It's not quite a pattern. But it has the makings of one.
First, there was the tragicomedy of Caroline Kennedy that she wanted to have David Paterson make her succeed in taking over Hillary Clinton's United States Senate from New York. I was Chuck Schumer's teacher in Gov.1 and my first thought was: why won't anyone permit him to make him the natural succession to his state's senior senatorial seat. Then, instead of easing in to Paterson's vacancy appointment, Caroline made a mess of everything. She made a mess of talking, thinking, reasoning, cajoling, a mess of even being a demure upper East Side housewife. Which is actually what she was. She ate at "eat" and bought her meat at that cute Madison Avenue butcher shop. Oh, yes, a demure upper East Side housewife, with altogether non-conventional charities, of whom there were plenty. Which, if you want to sum it up, is a mess even of her conventionalities, like dining with Al Sharpton at some noisy Harlem eatery. And that is how John-John would have collapsed his own ambitions if he had them.
And, you may recall, my first thoughts were that I was for her. Sort of.
Now, the liberal heiress to the liberal triad fraternity was finished. In those moments, when it seemed that despite her awful faux pas she would succeed in succeeding Hillary, I had to admit that Missus Clinton was a very superior senator. (And that she seemed to have an aptly grimmer view of the world than the former drug investigator at the major league baseball teams, for a report on which read this article here on TNR on-line.)
What threw me was how the governor slyly made a conservative appointment amidst all the smug liberal assumptions: the keys to the office were to be given to Kirsten Gillibrand, the two-term congresswoman from upstate New York, a right-to-guns enthusiast in favor of other heresies. Did Barack Obama know of this designation? It's hard to imagine not.
And then in Massachusetts the Speaker of the House resigned. No, it wasn't quite as quick as that. Governor Deval Patrick neither liked nor trusted Salvatore F. DiMasi. DiMasi's climb down came just three weeks after his third election to the two year term. Now, liberalism in Massachusetts is defined in relationship to gambling casinos, slot machines, seat belts. This is not the liberalism of Father Drinan or, for that matter, of Reinhold Niebuhr. DiMasi is a liberal. Some say he's a crook, which didn't prevent them from voting for them again and again. In any case, on Tuesday last, according to the Boston Globe, the House put Robert A. DeLeo in the Speaker's seat from which he makes order out of the House or disorder. The politics of it?
Governor Patrick is Barack Obama's closest ally in the state. In voting for DeLeo the representatives in the Bay State House were voting against Patrick and, without a doubt, against Obama, too. No victory for liberalism here, either. That is no liberal triumph in neither of the Union's most liberal states.