Friday, December 19, 2008

Probably the worst legacy of the Kennedy assassinations...

Jonah Goldberg, in today's Chron, on Caroline Kennedy's decision to seek the Senate seat being vacated by Hillary Clinton:

Kennedy, Palin treatment evidence of cultural divide
One could say without fear of overstating things that the liberal reaction to the inexperienced Caroline has been somewhat more gracious than the reaction to the "inexperienced" Palin. Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post has devoted two columns in as many weeks to this "fairy tale" scenario in which Kennedy, our "tragic national princess," is finally rewarded — for her years of quiet dignity, selflessly avoiding scandal and the paparazzi — with the Senate seat that once belonged to her uncle Bobby. What's astounding about the normally sensible Marcus' case for "the Cinderella Kennedy" (New York magazine's phrase) is that she doesn't really make one, at least not on the merits. Marcus doesn't even bother. It's all schoolgirl gushing.
Here's a news flash: Not everyone truckles with doe-eyed awe at "America's royal family." Some of us don't even like the idea of American royal families. JFK and RFK had their good points, but they don't deserve the beatification they receive on a daily basis. As a man, Teddy Kennedy is hardly a role model, and as a public servant he's not much better. I, for one, don't think denying poor black kids private-school scholarships (aka vouchers) is heroic. Nor do I think his support for alternative energy, except when it might obstruct his Hyannis Port estate's views with windmills, is admirable.
Simply, the Kennedy clan is no priestly caste, serving as the conscience of the nation, and its progeny do not deserve eternal deference.

A-yep, I'd say that's about right. As the title of this post implies, of course, I think this phenomenon is perhaps the worst legacy of the JFK and RFK assassinations. No doubt our Founding Fathers are looking down at us as they shake their heads and scream, "That sort of thing is exactly what we fought, bled and died to rid you of, you fools!" And Goldberg's assessment of Teddy is pretty much spot-on. (It would seem, as well, that Caroline rolled closer to the Teddy tree in terms of her support — or, lack thereof — of the RKBA, to name but one issue...) It really would be interesting to see what path Teddy would have traveled had his last name been Smith, Jones, or anything but Kennedy — or, for that matter, if his brothers hadn't been cut down in the prime of their political careers. He probably still would have gotten away with the Chappaquiddick episode being a Kennedy, but probably he might have been viewed in roughly the same light as Roger Clinton, i.e., the black sheep of the family. I'd like to think most Americans outside New England see him as exactly that, but any way you look at it, the fact that Teddy's their senior Senator doesn't speak well of Massachusetts voters (no offense, Jay G and Ted). Who are the suckers in this country again?