Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Next Kennedy?

Sunday, Caroline Kennedy wrote a New York Times editorial endorsing Barack Obama for president. She wrote that qualities of "leadership, character, and judgment" were more important in this election than policy choices and experience. She compared Obama to her father, saying that both men shared a vision of the American Dream that people desperately needed to believe in.

Monday, Senator Edward M. Kennedy made a public announcement that he too would be supporting Obama's campaign. The article mentioned that after he learned of Ms. Kennedy's op-ed piece, he decided to make his support public.

I'm not sure what the Kennedy's stand to gain by endorsing one candidate over another. It doesn't seem likely that the clan will produce another JFK. Perhaps, by adopting Obama, they are trying to recreate the past, to bring another idealistic young man into the office of the presidency. Certainly there's still a kind of magic still surrounding the Kennedy name. Evoking an image of the young JFK, the Kennedy's say Obama can "inspire" and "change" the country.

I would ask one question. Has the tide of the country changed so much in the past forty years that its governance is now too complex for the idealists, impossible for any but the experienced and vetted to navigate with any sort of certainty?

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15 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was never possible for the "idealists." Otherwise, they would still be in power. Right?

1/29/2008 5:58 PM  
Blogger Tom Fletcher said...

Why is there still a sense of magic around JFK? I mean, we're at almost fifty years. If you link up with RFK, we're talking about forty years. So... what does it say when you pine for something you haven't had for forty years?

I mean, don't the Republican candidates look silly all trying to be the next Reagan? Why shouldn't that standard cut both ways?

1/29/2008 8:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

tom tom tom. as old fashioned as your slang is, you (or i) will never understand the impact of jfk on the baby boomers, because you weren't there man.

in most parts of the country, reagan is revered like a god, so outside of the 415/510/212/818 area codes, republican candidates do NOT look silly trying to be the next reagan. you should know better.

1/30/2008 7:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

tom tom tom. as old fashioned as your slang is, you (or i) will never understand the impact of jfk on the baby boomers, because you weren't there man.

in most parts of the country, reagan is revered like a god, so outside of the 415/510/212/818 area codes, republican candidates do NOT look silly trying to be the next reagan. you should know better.

1/30/2008 7:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Caroline Kennedy's piece was not an "editorial." An editorial is an unsigned article which represents the position of a newspaper's editorial board. What Kennedy wrote was a column on the Times' op-ed page.

1/30/2008 7:17 AM  
Blogger Tom Fletcher said...

Anon 7:03 (who appears very familiar with my speech patterns),

I don't doubt that this works. I recognize there is a "sense of magic" and that it does pay to appear "Reaganesque" (I mean, did Fred Thompson have anything else going for him?).

That doesn't mean I think it's reasonable. Times are different, people are different. The only legitimate claim way, in my opinion, one can hearken back to the past is to be their intellectual heir by adopting their positions and values. Merely looking or sounding similar to someone you liked before is no reason to vote for a person.

To be flip, how many times does it work out for you when you go out with someone who resembles an ex? See? It's creepy, not good.

So, to end without being a grumpypants, what would make me happy: candidates staking clear positions on big questions. Since we're all still gaga for JFK, I'd love to hear a candidate say something like:

"I am here to promote the Freedom Doctrine. The great battleground for the defense and expansion of freedom today, is the whole southern half of the globe: Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East, the lands of the rising people. Their revolution is the greatest in human history. They seek an end to injustice, tyranny, and exploitation. More than an end, they seek a beginning. And there is a revolution which we would support regardless of the Cold War, and regardless of which political or economic route they should choose to freedom."

Then, I would feel good about someone comparing a candidate to JFK. But a comparison because some folks who happen to share a few genes as someone who passed long ago endorsed someone else? No.

1/30/2008 7:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alright, I know it was a big class and all, but it's now the end of January- where is our legal professions grade!!!? Anyone else still missing grades? Am I being irrational in expecting to have them by now?

1/31/2008 7:18 AM  
Anonymous john steele said...

7:18,

My apologies to you and others in the class.

I've completed all the raw grading and am putting in grades today and tomorrow.

1/31/2008 7:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I came here to ask the same question that 7:18 asked... now if only W. Fletcher read this blog too...


It really shouldn't take this long. Tsk.

1/31/2008 8:55 AM  
Blogger Armen said...

I'm pretty sure WF doesn't read the blog, but someone at the 9th Cir. does, because this post was circulated on their intranet. Good going Armen.

1/31/2008 9:32 AM  
Blogger Armen said...

I'm pretty sure WF doesn't read the blog, but someone at the 9th Cir. does, because this post was circulated on their intranet. Good going Armen.

1/31/2008 9:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Willie Fletcher's final was on December 10. That means it has been almost SEVEN WEEKS since we took the final, and no grades. I'm sorry, but that's completely ridiculous. Federal appellate judges have the cushiest jobs this side of. . . well, of academia. Get it in gear, Willie. Come on.

2/01/2008 7:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WF posted grades. Go N&B!

2/02/2008 7:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So did Steele!! huzzah!

2/02/2008 10:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

edit: and who the heck is awake and checking grades at 7:43 a.m. on a Saturday?

2/02/2008 10:19 AM  

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