January
27th 2008
Barack and Roll

Posted under: American history, nepotism

Barack Obama is a happy, happy man today.  He trounced his rivals for the Democratic nomination yesterday in South Carolina, and has the wind at his back as the rest of us all trudge toward Super Tuesday.

wonka_gold_ticket3.jpgTenured Radical has a post up that notes Caroline Kennedy’s endorsement of Obama this morning in the New York Times.  The Radical one writes, “If the Kennedy family hits the campaign trail for Obama, it’s all over but the shouting, friends.”  If the whole family–Senator Edward M., Congressman Patrick, and Lieutenant Governor Kathleen–you know, the Kennedys who are actually in politics–hits the trail for one candidate, that would make a statement.  But, seriously:  does anyone really care who Caroline Kennedy thinks should be the next President?  (I suppose the title of CK’s op-ed piece should clue us in as to why her opinion should matter:  “A President Like My Father.”)  But, is being (tragically) the only survivor of your birth family something that should make your opinion matter?  (It may matter to baby boomers and older people, but I don’t think she matter to my generation, or certainly to anyone under 30.)

Obama’s campaign benefits from the notion that he represents a break with the past, and from the tedious royalism of Bush-Clinton, Bush-Clinton that looms with the prospect of a Hillary Clinton presidency.  Hauling out the genealogical blessing of Caroline Kennedy is trying to have it both ways (although it may be a canny maneuver because Clinton’s support tends to come from those who are 45 and older).  But I thought that the Republican party was the party that celebrated and naturalized unearned privilege.  Shouldn’t Democrats get over this worship of blood and family?  Allons, enfants de la patrie…

UPDATE:  Tenured Radical has a new post up noting that Senator Kennedy’s endorsement of Obama is confirmed, and she comments on Paul Krugman’s column this morning in which he comments on the lessons of 1992 for any Democrat elected president this year.  Personally, I’ve never believed that Obama actually believes that he is a uniquely non-divisive person who can “unite the country.”  This has always seemed like a shrewd way to differentiate himself from Senator Clinton, but I think (I hope?) he’s too smart to fall for his own rhetoric.  Bill and Hillary Clinton were not divisive, their “sin” was that they won–in 1992, and again in 1996, and again in the failed impeachment of 1999.  If he is elected, he and Michelle will be Public Enemies #1 and #2 in the right-wing playbook anyway, and Krugman’s column reminds us all that any new Democratic president had better understand that and be ready to swing for the fences on progressive policy.

6 Comments »

6 Responses to “Barack and Roll”

  1. New Kid on the Hallway on 27 Jan 2008 at 10:31 am #

    Heh! Yes, I totally agree on this. When Teddy weighs in on someone, I think it will matter. Till then – less so.

  2. Manuel A. Tellechea on 27 Jan 2008 at 2:50 pm #

    Just Like Her Daddy and Worse

    The Princess Royal of the Kennedy clan, who has herself accomplished nothing in life except being born to wealth and privilege, has draped her father’s moth-eaten cloak on Barack Obama, who, in her father’s White House, would have been a footman or cook. Say what you will about Obama, he got there himself without the benefit of a rich daddy or corrupt political machine. He may be more unprepared to be president and more disastrous for this country than was JFK, but we hope, at least, that he will be impervious to “love notes” from middle-aged political camp followers who are still trying to be influential without ever being relevant.

    http://reviewofcuban-americanblogs.blogspot.com

  3. Ari on 27 Jan 2008 at 7:31 pm #

    Hauling out the genealogical blessing of Caroline Kennedy is trying to have it both ways

    I don’t think Caroline’s endorsement means much. But Teddy’s matters for many skeptical liberals. Whether it should nor not is another issue.

  4. Radreadr on 27 Jan 2008 at 8:23 pm #

    Bill Bennet was on TV the other night comparing Obama to Reagan. That’s one right-wing loony going on about another. Now Carolyn Kennedy compares Obama to Kennedy. So what do those two have in common: they are both highly over-rated as presidents and unnecessarily revered by their respective sides. There are news reports that Ted is going to back Obama. IF so, there will be blood. All this K stuff makes me wonder if instead of “where’s the beef?” we should be asking, “where’s the scotch?”

  5. Historiann on 27 Jan 2008 at 9:52 pm #

    Rad, you crack me up! I agree–scotch is not a bad plan B. Was Bennett really comparing Obama at all favorably to Reagan? That would be newsworthly.

    Ari, I think EMK’s endorsement is going to be huge, if only because it’s NOT going to Clinton, as later news reports have it. The Senator (as those of us who have lived in Massachusetts know him) has done at least as much if not more for the liberal cause over the past 47 years than either of his brothers ever did–no fault of their own, of course, but quite frankly, an endorsement from a living Senator Kennedy on his own behalf would means a great deal more to me than an endorsement from a child of the former president. He (EMK) is the real deal.

  6. Senate appointments: Well now, isn’t that “spayshul?” : Historiann : History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present on 05 Jan 2009 at 8:44 am #

    [...] turned Obama into a Hologram of their progressive fantasies.  Remember the big (partial) Kennedy-family endorsement of Obama before Super Tuesday?  Did the family renounce their inherited privilege and ask people not to listen to them any [...]