Opinion | Kennedy family rallies for Biden and against RFK Jr. - The Washington Post


Category:  News & Politics

Via:  jbb  •  one month ago  •  10 comments

By:   Karen Tumulty Associate (Washington Post)

Opinion | Kennedy family rallies for Biden and against RFK Jr. - The Washington Post
They are trying to salvage what remains of the family's legacy.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

By Karen TumultyAssociate editor and columnist April 18, 2024 at 4:55 p.m. EDT

President Biden salutes as members of the Kennedy family endorse his presidential campaign on Thursday in Philadelphia. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images) Listen4 minShareComment on this storyCommentAdd to your saved storiesSave

Sixteen years ago, the most illustrious members of the Kennedy clan gathered on a stage at American University and bestowed their benediction on a first-term senator from Illinois who was running for the Democratic presidential nomination as an underdog against the establishment favorite.

"I feel change in the air. What about you?" Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) thundered before an electrified crowd of thousands. Alongside the family patriarch was his son Patrick (then a Democratic congressman from Rhode Island) and his niece Caroline, who the day before had declared in a New York Times op-ed that then-Sen. Barack Obama would be "a president like my father."

That January 2008 event consciously invoked the passing of the torch to a new generation, the metaphor made indelible in John F. Kennedy's 1961 inaugural address. And it gave a badly needed boost to Obama's prospects against the Democratic front-runner, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), herself part of a political dynasty in the making. Though Clinton had the backing of several lesser-known members of the extended Kennedy family, its star power was solidly behind Obama.

That day, as the only reporter allowed backstage, I had a close vantage for it all. It was hard not to think back on that moment on Thursday as Kennedys gathered on a stage in Philadelphia to formally announce their support for President Biden in an attempt to protect their family's legacy from Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the crackpot conspiracy theorist running an independent presidential campaign.

Take a moment to think about how much has changed for the family since 2008. What struck me most then was the sight of the preternaturally composed Obama, moments before the event, choking back his tears. His own father had come to this country from Kenya as part of a program assisted by the Kennedy family foundation.

"I gotta admit, I had to clamp it down a little bit," the future president acknowledged to me later, when I brought up the emotion I had witnessed. "That was powerful stuff. When you see Ted, Caroline, Patrick together, and I think about the role they played in shaping my values and ideals and what I believe about America, the connection to my father traveling to Hawaii and meeting my mother. ... It brings things full circle."

What no one could know then was that this would be one of the final high points for the Kennedys' collective influence in modern electoral politics.

Ted Kennedy would live but another 19 months, struck down by brain cancer before he could see Obama deliver on his cherished goal of health-care reform. Patrick would leave Congress in 2011 to devote his energies to the cause of mental health. Caroline, who was briefly under consideration to be appointed to the U.S. Senate seat from New York that Clinton had vacated to become secretary of state, would instead later serve as Obama's ambassador to Japan.

With fewer and fewer Americans having any memory of the Camelot years, it should surprise no one that the Kennedy magic is not what it once was. But this election cycle brought a new and dark coda to the family.

RFK Jr. has exploited the dimming Kennedy aura, frequently citing his slain father and uncle. His last name has taken him into the low double digits in the polls — not enough to win any electoral votes, much less win the election, but potentially enough to tip the balance to former president Donald Trump against Biden in some of the states that will matter most in November.

The prospect of a Kennedy helping to put Trump back in the White House has horrified his relatives, three of whom — including Caroline, currently ambassador to Australia — serve in the Biden administration.

Onstage with Biden on Thursday were six of RFK's siblings. They never mentioned their brother directly at the Philadelphia gathering, but the target of the rebuke was clear.

"President Biden has been a champion for all the rights and freedoms that my father and uncle stood for," younger sister Kerry Kennedy declared. "That's why nearly every single grandchild of Joe and Rose Kennedy supports Joe Biden. That's right. ... The Kennedy family endorses Joe Biden for president."

No, this was not a message of hope and aspiration, but then, that isn't the kind of political season in which we find ourselves. In an election fueled by fear and resentment, there is no torch to be passed — except for the one that the Kennedys fear would be used to set fire to what's left of the family's name.


jrDiscussion - desc
Professor Principal
1  seeder  JBB    one month ago


Sean Treacy
Professor Principal
1.1  Sean Treacy  replied to  JBB @1    one month ago

This is creepy.  It’s a cross between a Teen Beat  style poster for teen aged girls and Soviet hero worship of their leaders. 

Jeremy Retired in NC
Professor Expert
1.1.1  Jeremy Retired in NC  replied to  Sean Treacy @1.1    one month ago
This is creepy.

And completely fictional.  

Junior Expert
1.1.2  George  replied to  Sean Treacy @1.1    one month ago
This is creepy.

Looks like they took a page from their Messiah.


Junior Expert
2  George    one month ago

These people won’t be voting for him.


Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
3  Vic Eldred    one month ago

Kennedy is on the ballot in Michigan!

Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
3.1  Vic Eldred  replied to  Vic Eldred @3    one month ago

Professor Principal
4  Texan1211    one month ago

Since Joe Biden is all that and a bag of chips, what difference does it make if Kennedy runs?

Why are Democrats trying to keep him off ballots?

Why are they scared of a Kennedy run when it is clear he won't win?

Professor Guide
4.1  evilone  replied to  Texan1211 @4    one month ago
Why are Democrats trying to keep him off ballots? Why are they scared of a Kennedy run when it is clear he won't win?

Seriously... I don't get it either. He's got more in common with right-wing populists than with left-wing populists. I expect as usual most people are ignorant and more engaged with what currently celebrity is doing whom or the impending NFL draft. I asked a family member about their thoughts on Kennedy the other day and they had no clue who I was talking about.

Junior Expert
4.1.1  George  replied to  evilone @4.1    one month ago

Which one of these do you think align with actual right wing populists? Other than his policy on vaccines?

Robert F. Kennedy's top policies: A 2024 presidential election guide (usatoday.com)


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