posted on January 23, 2009 11:02
It may be the biggest myth in American politics: the well-oiled Kennedy machine.
Well-oiled it was in 1960, when old Joe Kennedy was paying for it and running it through Bobby. But the machine has stumbled ever since, especially on the presidential stage.
Bobby Kennedy’s run in 1968 got off to a bad start. He hesitated too long, and he lost the young people. His charisma – and the memory of JFK – eventually inspired people, but his assassination obscures the political missteps.
Then there was Ted Kennedy’s disastrous run in 1980. Like Caroline, he couldn’t explain why he was running. Then he lost to Jimmy Carter, for crying out loud.
As I recall, Bobby’s son Joe stumbled at one point when he tried to run for Governor of Massachusetts.
Now we have the sad spectacle of Caroline and the Senate. The only thing worse than her entrance into the race was her exit from it.
What’s the problem here? Two guesses:
- The Kennedys started believing their own mystique.
- Their acolytes (not advisers) are too awed by the mystique to give sound political advice.
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