The Matter of Caroline’s Qualifications

Caroline Kennedy made her political debut in Manhattan almost exactly 10 years ago, when she showed up as the surprise speaker at a “teach-in” against the impeachment of Bill Clinton at New York University Law School. Her speech on that occasion was not memorable, nor did she display great passion as she read it, but none of that mattered. Her presence electrified what would otherwise have been a mundane gathering of liberal intellectuals, professors and politicians.

She had at least a touch of the magic—and a sense of when and how to use it.

Now, after a decade of writing and editing books, raising money for public schools in New York City and leading a mostly private life, Ms. Kennedy is seeking the Senate seat that will be left vacant by Hillary Rodham Clinton. In the culture of celebrity, the media have instantly deemed her a leading candidate, much to the frustration of elected officials who feel they have earned a chance to win what she would merely take.

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