CAROLINE: JUST LIKE US?
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carolyn. caroline. carolyn. caroline.(i feel like david letterman at the oscars: uma. oprah. uma. oprah.)

carolyn maloney is just one of a slew of career politicians who are now up against caroline kennedy for hillary clinton's senate seat. and if i were carolyn and co., i would be so not happy.


even with the criticism, it has to influence the governor's decision that so many think she has something to offer.

first off, caroline uses her celebrity to attract attention to causes, such as new york city public schools, not herself. she's one of the few (only?) new york heiresses who has not embarrassed us with a sex tape, a pink bentley, a feud with a female relative over a stolen fiancÚ, or the coup de grace of socialite indulgences, her own handbag line. she is also not a brand, never appeared on a reality show (even as a judge), and has never sold photos of her children to a tabloid.

second, even though she's famous and a millionaire, there's always been an air of normalcy about her such that average people think they can relate to her. like a lot of new york women, she's educated, married, takes care of her family and avidly fundraises. her youngest child is about the same age as my eldest. i used to see her at the now shuttered ben's, a baby store on third avenue. she picked out the same stuff as everyone else and waited on line to pay like the rest of us. i remember her yelling to her kids not to run too far ahead of her on 79th street, and know people whose children went to school with hers. everybody described her the same way: quiet, polite, keeps to herself. i still see her around-on her cell, hailing a taxi. again, like everybody else.

and, like other new york moms, now that her children are grown, she's ready to go back to work. this is where the normal part that warms her to us ends and thus begins the star power, of which we are both in awe and resentful (see, carolyn and co., you're not alone).

she wants a job and there one is. a really good one, too. and to be considered, all she has to do is express interest. i know new york moms who have to ease back into the workforce part-time, or can't go back to what they did before so they have to rely upon "transferable skills" in order to start getting a paycheck again.

but how long can the resentment last when reality sets in: caroline uses her power for good, not evil. i, as so many of my mom colleagues, have raised impressive sums for my children's schools. but who (and this includes carolyn and co.) can hold a candle to the dough caroline can rake in? people line up with their checkbooks just for the cachet of saying they handed her money.

last, but not least, look at whom she'd be replacing: a lawyer who never held public office and was related to a former president. it's like they're twins. except hillary is from washington via chicago and arkansas, and has been passing herself off as a new yorker with the help of some real estate and a yankees cap.

at least caroline is really one of us. sorry, carolyn.


editor's note: the views expressed in this piece are those of the writer, and do not reflect the views of the newspaper.