The Sorority Rules for Caroline

Manhattan’s feminists are ecstatic that one of their leading socialites, Caroline Kennedy, has declared she’s available to fill Hillary Clinton’s, soon to be vacated U.S. Senate seat. Kennedy’s thin resume (she’s chaired plenty of charity events), her refusal to release her finances, and her universally ridiculed public interviews have not dampened the enthusiasm of chic leftists who are pressuring Governor David Paterson to appoint her.

In softball Q&As with New York’s major newspapers (e.g., “What would your mother think of your candidacy?”), Kennedy’s utterances on public policy issues were downright embarrassing. She was incapable of extending her remarks beyond the level of shallow Hamptons cocktail party chatter.

During the 41-minute New York Post interview, Kennedy used the phrase “you know” 235 times. The New York Times 8,500 word transcript of Kennedy’s sit down contained 144 “you knows.” Take a gander at her rambling explanation on why she should be selected for the senate:

I think this is about the future, and, um, you know, that’s what I want to talk about, which is, what’s going on in our state, you know, why I would be the best person to help deliver for New York. We’re facing, you know, an economic crisis, the paper this morning said there’s, you know, five billion dollars of construction projects which just stopped, you know, that’s, you know — conversations a year ago, that’s — beside that, I don’t, as I said, I have conversations with a lot of people, and those are confidential.

To counter the mounting criticism and ridicule, the professional feminists have been working overtime. The acerbic Times columnist, Maureen Dowd, feigned humility saying “I know about ‘you knows,’ I use that verbal crutch myself, a bad habit that develops from shyness and reticence about public speaking.” Outraged that the public wasn’t rushing to embrace Caroline, Dowd complained, “People are suddenly awfully choosy about who gets to go to the former home of Jesse Helms, Strom Thurmond, and Robert Torricelli.”

Kelli Conlin, head of NARAL Pro-Choice N.Y., defending Kennedy’s lackluster public persona said, “I am dismayed at the uneven and entirely predictable treatment of Caroline and too many women who seek political office. Their experience is discounted, their skills ignored, their connections derided and their motives questioned.”

Compare this supportive rhetoric to the vicious, shabby insults feminists hurled at Governor Sarah Palin throughout last fall’s presidential campaign.

Palin, who proved herself in the political arena as an elected city councilman, mayor, and governor – whose vice presidential acceptance speech wowed the nation – who held her own in debate against Joe Biden – was not hailed by the women’s movement as a heroine but derided as a bimbo, a hick, and a toned-down version of a porn actress.

Why is the political neophyte Kennedy treated differently than the political veteran Palin? Answer: Abortion.

Caroline Kennedy carries on her family’s pro-abortion tradition. And nothing pleases the feminists more than a Roe v. Wade fan who is a baptized Catholic. Lest we forget, the Catholic pro-abortion movement was hatched at the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port. In the summer of 1964, Bobby and Ted Kennedy met at the Cape with the nation’s leading dissident Catholic clerics – Robert Drinan, Richard McCormick, Joseph Fuchs, and Charles Curran – to figure out how Catholic politicians could pander to the growing abortion movement without upsetting their Catholic constituencies. According to one witness, the theologians “concurred on certain basics … that a Catholic politician could in good conscience vote in favor of abortion.” The action plan developed that week in Hyannis Port, in sociologist Anne Hendershott’s judgment, contributed to effectively neutralizing the Catholic laity and “helped build the foundation for the [Democratic] party’s reincarnation as the party of abortion.”

Sarah Palin, on the other hand, was despised by the feminists because she broke their sorority rules: Palin defends life, opposes partial birth abortion, dared to have five children, and refused to terminate the life of her Down syndrome baby.

In a recent interview, Palin admitted the one lesson she learned in 2008 was that extremist feminists observe no rules of conduct when they come up against a public woman on the right who must be taken seriously. To accomplish their mission of destruction, lies, slander, and character assassination are acceptable tactics.

Palin also wondered how Caroline Kennedy will be treated and “if she will be handled with kid gloves or if she will be under a microscope.” She also said, “as we watch we will perhaps be able to prove that there is a class issue here, also that was such a factor in the scrutiny of my candidacy versus, say, the scrutiny of what her candidacy may be.”

Class issue? That’s only part of the explanation for the draft Kennedy movement. The primary reason both Manhattan’s ritzy East Side and Trotskyite West Side feminists are “Sweet on Caroline” is that they are certain she will never violate their most sacred tenet: unlimited access to abortion.

George J. Marlin, Chairman of the Board of Aid to the Church in Need USA, is the author of The American Catholic Voter and Sons of St. Patrick, written with Brad Miner. His most recent book is Mario Cuomo: The Myth and the Man.