William Katz:  Urgent Agenda







THE SILLY SEASON CONTINUES – AT 10:56 A.M. ET:  In addition to his snub of the Keystone Pipeline, President Obama has never shown much respect for Canada.  The Canadians are our largest trading partner and, with the exception of some rocky years when Trudeau was prime minister, have been there for us. 

We may not always agree on everything, but the U.S.-Canada partnership is solid. 

So now we read this, from Fox: 

WASHINGTON – Caroline Kennedy is the "leading contender" on the short list of candidates President Obama is considering to be the next ambassador to Canada, a senior Democratic official tells Fox News.

Kennedy, the daughter of the late President Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, has been a strong political and financial supporter of Obama. The confirmation that she's being strongly considered comes as the Canadian press is abuzz about the possible picks.

Canadian newspapers have been floating other possible candidates to the spot in the past few weeks. Among those rumored to be on the list: Former Washington governor Christine Gregoire, former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm, retired Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine and Detroit Mayor Dave Bing.

An appointment would quickly bring Kennedy back into the public spotlight. In December 2008, Kennedy announced she would run for Hillary Clinton’s vacant Senate seat. It was the same position once held by her uncle, Robert Kennedy Jr. But a month later she withdrew her name, citing privacy concerns. Since then, she has stayed mostly out of the political spotlight.

COMMENT:  Look, I have nothing against Caroline Kennedy.  She's conducted herself very well over the years, with far greater dignity and class than some other members of the clan.  And it is certainly true that we've appointed "celebrity" ambassadors before, including ambassadors to some important posts, like London or Paris.

But Caroline has been largely private.  I don't know if she knows French, which would certainly help in a bilingual country like Canada.  And there are serious problems that need addressing.  This looks too much like a payoff.

Caroline is only 55.  She could use an ambassadorship to launch a political career.  But I think we need more experienced diplomatic hands in Ottawa right now.

Also, an appointment like this will inevitably be seen as a snub to Hillary Clinton.  There is no love lost between the Kennedys and Hillary.  Please remember that the Kennedy family abandoned Hillary in 2008 to endorse Barack Obama, a significant step in Obama's campaign.  Now, Hillary is out of the State Department five minutes, and Barack is said to be appointing a Kennedy to a major post.

February 7, 2013