Peas in a Pod

Someone has to say it, Chris Matthews was right. In speaking about Teddy Kennedy, Matthew's said:

He wanted to be his brother's brother, and then he turned that torch over last year to Barack Obama. And the great thing about the Kennedy's is they always grew as a family. They tended to get better as they got older. This family got better. The Kennedy commitment to civil rights was almost accidental. It began because of history, '63 and Martin Luther King's march. By Bobby it became passion, by Teddy it became real, and then Teddy turns it over to the first African American and says, 'You got the ball.' Amazing history, Barack is now the last brother.
It's easy to see how Barack is now the last brother, though Matthews got it right for the wrong reasons.

Joseph Kennedy, the Kennedy patriarch, was involved in numerous and highly public extramarital affairs. Barack Obama, Sr. was a bigamist. Joe Kennedy was the exclusive importer of Gordon's Gin and Dewar's Scotch, and he was rumored to have made his fortune illegally distributing alcohol during Prohibition. Barack Sr. was an alcoholic.

John F. Kennedy's book 'Profiles In Courage' won a Pulitzer Prize in biography. From the moment it was published there were rumors it was ghostwritten, which were proven to be true in 2008. Rumors of authenticity also surround Barack Obama, Jr.'s book 'Dreams from My Father.' Both candidates used this literary 'street cred' to bolster their academic bonafides, and the books were crucial elements in their rise to celebrity.

Robert Kennedy had intricate knowledge of the Teamsters and organized labor activities. Barack Obama, Jr. is also intimately familiar with labor unions. One would be characterized as having an outside perspective, while the other would be more of an insider. Also like Robert, Barack was educated in a variety of settings, including schools in other countries. Neither had much stability in their childhood family life.

Like Edward 'Teddy' Kennedy, Barack Obama, Jr. has demonstrated a belief, and need, for a multi-tiered justice system, where elites get away with crimes that get common folks convicted whether it's tax evasion, voter intimidation or manslaughter. They, apparently, have similar beliefs in the purity and altruism of the welfare state, most likely because they see themselves as above it, rather than in it. Barack and Teddy also have either mediocre or non-existent academic records and an ability to find undeserved success. Obama was the first black president of the Harvard Law Review, and, curiously, did not publish anything in the review, though he still got a book contract based on that position. Teddy was busted for cheating at Havard and never paid a political price for it.

Religion fills an interesting role for both Kennedy's and Obama's. Barack Sr. was a Catholic converted to Islam who became an atheist. The Kennedy's, so closely associated with the Roman Catholic Church, were often at odds with their faith especially on issues such as adultery and abortion. JFK's Catholicism and potential obligations to the Pope were an issue in the 1960 campaign, as was Barack Jr.'s membership at Trinity and his devotion to Reverend Wright. Faith for either family seems to have been a tool of political expediency and not a belief system.

In political ideology, if it hadn't already been used, Barack could have easily delivered ...
And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.
... because that is what he believes, that the state takes precedence over the individual.

Teddy may have passed the torch, but he seems to have done it in much the same way that he championed civil rights, like it was a gift ... something only he had the right to bestow, something granted to lessers from their betters and never with the intention of providing truly equal opportunity. After all, there can truly only be one royal family at a time.

* H/T to Kris at shoutfirst for the idea on the photo images
Which one doesn't have a halo?


  1. The newspaper didn't come this morning. "This is better than reading the newspaper anyway," Dan said. So, thanks, you made his day.

  2. Dan says you got a couple of things wrong. You'll have to check with him though because I couldn't understand what he was saying.