Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

End of the Kennedy Legend

If his widow had run for Ted Kennedy's seat, would she have won yesterday's election?

Although Victoria Reggie Kennedy had spent a lifetime in politics and, on the weekend of the wake, showed unusual poise and grace, the Senator's widow rebuffed all suggestions that she run for his seat in a special election to be his proxy in passing legislation for what he called "the cause of my life."

In what would truly have been the last hurrah for the Kennedy dynasty, Tea Party rage would have been tested against half a century of Massachusetts love and loyalty for the family that dominated its politics for so long.

One left-handed indicator of what might have happened can be seen in the robocalls for Libertarian Joe Kennedy (no relation) meant to draw Democratic loyalists away from voting for Martha Coakley. Even in their absence, the Kennedys counted.

Scott Brown insisted he was not running for the "Kennedy seat" but, faced with defeating the Senator's widow, he would probably have ended up as luckless as Ted Kennedy's first opponent in 1962, who pictured him as a 30-year-old novice who would not impress voters if he were running as Edward Moore rather than Edward Moore Kennedy. But as the brother of the President and Attorney General and heir on his mother's side to colorful "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald, Ted Kennedy won easily and kept winning for the rest of the century.

But this time Victoria Reggie Kennedy did not choose to run and, after the unhappy experience that followed her show of interest in replacing Hillary Clinton, neither did Caroline Kennedy or any of her cousins.

For Democrats in the White House and Congress, it was an inopportune time for the Kennedy legend to end, but as JFK might have pointed out to them, "Life is unfair."

1 comment:

Fuzzy Slippers said...

I think she might have won; she'd certainly have been a FAR better candidate than Coakley. It's not certain she'd have won, the people on the ground here in Mass are pretty upset about what is happening in Washington, but she may have.