The latest episode in the Caroline Kennedy
something-or-other Schlossberg soap opera is her New York Times interview, published this past weekend, where she repeatedly used the phrase “you know,” which is a fundamental building block of speech for college athletes, but apparently quite unbecoming for a member of American royalty who is also potential US Senate material.
But she is still a Kennedy, and a die-hard Democrat. Why is the press suddenly picking on her? Why aren’t they busy building the fairy tale narrative, highlighting her connection to “Camelot,” her years of public service and her strong support for Barack Obama’s “hope and change,” and firmly standing behind her?
I think — I hope — the answer has something to do with Gov. Sarah Palin, and the nasty way that she was manhandled by the press immediately following her nomination as John McCain’s running mate. Never before has contemporary America witnessed such a thorough trashing of a political candidate within such a comparatively short time frame.
Perhaps the press now realizes (much to their dismay) that they have created a somewhat monstrous precedent that they will be expected to follow. Almost from the moment that Mrs. Schlossberg’s maiden name was floated as a potential Senate nominee, conservative watchdogs demanded that she be probed and questioned to the same extent as Gov. Palin. There was a brief honeymoon period, to be sure, but when the press finally began asking her some relatively hard questions, she conspicuously underperformed. Some are calling the NYT interview her “Roger Mudd moment.”
While the press has not run Mrs. Schlossberg through the wringer nearly as viciously as Gov. Palin, their pedantic obsession Mrs. Scholssberg’s verbal tics seems to indicate that, at least for the time being, she has fallen off the radar as a potential Senate nominee — even as a Kennedy, even as a Democrat.
And it would be almost an understatement to say that Democrats as a whole have been under-impressed with Mrs. Schlossberg. This is probably the most striking contrast between Mrs. Schlossberg and Gov. Palin. Even though Gov. Palin was ripped almost on a daily basis by the press, Republicans never soured on her; in fact, the worse she was treated by the press, the stronger her support among Republicans became. Republicans, the natural adversaries of the press, saw its loathing of Sarah Palin as a badge of honor. On the other hand, when a Democrat loses the support of friends in the press, it’s all over.
That pesky word Schadenfreude … it just keeps popping up, doesn’t it?