Under the “I’ll believe it when I see it” category last week came news of a newly announced challenger to the Democrat electoral fiefdom of senile president Joe Biden, in the person of presidential nephew Robert Kennedy Jr. Folks’ ears must’ve perked up when they heard that a Kennedy was running for president again.
Why? You may recall RFK Jr. gained prominence while speaking out about the dangers of the various COVID vaccines, then widely promoted by the Joe Biden administration (and, to be fair, former President Donald Trump and a lot of Republicans, too), a stance that contradicted the official word emanating from the upper echelons of Democrat leadership and the bureaucracy.
Kennedy’s willingness to use his family name to draw attention to a very worthy cause (liberty from vaccine tyranny) is commendable, and I believe most conservatives would credit him for doing the right thing even when it was assured of earning scorn by the beautiful people in Democrat land. Put it this way, I doubt the hags at “The View” would entertain the idea of promoting RFK Jr. and his contrarian viewpoint.
The truth, even if spoken by someone you should be inclined to believe, isn’t welcome under the watchful eyes of the “woke” crowd.
At any rate, I’m not sure what RFK Jr.’s motivation was for mounting a counter-campaign to the broken-down old goat currently occupying the White House, but judging by his initial poll numbers, the 69-year-old lawyer and rabid anti-fossil fuels environmental rights activist should at the very least qualify for a debate (if there is one) with Biden and Marianne Williamson (the only other 2024 announced Democrat candidate).
The Harvard educated Kennedy is no dummy, and Democrats would be foolish not to take this confrontation seriously. How far will it go? We can only guess at this point. In a piece titled “Will RFK Jr. Save the Democratic Party and the Country With It?”, the irreplaceable Roger L. Simon wrote at The Epoch Times:
“[RFK Jr.]’s trying to do what seems impossible, bringing the Humpy-Dumpty of America together again. He said in his speech: ‘During this campaign and during my administration, my objective will be to make as many Americans as possible forget that they are Republicans or Democrats and remember that they are Americans. We need to focus on the values we share, instead of the issues that divide us.’ ...
“The good news is that this year, for the first time in ages, actual ideas will be discussed and debated in the Democratic Party. It may even be reformed and brought back down to Earth from the craziness of ‘wokeland,’ where nobody can even define a woman.
“Just as Trump did the Republican rank-and-file an immense favor by rescuing their party from the RINOs and remaking it as a true people’s party, Kennedy may be saving the Democratic Party from itself.”
As always, Simon makes a number of salient points, and his eagerness to promote RFK Jr.’s Democrat candidacy certainly does not mean Simon’s endorsing the Democrat “outsider” or any of the candidate’s platform. I agree that this type of “conversation” needs a hearing in the Democrat party, but conservatives shouldn’t leap to conclusions that anything will really change in the rapidly left-moving faction.
After all, many of RFK Jr.’s ideas run contrary to the vast majority of Democrats. Donald Trump’s 2016 effort was the opposite. Trump spoke to the interests of the grassroots versus the GOP establishment, and his bid caught fire because of it. Will Kennedy Jr. cause a similar stir with disgruntled liberals, ethnic-first coalitions and low-information types? Label me skeptical. Kennedy primary jaunts have a precedent – that of senator Teddy Kennedy in 1980.
Whereas RFK Jr.’s primary challenge stems from the center, or even right (depends on your point-of-view) of the current Democrat ruling class, Uncle Teddy’s candidacy vis-à-vis Jimmy Carter was from the left (primarily because of the president’s opposition to national healthcare at the time) – or whatever direction the old Massachusetts philandering drunk thought he was pointed in after a bender.
The Kennedy name generated a lot of buzz at the beginning of the eighties, and even as a tween I noticed there was a division in the Democrat party that should’ve been taken seriously. Jimmy Carter’s foreign policy was a dud and the United States was gripped by the hostage crisis in Iran and the horrific economy at home. Inflation was running rampant and interest rates were impossibly high (I definitely remember my folks talking about them).
Carter’s July, 1979, “A Crisis in Confidence” (otherwise referred to as his “malaise” speech) address to the nation encapsulated in a few words the hollowness of the buck-toothed straw-haired Georgian’s leadership. Teddy Kennedy may have sensed a rift developing in the Democrat party and the population and opted to try and elbow Jimmy to the side when he had a chance.
It didn’t work. Teddy conceded the nomination to Carter, delivered a semi-famous speech at the 1980 Democrat convention and the rest is history. There were rumors in subsequent years that Teddy would make another run, but he never did. The Chappaquiddick controversy never fully left him and he contented himself with smearing the reputations of conservative judicial nominees like Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas. Teddy will forever be remembered as “The Lion of the Senate”.
It seems Teddy epitomizes the Kennedy brand today, unless you’re talking about Louisiana Republican senator John Kennedy, who speaks nothing like a liberal.
Besides, it’s always interesting when family members of prominent politicians speak out on some topic and even more attention-grabbing when that person vehemently disagrees with the one in elected office. Who can forget Ronald Reagan Jr. going on the record to oppose his father on numerous issues and then finally “coming out” as a Democrat supporter who strongly implied that he would vote for John Kerry at the 2004 DNC? Ron Jr. also later endorsed Barack Obama and ultimately became a Bernie Sanders fan.
Who ever said political common sense is passed down through DNA?
There was, of course, a virtual parade of Republican family members who defected from Donald Trump at the 2020 Democrat “virtual” convention, including Cindy McCain (the late senator John McCain’s widow), who essentially suggested the longtime Republican and 2008 GOP presidential nominee would’ve favored senile Joe Biden over the incumbent president from his own party if he were able to weigh-in from the great beyond.
As I recall, and it’s been a few years, but I remember Cindy’s speech talking about what a great guy Biden is/was and how the families used to get together for backyard barbecues, like this would be justification enough to purposely vote for catastrophic economic collapse and a “woke” takeover of appointed positions and other anomalies we’ve endured under a hopelessly corrupted idiot like Joe Biden. Would John be happy with the way the country is now?
As for JFK Jr.’s chances of getting far in the Democrat party opposite Joe Biden – or some other honk of similar lack of mindset – it remains to be seen where he would get his voters in a primary.
Judging by recent history, one could surmise that RFK Jr. will vie for the largest slice of anti-establishment Democrat vote, which theoretically could be the remnants from Bernie Sanders’ “Bernie Bro” group. And while his full platform is yet to be exposed, you’d think his anti-vaccine, anti-corporation populist stance could be attractive to a significant slice of government-suspicious libertarians as well as “moderate” independents who just can’t stand Joe Biden.
But there’s also no mistaking that RFK Jr. is a liberal in the family tradition – especially when it comes to wacko environmental beliefs -- or at least those that came after JFK was elected. There’s nothing to indicate otherwise, and his appeals to forget about party labels will only go so far if it’s discovered that the Kennedy candidate is left-leaning on practically everything else.
RFK’s challenge to Biden could gain traction if he were to start earning intra-party endorsements and maybe the nods of celebrities or “liberal” libertarians who just won’t consider joining the Trump Republican side and are fed up with the Joe Biden left-leaning Democrat party.
The mystery is whether there are enough centrist-type Democrats remaining in America today who are eager to dispense with names and adopt more of a pragmatic, anti-establishment agenda. I just don’t see it happening. Part of Bernie Sanders’ appeal was the perception that he was a crusty old socialist who valued income redistribution and demonized the rich. It may not be fair, but RFK Jr. comes from an elite background and most Democrats would automatically equate him with his family forbears.
Is there a Democrat lane for RFK Jr. to run in -- even if there are appealing things about him to some people? Kennedy could get a smattering of Ross Perot-like attention in a general election, but a Democrat primary? How? RFK Jr.’s message won’t attract African-Americans or the LGBTQIA+++-is everything single-issue groups, for example.
It’s an encouraging sign that Democrats are starting to split over another Joe Biden candidacy, but I don’t consider RFK Jr. to be the party-changer many are looking for.
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