

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By Robert Schlesinger, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

I don't know if Caroline Kennedy is the best choice to be junior senator from my home state, and, as a general matter, I'm certainly not wild about senators getting elected by constituencies of one. But that said, I disagree with Thomas Jefferson Street colleague Bonnie Erbe regarding whether Caroline K. is qualified to serve.

"Caroline Kennedy is certainly not qualified for the office she seeks," Bonnie wrote this morning.

As Peter Roff (a GOPer) noted in our op-ed section earlier this week, Kennedy is certainly, strictly speaking, qualified. But Bonnie's presumably referring to her paper qualifications.

So take the name (and gender) out of the equation.

Our Senate wannabe has operated at very high levels in major philanthropic and nonprofit efforts, has written bestselling books about, among other things, constitutional law, and is a graduate of the country's No. 4 law school. And there are purely political considerations as well: This candidate is close to the popular president-elect, is fabulously wealthy in a state where running for office costs a bundle, and would be an instant political rock star (read: big money fundraiser) at a time when Senate Democrats have lost some of their biggest rainmakers (Barack Obama to the White House, Hillary Clinton to Foggy Bottom, Ted Kennedy presumably slowed down).

Is that résumé one to be taken seriously? Actually, yes.

Now, that doesn't mean there aren't other candidates who might be better suited for the seat or might have earned a shot at it in a way that Caroline Kennedy has not. And as I've written before, she still has to pass the Palin tTest. But she is legitimately in the conversation.

  • Read more by Robert Schlesinger.
  • Read more by Bonnie Erbe.
  • Read more from the Thomas Jefferson Street blog.
  • Read more about Caroline Kennedy.