The Kids Aren't Sure If Caroline Is "A Kennedy Kennedy"

Caroline Kennedy has just released a Q&A session with the NY Times in order to give the public an idea of her political viewpoints. Yet some younger voters still aren't quite sure who she is.

Born long after the days of Camelot, younger voters, though familiar with the famous Kennedy name, can't quite place Caroline in the grand scheme of things. The NY Times interviewed several twenty-somethings who weren't sure if Caroline was, as 23 year old Bess Goden put it, "a Kennedy Kennedy, or is this one of the cousins?"

Unlike my 58 year old Massachusetts born Irish Catholic mother, who practically bursts into tears each time Caroline Kennedy shows up on the screen, younger voters don't have the same sentimental connection with the woman who was once the first daughter. And voters in my mother's age group don't necessarily share her sentimental view of the Camelot years. "“The Kennedys — don’t get me started,” Tom Gorey, 60, tells the Times “I think they ruined the country.”

Yet whether or not you care for the Kennedys as a whole, isn't it a bit weird that some people don't know that Caroline Kennedy is JFK's daughter? College senior Michelle Kuhns seemed stumped by the question: “I don’t know who her father is, but if you told me, I bet I would know,” she says, “I’ve heard the name, yes. But that’s it.”

And to those who do remember the Kennedys, it seems that Caroline's biggest challenge isn't living up to or running from the public's perception of her father, but from the "What ifs" that surround her late brother, John F. Kennedy, Jr. “I was looking forward to him,” says Doreen Hourigan, 40. “His passing was tragic.” Chiara Veltri, 27, agreed: “When I was a kid, I really loved him. He had such charisma, and you could tell he was a nice guy.”

Perhaps the separation from her famous family is a good thing for Caroline: if she is appointed and faced with a Senate run in 2010, younger voters may look more toward her platform (which includes support for gay marriage, not requiring minors to obtain parental consent before obtaining an abortion, and strong support for gun control) instead of looking at her last name, though that last name, whether younger voters can pinpoint it or not, will still be a major factor in her visibility, fundraising, and place in American politics.

Kennedy Offers Hints Of Platform, And A Few Surprises [New York Times]
Q & A: Caroline Kennedy's Platform [New York Times]
The Young Know Caroline's A Kennedy, But Which One?[New York Times]