New Yorkers Deserve Better Than the Palin Treatment

As if aristocracy wasn’t enough of an insult to voters, Caroline Kennedy is giving New Yorkers the Sarah Palin treatment.

In a carefully controlled strategy reminiscent of the vice-presidential hopeful Sarah Palin, aides to Caroline Kennedy interrupted her on Wednesday and whisked her away when she was asked what her qualifications are to be a United States senator.

In her first public appearance since letting it be known that she wants to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton, Ms. Kennedy emerged from a closed-door meeting with Matthew J. Driscoll, the mayor of Syracuse, where about a dozen reporters were waiting.

She offered a 30-second statement saying that she would respect the process undertaken by Gov. David A. Paterson to fill the vacancy.

Then, as reporters asked why Ms. Kennedy was seeking the Senate seat and whether she was ready, she did not answer, then walked away, heading toward a waiting black sport-utility vehicle.

When one reporter asked what she would tell New Yorkers who question whether she has the qualifications for the job, Ms. Kennedy, 51, started to respond. But then an aide stopped her from saying more, and led her to the waiting vehicle.

“Hopefully I can come back and answer all those questions,” she called out as she got into the S.U.V.

I’m sure her handlers, lead by former Lieberman consultant Josh Isay, think not saying anything to anyone in public about her qualifications or aspirations for New York’s Senate seat is a great idea. But sweet merciful jeebus it’s offensive.

Voters don’t get to have a say in Governor Paterson’s selection. But Kennedy should at least treat New Yorkers with enough respect to answer questions, speak in public, and make a case to the people she seeks to represent. Maybe she hasn’t realized it yet, but that extends beyond the Empire State’s political power brokers (no matter what part of the state she’s in).

I don’t live in New York anymore, but this stuff is really getting me angry.

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