President Obama today nominated Caroline Kennedy to be ambassador to Japan, repaying a debt he has long owed the Kennedys and giving Caroline her first senior level role in government.
It’s not clear what qualifications she has – other than being Caroline Kennedy – for what is potentially much more than the kind of symbolic ambassadorial position often given to political benefactors.
Japan is at the center of a new U.S. strategic approach that seeks to beef up our presence in Asia to counter China. But then again, Hillary Clinton didn’t have any qualifications for a major foreign policy post and Obama made her Secretary of State, so, whatever.
The endorsement of Obama by the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) over Hillary during the Democratic primaries in 2008 was a critical factor in helping tilt the political scales Obama’s way. Caroline was said to be an early Obama enthusiast who helped push Kennedy toward his decision.
It was thought early in Obama’s presidency that Caroline might join the administration in a domestic policy position, perhaps Secretary of Education, but that somehow fizzled.
Here’s her CV, as provided by the White House:
Caroline Kennedy is President of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and Chair of the Senior Advisory Committee of the Institute of Politics at Harvard University. In September 2012, she was appointed as a General Trustee of the Board of Trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. From 2002 to 2012, she served as Vice Chair of the Fund for Public Schools in New York City. She is also on the Board of Directors of New Visions for Public Schools and serves as Honorary Chair of the American Ballet Theater.
From 1998 to 2009, she served on the Board of Directors of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Legal Defense and Educational Fund. From 1994 to 2011, she served on the Board of Directors of the Commission on Presidential Debates. She is the editor of several New York Times best-selling books on topics including constitutional law, American history, politics, and poetry. She received a B.A. from Harvard University and a J.D. from Columbia Law School.
Funny how they leave out that she’s the daughter of John F. Kennedy, which is why she actually is getting the job. I mean, she’s a nice person and all, and I have always had a soft spot for her, given the grace with which she’s coped with the tragedies that have surrounded her. I like President Kennedy too – can’t help myself. I just hope we don’t have any crises that involve Japan.
I doubt there will be serious opposition in the Senate to her confirmation.