“Let them eat cake!”
Those infamous words were unjustly attributed to Marie Antoinette who died on the guillotine in 1793. The beautiful French queen supposedly uttered that statement after being told the populace had no bread. The phrase was indicative of her out-of-touch attitude and sense of entitlement that made her immensely unpopular with the French people and no doubt led to her demise and that of the monarchy.
This unbecoming attitude resurfaced last month in the unlikely form of Caroline Bouvier Kennedy, the daughter of the late President John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis.
This attitude should not be surprising from someone who was born into fame, gifted with incredible good looks and inherited two enormous fortunes.
It’s just that we’ve seen so little of Caroline since the Camelot days in the White House when she cavorted with her pony, enjoyed speedboat rides off Hyannis Port with her charismatic father or shyly clung to her protective mother’s skirt, we’ve come to think of her as the nation’s little princess, quiet, unassuming, without blemish or guile.
Now that she’s coming forward to demand a coronation, we are shocked and dismayed that she wants to be elevated to one of the 100 most important offices in the United States merely because of her last name and her father’s sacrifice.
Previously, Caroline Kennedy’s public moments were carefully choreographed. Now that she is on her own, her sentences are inarticulate and jarring. Sounding more like a “valley girl” than an educated socialite in her 50s, Kennedy can barely put two words together. When The New York Times asked her to explain why she would be a good senator for the state of New York she floundered:
“So I think in many ways, you know, we want to have all kinds of different voices, you know, representing us, and I think what I bring to it is, you know, my experience as a mother, as a woman, as a lawyer, you know. I’ve been an education activist for the last six years here, and you know, I’ve written seven books – two on the Constitution, two on American politics, so obviously, you know, we have different strengths and weaknesses.”
Let’s cut to the chase. Kennedy has a law degree but never “practiced” law. She coauthored two books on constitutional law, “In our Defense: The Bill of Rights in Action” and “The Right to Privacy” with fellow law grad Ellen Alderman. After hearing Kennedy speak, one wonders just how much she contributed to those books.
Kennedy authored one book on her own, “A Family Christmas,” which is a collection of poems, prose and personal notes from her family history. She is credited with editing others like “The Best-Loved Poems of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.” Not exactly rocket science!
Kennedy is the mother of three children and has lived what appears to be a good and quiet life. She has promoted the Kennedy name and has devoted herself to charitable causes which is what is expected of anyone with such wealth and name recognition. (She has declined to release her tax returns so we don’t know how generous she has been with her own money.) She has sat on the boards of organizations anxious to exploit the Kennedy name. In short, she has been at the right events, smiled at the right times and has rubbed elbows with the rich and famous.
In the last six years, she has worked to build her reputation as an “education advocate.” What does that mean? It means she was given a volunteer job calling up rich people to ask them to, you know, give money to New York’s public schools. It’s an opportunity for rich people to identify with a Kennedy and a cheap way for her to identify with the “little people” who are trapped in our failing public schools.
Calling Caroline Kennedy, who was educated in posh private schools and sent her children to private schools, an advocate for education is like saying Rosie O’Donnell is an advocate for the malnourished.
Not surprising, Kennedy is against school vouchers, which would give the “little people” of New York and elsewhere a chance to send their children to a good private school, that can offer a better education at half the price than the union-controlled public schools.
Caroline Kennedy – who has never had a real job or a real career, at least not for very long – who has shunned any opportunity to interact with poor working stiffs, now believes they need her to represent them.
Appoint her, and she will let them, you know, eat cake!