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The Democrats' Royal Pain

Ever since the 1960's,the Kennedy family has been the closest America had to a royal family. Built on an ill-gotten fortune and the martyrdom of three sons lost serving their country (Joseph Jr., killed during World War II: Jack, assassinated while president; and Bobby, assassinated while a Senator and running for president), they Kennedys have always been key players in Democratic circles.

But like most dynasties, the gene pool quickly needed some serious chlorinating quickly. The same generation that gave us JFK and RFK also left us Ted (Edward Moore Kennedy, named after Old Joe Kennedy's chauffeur and procurer). And of the younger generation, they have distinguished themselves with far more ignominy than prestige. The sole exceptions seem to have been John Kennedy's children.

After the death of Robert Kennedy and the appalling disgrace of Ted's actions at Chappaquiddick, the bloom fell off the rose and the family retreated into relative obscurity. They were kept at an arm's distance by Jimmy Carter, the first Democrat to win the Oval Office after Bobby was gunned down. And they repaid that insult by having Ted challenge Carter in 1980 for the Democratic nomination, but that plan was ruined by Roger Mudd, who asked the incredibly biased and unfair question "why do you want to be president?" Unable to say what he really thought -- "because it's my turn!" -- Teddy fumbled and mumbled and meandered around an answer, and finally drove the nail into that coffin.

The Kennedys experienced a resurgence in popularity in the 1990s, when Bill Clinton publicly embraced them -- and they allowed him to bask in the reflected glory and become a sort of Kennedy himself. (He was eminently qualified -- he had an eye for the ladies, a huge sense of entitlement, and an absolute lack of personal ethics.) There were plenty of pictures of the Clintons sailing with the Kennedys, and doing all sorts of other chummy things.

Well, those days appear to be at an end. Apparently in response to the Hillary Clinton campaign's increasingly crass attacks on Barack Obama (led by Bill Clinton himself), several of the more prominent Kennedys are endorsing Obama for president. Yesterday, Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg (daughter of President John Kennedy) came out for the Illinois senator, and today Ted Kennedy (the drunken, bloated patriarch of the family) is expected to follow suit.

Behind-the-scenes rumors say that Bill Clinton made a personal call to Ted to forestall this, but was unsuccessful. As an attempt to minimize the damage, He got three of Robert Kennedy's children -- Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Robert Jr., and Mary Kerry -- to come out for him in defiance of Uncle Ted.

A lot of people talk about the Clintons and the Bushes as attempting to practice "dynastic politics," but compared to the Kennedys, they're rank amateurs. No family has tried harder to build an American dynasty, and no family has ever produced so many utterly unqualified for true public service.

If the one lasting legacy of Hillary Clinton's campaign for president is the fragmenting of the Kennedy family's power, then it will all have been worthwhile.


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Comments (19)

As an attempt to minimiz... (Below threshold)
mantis:

As an attempt to minimize the damage, He got three of Robert Kennedy's children -- Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Robert Jr., and Mary Kerry -- to come out for him in defiance of Uncle Ted.

FYI, Robert Jr. endorsed Clinton back in November.
Also, capitalizing "he" is usually reserved for deities and not former presidents, at least according to my style manual. Or maybe you're affording a greater respect to Clinton than you've previously let on? ;)

(Yeah, I know, you probably just added the first clause afterwards and forgot to decapitalize the "he".)

President John F. Kennedy h... (Below threshold)
Robert Campbell:

President John F. Kennedy himself once said:

"Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future."

Thanks to Carolyn and Ted Kennedy for helping us to look towards the future in their endorsements for Senator Barack Obama for President of the United States.

The Kennedy's are useless. ... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

The Kennedy's are useless. I never understood the mystique. They are spoiled priveledged people who think they know what the average American wants or needs. Just the fact that the Clintons are wanting their "blessing" says it all. If my son crashed his plane in the ocean, do you think our government would sent the US Navy and other resources to find him? ww

COme out for him?</p... (Below threshold)

COme out for him?

Now there's a freudian slip.

Mantis -capital... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Mantis -

capitalizing "he" is usually reserved for deities

Seems to me Ted Kennedy could give Bacchus a run for the position... Wine? Check. Women? Check. Food? Check, check, and check. Revelry? Checkity-check-check-check..

Yep - capitalize that 'He'!

Hard to say which family ha... (Below threshold)
914:

Hard to say which family has a richer crime filled past/present?

"The days of wine and ro... (Below threshold)
914:

"The days of wine and rose's" versus "The days i>of slime and hose's"

JLawson: Now THAT was funn... (Below threshold)

JLawson: Now THAT was funny.

Co-incidently this is Rush ... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

Co-incidently this is Rush Limbaugh's topic for the day.

The Kennedy split is no acc... (Below threshold)
Minnie:

The Kennedy split is no accident. I think Ted and the rest decided months ago that they would split the support between Obama and Clinton. There are enough of them to go around so why not?

Never understood the fascin... (Below threshold)
Diane:

Never understood the fascination with the Kennedy's---especially JFK, and knowing what "we know now" about him. Really, what positive/presidential things did he do for the country other than promote the space program? Vietnam? A near war with Cuba/Russians? Promoted racial concerns once he was pushed to do so?

And Caroline comparing him to Obama...how insulting to Obama!

"No family has tried har... (Below threshold)
Phoenix:

"No family has tried harder to build an American dynasty, and no family has ever produced so many utterly unqualified for true public service."

Absolutely nothing so soul-satisfying as the horrendous SQUEAL of a mortally bleeding Jay hawg in his final (pre 11/4) throes.

Ted Kennedy certainly dispr... (Below threshold)
irongrampa:

Ted Kennedy certainly disproves the saying "fat,drunk and stupid is no way to go through life".

Good analysis... (Below threshold)
drjohn:

Good analysis

The Kennedy name has a lot ... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:

The Kennedy name has a lot of sentimental value in the public eye and only time will tell why Ted endorsed Obama instead of Clinton. The biggest misfortune the Kennedys ever were a part of was that of a power hungry patriarch with connections to the mob. Their tragedies are the result of Joe Kennedy wanting his dreams to go on vicariously through his children. There is no sadder fate than what was to become of his future generations.

LaMedusa - "The biggest... (Below threshold)
marc:

LaMedusa - "The biggest misfortune the Kennedys ever were a part of was that of a power hungry patriarch with connections to the mob.

Why do you discount JFK's total failure to support the Bay of Pigs invasion by ignoring Dwight D. Eisenhower's plan for the invasion that led to total disaster?

Why isn't the most flandering president and the most drug addicted president rise to the level of scorn in your book?

...The sole exceptions seem... (Below threshold)
HChambers:

...The sole exceptions seem to have been John Kennedy's children...
You forgot the female side. Eunice Shriver, sister to John, Bobby, Ted and the rest, did wonderful work in Special Olympics. Her daughter is pretty respectable as well. She is the first lady of California, Maria Shriver Schwarzenegger.

marc-Most of the f... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:

marc-

Most of the family is messed up, which invokes pity from me more than anything. My point is, if Joe Kennedy hadn't paid the mob, JFK never would have made the primary. There history is pathetic, that is all. Nobody's discounting any atrocities.

Jay Tea hit the nail on the... (Below threshold)
Duane:

Jay Tea hit the nail on the head..I agree with everything he wrote. My only problem is trying to understand how the American public can be so stupid for so long keeping the Kennedy family in the political spotlight. If anyone could name just one thing this family has done for the American and not for themselves I would be greatly surprised.
"There is no dumber breed of animal than a human and no dumber
human than an American politician"




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