It’s time for Caroline Kennedy to show her commitment or take her name out of the hat to replace Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Yes, New York needs a senator with clout and pull, but we also need a senator who remembered to vote in pivotal state and local elections and is willing to state her stances on issues of public importance. Kennedy wins on the first count and loses — in a major way — on the second and third.
According to a report last week by The Associated Press, Kennedy failed to vote in multiple elections, including several Democratic primaries in 1989, 1993, 1997 and 2005. The report notes that Republicans went on to win three out of four of those contests in the general election. She didn’t vote in the 2002 gubernatorial primary and the general election when Democrat Carl McCall faced Republican incumbent George Pataki.
The real kicker is she didn’t even vote in 1994 when Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan ran for re-election. And that’s the seat she is seeking appointment to now.
No matter how you spin it, that’s a lot of missed votes.
Further, Kennedy is dodging questions about her finances, a disclosure required of many public officials, The Associated Press reports.
She has said she will not release details of her financial accounts unless Gov. David Paterson picks her for Clinton’s Senate seat.
A spokesman for Kennedy said she will comply with the law, if appointed, but will not release tax returns.
If Kennedy is a serious candidate for all of New York, she needs to stop the speculation about her voting, her finances and her positions. New Yorkers need to know where she stands on issues and deserve an explanation for missed votes.
We need to know we can count on Kennedy, and we need to get to know Kennedy.
Right now, we don’t.
If she’s serious about the job, she’s got to get out ahead of the media hype and get upstate — quickly.
She needs to explain her voting record, disclose her finances ahead of an appointment and, yes, even a conduct a Clinton- inspired “listening tour.”
She needs to show her commitment to the post and all of its constituents.
But maybe she’s not going to because, in the end, it won’t matter what voters think. This appointment has only one vote, and that is Paterson’s; whoever he chooses will go to Washington to finish Clinton’s term.