Victoria (Vicki) Kennedy, widow of the late Senator Ted Kennedy,was nominated by President Obama on Wednesday for a seat on the U.S. Postal Services (USPS) board of Governors.
Ever since the Kennedy family backed Obama against Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democratic Primary, he has maintained a close relationship with them.
Some people might regard the fact that Obama has nominated Vicky Kennedy as some form of political reward. On the other hand, those types of payoff usually come in the form of plum ambassadorships – not the postal board.
That could even be regarded as punishment – and it’s not as if Vicki Kennedy really needs the $30,000 stipend that goes with it!
What exactly Obama believes Vicki Kennedy can do to help solve the multitude of problems which the Postal Service is facing is not clear. And questions are now being asked about the extent to which the President is interested in their woes anyway.
The fact of Vicki Kennedy’s appointment at this time highlights the generally unknown situation that the USPS board is supposed to have 10 members – currently it has only four! The President has not seen fit to fill the other positions until now, and the subject has obviously not figured near the top of his “things to do” list.
David Dayen from the New Republic noted before Kennedy’s nomination, “[Obama] has not successfully placed a single appointee on it during his entire tenure in office.” He wrote that the four existing members “were all appointed by George W. Bush.” Amazingly nobody in the media had pointed this out before.
Dayen suggests that the majority of Republicans on the USPS board explains why Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe has been following “a conservative governing ideology,” seeking to cut services rather exploring other areas of development.
The obvious truth is that people just aren’t sending as many letters as they once did, and the USPS lost $5 billion last year, so where does the mail service go from here?
To be fair, President Obama has many bigger issues to deal with, notably health-care reform and the Middle East. And there’s probably no way to fix the USPS financial problems without cutting jobs and raising prices, which will not go down well with the voters.
Perhaps President Obama has recognized that Vicki Kennedy is a member of the somewhat sizable Kennedy clan.
Now if only Vicki could somehow persuade the family members to write more letters and buy more stamps………………..