Yesterday afternoon President Obama formally nominated Caroline Kennedy to be the US ambassador to Japan.
In naming Ms. Kennedy, whose nomination has been rumored for months, Mr. Obama is keeping with a well-established tradition of rewarding important campaign supporters with plum embassies. He recently put forward big-dollar fund-raisers to be envoys in London, Berlin, Copenhagen and Madrid. But Ms. Kennedy’s value to Mr. Obama has been less about money than mystique. As the daughter of President John F. Kennedy, her imprimatur on his candidacy in 2008 — along with that of her uncle, Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts — elevated Mr. Obama at a crucial moment against his better-known rival, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
RELATED: In late 2008 Kennedy was considered to be a top prospect to be appointed by then-New York Gov. David Paterson to replace Hillary Clinton in the Senate when Obama named Clinton as Secretary of State. Kennedy withdrew from consideration in early 2009, citing the failing health of her uncle, the late Sen. Ted Kennedy.