The Princess and the Senate

By Ross Douthat

Chris Smith finds a novel way of expressing skepticism about Caroline Kennedy's decision to pursue her birthright an appointment to the U.S. Senate:
 

... the plot has some weaknesses. Perhaps it's still possible to be a different kind of senator, in the Paul Simon-Pat Moynihan mold: a legislator-intellectual, above and in the fray at the same time, who leaves office with his good name intact. Caroline Kennedy's desire to deploy her brains and her celebrity on a grander stage, primarily in service of public education, is admirable. But even if her motives are pure, and even if she's able to navigate the swamp of modern politics, there'd be something sad about seeing her subjected to all the grubby gossiping and money-hustling that the job inevitably entails. We'd be gaining a senator, possibly even a good one. But we'd be losing an icon.

I didn't think it was possible, but in a sense Smith has managed to out-Marcus Ruth Marcus: He's taken her starstruck case that Caroline Kennedy should get a Senate seat handed to her a silver platter because, well, she's an American Princess and turned it into an argument that Kennedy shouldn't take the seat because her fairy princess-y combination of gifts (she's a icon-cum-intellectual, a celebrity brainiac Cinderella, and she has a servant's heart besides) makes her way too good for the job!

(Because if there's a name that screams "too pure for the grubbiness of politics," it's definitely Kennedy ...)

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/personal/archive/2008/12/the-princess-and-the-senate/55866/