It was inevitable now that Caroline Kennedy is actively campaigning to replace Hillary Clinton as the junior senator from New York that a parallel would be drawn between her and Sara Palin.
Those on the right complain that simply because she is a Kennedy, Caroline doesn't have to endure the same type of scrutiny that Palin did, particularly regarding qualification for office. This is an utterly predictable complaint, but I am not sure that it makes it any less valid.
The facts in this case tend toward supporting the existence of a double standard and arguments against such a standard made by those on the left are accordingly weaker. Check out this post by BooMan which breezily dismisses Palin's service as mayor and governor while arguing that Kennedy is qualified on the basis of her ability to write a term paper on any public policy issue.
Given this astounding ability, I'm thinking Kennedy is a lock for the Foreign Relations committee. I mean, think about it, if Iranian President Ahmadinejad's kid needs a term paper on Western Imperialism for his senior project at the madrasah Kennedy could crank it out in exchange for concessions on Iranian nuclear weapons.
Forget the comparisons with Palin. Unless touch football at the compound and drinks with Boston's elite make you qualified for the senate, Caroline is not. Of course, this may be how other members of the Kennedy clan entered public life.
I think the real problem here is that a sense of entitlement exists among many in the senate and many aspiring to join that body. This is a strictly bipartisan phenomenon, as it exists among democrats and republicans alike. Every six years they come back home, hold some rallies, whip up the party faithful and return to Washington, again and again and again.
Some republicans have already paid a price for this attitude and no doubt some democrats will suffer the same fate, since some type of legislative overreach is a very real possibility under the Pelosi/Reed regime.
If they were to come back today, I'm not sure the earlier generation of Progressives who fought for direct election of Senators would recognize that body as one serving the interests of the people. The way it is constituted today, I'm not sure that that it can.
OK Palin-haters, and I know you are out there, leave a comment and tell me why I am wrong and Kennedy is perfectly qualified to serve in the Senate and Palin wasn't qualified to serve as VP.