According to a new USA Today/Gallup survey of 1,000 Americans, 45% want New  York Governor Paterson to name Caroline Kennedy as the state’s new senator, replacing Hillary Clinton, while 36% want him to pick someone else.  

Quick, name “someone else.”

Does that mean they think Kennedy is qualified?  Not at all.  When given the choice between a name they recognize and no name at all, people tend to choose the former.

Most of those who told the pollsters they want her appointed to the Senate probably have no idea what Kennedy brings to the table other than her family’s genes — and she seems to have gotten shorted on the charisma chromosome.  I haven’t seen anyone seeking office with less camera appeal since Mike Gravel.

Did you see her on the Kennedy Center Honors a couple of weeks ago?  It shouldn’t take much to look like you’re happy to be representing your family in a building named after your father, but again this year, she appeared almost bored.  When she was done with her introduction, I thought they might give her an award for lifetime achievement in bland public speaking.

Granted that being outgoing and having a big personality aren’t the only qualifications for becoming a senator, but they’re a good start.  Kennedy looks uncomfortable, can’t answer simple direct questions from reporters, and can’t explain why she’s the best choice for the job other than “politics is something we do in my family.” 

In Caroline’s case, not so much.  I’m sure “someone else” can do better.