Report: Ted Kennedy’s Obama endorsement based on rage and vanity
posted at 9:36 am on January 31, 2008 by Bryan
If the WaPo’s Mary Ann Akers is correct, Ted Kennedy endorsed Barack Obama not because Obama is such a great candidate in his own right. Obama just happened to be the lucky recipient of a rebound. The endorsement would presumably have gone to John Edwards or anyone else who happened to be Hillary’s main competition when Uncle Ted flew into a rage. Because it wasn’t about the candidate. It was about the Kennedys.
Sources say Kennedy was privately furious at Clinton for her praise of President Lyndon Baines Johnson for getting the 1964 Civil Rights Act accomplished. Jealously guarding the legacy of the Kennedy family dynasty, Senator Kennedy felt Clinton’s LBJ comments were an implicit slight of his brother, President John F. Kennedy, who first proposed the landmark civil rights initiative in a famous televised civil rights address in June 1963.
One anonymous source described Kennedy as having a “meltdown” in reaction to Clinton’s comments. Another source close to the Kennedy family says Senator Kennedy was upset about two instances that occurred on a single day of campaigning in New Hampshire on Jan. 7, a day before the state’s primary.
The first was at an event in Dover, N.H., at which Clinton supporter Francine Torge introduced the former first lady saying, “Some people compare one of the other candidates to John F. Kennedy. But he was assassinated. And Lyndon Baines Johnson was the one who actually” signed the civil rights bill into law.
Kennedy was also apparently upset that Clinton said on the same day: “Dr. [Martin Luther] King’s dream began to be realized when President Johnson passed the Civil Rights Ac. It took a president to get it done.”
Both comments that day, by Clinton and her supporter, were meant to make the point that Clinton would be better equipped to get things done as president than Obama, her chief Democratic rival. Sources say Clinton called Kennedy to apologize for the LBJ comments. But whatever she said clearly wasn’t enough to assuage Kennedy, who endorsed Obama earlier this week.
How pathetic is this: The “change” candidate gets his Camelot remnant endorsement based not on his qualifications or what he’ll do for the country, but based on how offended the Kennedy capo got at what Hillary Clinton said about events that took place more than 40 years ago. Ted Kennedy’s eloquent speech endorsing Obama was just so much window-dressing. It won over David Brooks, for whatever that’s worth, but Kennedy probably didn’t mean a word of it. Kennedy is just using Obama to lash out at the Clintons.
It just goes to show that at the end of the day, the Kennedys still don’t care about anything more than their own dynastic identity. If they really cared about real “change,” they would leave the political scene. The Kennedy soap opera should have long past run its course.
Update: Jon Swift got there first.