Less than a month ago, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. told the Huffington Post in response to rumors that he might be tapped to run President Obama’s EPA or Interior Department, “if asked, I will serve.”
Well, it seems that something has changed since then. Either he wasn’t asked, or was asked and after weighing the various options and potential consequences, decided that a cabinet post is not in his future.
Today, the NY Daily News is reporting that if asked, Kennedy most likely will not serve after all:
– Robert Kennedy Jr. sounds like he’s definitely taking himself out of the running for head of the Environmental Protection Agency. “I have six mouths to feed,” the eco-crusader told us at Monday’s Waterkeeper Alliance/Conde Nast soiree, where James Blunt performed. “But I’d love to be involved with anything the Obama administration does.”
Kennedy told the crowd he’s now “driving a Lexus hybrid. My daughters said it’s the first grown-up car I’ve had.”
So that, apparently, settles that! Looks like Mr. Kennedy won’t be going to Washington this year. Or next.
But what about that senate seat? Ever since President-elect Obama announced Hillary Clinton as his nominee for secretary of state on Monday, speculation has run rampant as to whether or not Kennedy would be appointed to fill out her term of office in the senate. But no, it appears he doesn’t want that gig, either.
JUST SAY NO
Yesterday, RFK Jr. telephoned New York governor David Paterson and asked that his name be removed from the list of potential appointees. Considering that he has often expressed a strong desire to reclaim the senate seat once held by his father, the reaction to Kennedy’s announcement has been a mix of surprise and disappointment among his many faithful supporters.
The push for Kennedy as Clinton’s replacement was strong; there was even a short-lived Facebook group organized to promote RFK Jr. for the Senate (Kennedy was the only contender to have such support).
But Kennedy isn’t alone in his mad dash for the sidelines. He’s got good company on the bench. On Monday, Nita Lowey (D-Westchester), once considered a prime choice, withdrew her name from consideration. And on Tuesday, former president Bill Clinton announced that he was “not interested” in occupying his wife’s senate seat when/if it becomes available. So that’s three down, hundreds more hopefuls to go.
New York governor Paterson says he will wait to name Clinton’s replacement until after she leaves the U.S. senate, which would be next January if Hillary’s cabinet nomination is confirmed by her senate colleagues.
Kennedy supporters shouldn’t despair too much. There’s still Caroline! While the martyred president’s daughter has always wisely eschewed a political career, the possibility that she might be under serious consideration to fill Clinton’s senate seat appears to be more than just talk. Even RFK Jr. sang her praises yesterday (while at the same time, withdrawing his own name) as a worthy contender for the job.
Earlier, it was suggested that Caroline might be named as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, but that idea was squelched a few days ago when Obama announced his foreign policy advisor, Susan Rice, as the nominee.
So that frees up Caroline Kennedy to do something else. Her appointment to Clinton’s senate seat would certainly present an interesting dynamic and plenty of drama. After many years of having a close relationship with the Clintons, Caroline shocked the world when she switched teams to support Senator Obama during the 2008 primary election season. I rather doubt that has been forgotten by the Clintons.