Now Give Three Cheers *

On “Today” last week, host Meredith Viera interviewed Kerry Kennedy, daughter of the late Robert F. “Bobby” Kennedy, about the senatorial prospects of Ms. Kennedy’s cousin, Caroline Kennedy. The latter Ms. Kennedy (Caroline, that is) has said she’d like to be appointed to the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton, and the former Ms. Kennedy (Kerry, that is), who is also the former Mrs. Andrew M. Cuomo, is, therefore, opposing her ex-husband, the current New York attorney-general, who is also being touted as a replacement for Senator Clinton, the former First Lady. Hillary Clinton ran against President-elect Barack Obama in the Democratic primaries, and was endorsed by Kerry Kennedy, although Caroline Kennedy endorsed Mr. Obama, the former Illinois senator, whose also-vacant Senate seat soon-to-be-former Governor Milorad R. “Rod” Blagojevich is in hot water for trying to . . . retail. Mr. Blagojevich wears his hair in the style of Caroline Kennedy’s late father, former President John F. “Jack” Kennedy.

The New York Senate seat was once held by Kerry Kennedy’s father. Her uncle, Edward M. “Ted” Kennedy, more or less took over the Massachusetts seat formerly held by his brother, Kerry Kennedy’s uncle, the afore-mentioned Jack Kennedy. Many have assumed Andrew Cuomo has been coy about the Senate, because he’d actually like to be elected in his own right to the governorship of New York, a job held for a dozen years by his father, Mario M. Cuomo.

Deep breath now. Everyone mentioned so far is nominally Roman Catholic, except for Clinton and Obama.

Caroline Kennedy has never been much involved in politics until this year when she endorsed Mr. Obama and campaigned for him — with Uncle Ted — in Massachusetts. Many people have speculated that she would be named by Obama friend Deval Patrick, Presbyterian governor of Massachusetts, to succeed her uncle Ted, who has terminal brain cancer. But the New York seat is more appealing since she actually lives in New York. (Not that that stopped Hillary Clinton.)

Senator Clinton, wife of former President William J. “Bill” Clinton, is said to be unhappy about the prospect that Caroline Kennedy might be chosen by David Paterson, Roman Catholic governor of New York, who anyway (Governor Paterson, that is) is said to prefer Mr. Cuomo, since Kerry Kennedy’s ex-husband would be a formidable opponent in gubernatorial primaries in 2010, and because Governor Paterson would also thus avoid the wrath of former President Clinton and soon-to-be-former Senator Clinton. Senator Clinton is said to prefer ABC (anybody but Caroline). Someone has even suggested that if Hillary is replaced by a newly re-elected member of the House, Chelsea Clinton could be named to that seat.

Mr. Cuomo the younger is said to be angry at the former Mrs. Cuomo, because of her support of her cousin, Caroline, and because he once found her (Kerry, that is) in flagrante delicto with one of his best friends. For her part, Kerry is said to still be smarting from the public statement released by Mr. Cuomo’s lawyer at the time of their 2003 divorce: “Mr. Cuomo was betrayed and saddened by his wife’s conduct during their marriage.” How many times, Mr. Cuomo may be asking himself, is this woman going to stab me in the back?

Governor Paterson is also said to be considering Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., brother of Kerry and cousin of Caroline. In 2010, Mr. Paterson will be up for election to the job he wasn’t elected to in the first place — the same year in which whomever he appoints to the Senate will also have to run in a special election to serve out the remaining two years of the term he or she wasn’t elected to in the first place.

Meanwhile, I read that Kerry Kennedy, the former Mrs. Cuomo — adulterer, divorcee, and advocate of legal abortion — is author of a book, Being Catholic Now, and that she teaches CCD classes at a Catholic Church near her home in Armonk. In her book, subtitled, Prominent Americans Talk about Change in the Church and the Quest for Meaning, she quotes with approbation this from journalist Cokie Roberts: “I disagree with the Church all of the time.”

Enough already, right? Hardly. As Steve Kornacki reports in The New York Observer: “Now, [Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy] is in line to move up to the Senate the next time there’s an opening—possibly after next year’s mid-terms . . . And Joe Kennedy is the front-runner to replace his Uncle Ted . . . in the Senate — unless Ted’s wife Vicki decides she wants the seat.” Joe is pals with Hugo Chavez, Roman Catholic President of Venezuela.

And the chorus of Kennedys sings of young Joe: “And we are his sisters, and his cousins, and his aunts!” And the ship of state has become the H.M.S. Pinafore.

*With apologies to Messrs. Gilbert & Sullivan.

Brad Miner is the Senior Editor of The Catholic Thing and a Senior Fellow of the Faith & Reason Institute. He is a former Literary Editor of National Review. His most recent book, Sons of St. Patrick, written with George J. Marlin, is now on sale. His The Compleat Gentleman is now available in a third, revised edition from Regnery Gateway and is also available in an Audible audio edition (read by Bob Souer). Mr. Miner has served as a board member of Aid to the Church In Need USA and also on the Selective Service System draft board in Westchester County, NY.