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Obama Taps Caroline Kennedy as Ambassador to Japan

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.

27 Responses to Obama Taps Caroline Kennedy as Ambassador to Japan

  1. I always see her as that little girl standing next to her mother and brother during the funeral procession of Presiden Kennedy.

    She’ll probably do well as Ambassador in Japan.

    • I’ve always felt sorry for Caroline. Her mother was beautiful with class while she is a plain Jane and her father and uncles were womanizers. She was born into a family of liars, fraudsters, criminals, and self-appointed aristocrats and that is even sadder.

  2. Exactly, what qualifications other than being a president’s daughter. Instead of choosing a career diplomat, he nominates a woman who has spent her adult life as a wife and mother, correct?

  3. We know experience isn’t a qualification for the office of the president of the U.S. (or vice president, secretary of state, head of any federal government agency, etc.etc.) with the election of Obama so why should it be important for an ambassadorship?

  4. I remember when she decided she deserved Clinton’s seat in the Senate. She came across as being dumber than a box of rocks.

        • no, but Caroline Kennedy is not bright. REALLY not bright. and not personable or charismatic. and apparently not experienced in anything other than serving on boards.

          Hillary had no foreign policy experience and she’s pretty much a socialist, but she’s brilliant too. Caroline–not so much.

          heck, if we’re talking presidential daughters, give me Amy Carter every time–at least you can have an intelligent discussion about “nuke-yah” proliferation with her ;-)

    • The other thing, Japan is BIG on social customs. There are a LOT of cultural mores over there that can make you look REALLY bad if you break them.

      There are parts of the world where you can get by on language alone. Japan isn’t one of them.

  5. The Kennedy name has something Barack and Michelle Obama will never achieve in a gazillion years – cachet. Caroline Kennedy has more class in her little finger than the Obamas could ever match. She will upstage Obama anywhere, anytime.

  6. No qualifications. Then again, those haven’t been necessary for years. If you haven’t already, read “The Ugly American”.

  7. The Japanese people might enjoy the Kennedy mystique.

    Unfortunately China and Japan having a few issues right now, however this administration might be too concerned.

  8. John Kennedy was one of the WORST presidents of the post-World War II era. He botched the Bay of Pigs, he gave Khrushchev an impression of weakness which led the Russians to build the Berlin Wall and precipitated the Cuban Missile Crisis which almost led to a nuclear holocaust. And let’s not forget that it was Kennedy who got us into the Vietnam quagmire by sending the first 16,000 troops and having Ngo Dinh Diem murdered. How he continues to be held in such high esteem is baffling.

  9. Everyone already knows that Caroline Kennedy is completely incoherent during public interviews; has no knowledge about Japan, its culture, its business practices, no knowledge about American business or military interests in Japan and Asia-Pacific region…and was only nominated because she is good at Tea parties and bought her way into favor with Obama. Everyone knows that Freescale Semiconductor Inc. has offices in Austin and Tokyo, Japan for their 19,000 Workers. People may know that Freescale lost $102-million dollars on $3.9-billion in 2012; $410-million dollar loss on $4.5-billion in 2011. What everyone in American wants to know is: How much does Caroline Kennedy and all her Trust Foundations have invested in Freescale; What is her role exactly in the operations or activities of Freescale; and Why does Caroline Kennedy feel that she has the moral right to refuse Disclosure of this information to Congress and the American people during her potential Confirmation Hearings as nominated Ambassador? Her sychophant news friends call it ‘balking’ at divulgance; it is actually a ‘better-than-thou’ refusal. America has a right to demand knowledge about how much time she will spend tending to advancement of Freescale while she is in Tokyo, as opposed to how much time she will devote to shepparding the interests of other non-Ivy League Americans. This seems to be a clear Conflict of Interest. Caroline Kennedy should be forced to divest herself from such financial conflicts BEFORE she is confirmed as Ambassador to Japan.