Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Gee, Ted, Thanks - I think...

The top story this morning is that you can stick a fork in Rudy "Did I mention 9-11?" Guiliani because he's done. Rudy will back McCain now, the latter having won handily in Florida. All that is the latest news, but it's a development from earlier in the week that still has me thinking. The question is this: is an endorsement from Ted Kennedy a good thing, or a bad thing?

The editorial page piece by Caroline Kennedy caught my eye on Sunday. She says Obama could be a "President like my father." Lots of people like to try to project a JFK quality, and some will invoke his name, but not too many get the real deal, the blessing of the family. Big positive for Obama, you'd think, to have the daughter of a legend say outright that BO is the real change agent, is inspiring, and whatnot. You can just feel Hillary frowning.

On the heels of this comes the endorsement by Ted Kennedy. I'm not sure if it matters what rabid right wingers think, since they won't be voting for Democrats in November anyway, but I am curious whether Ted's support is actually a negative among the so-called Reagan Democrats and moderate Republicans who might be so fed up with Bush et al that they might actually cross the party line. Teddy's name says "big government," "socialized medicine," "Washington power elite" and all these buzzwords that fall so easily from the lips of the conservative punditry. And strangely enough, every time I see him I feel a little sad that he could never rise to live up to the legacy of his brothers, that that same ability to inspire that he sees in Obama was a quality that largely eluded him outside of Massachusetts.

All this Kennedy-Obama convergence led Charlie Gibson to ask Ted a question the other day that translated said "Do you think somebody will shoot Obama like your brothers?" (The actual question had to do with persons who are seen as agents of change becoming a target, or something like that.) Kennedy didn't respond directly to the question, and Gibson took some mild heat for bringing it up, but you have to admit you've wondered the same thing, haven't you? It's interesting the things we're willing to talk about, and those we want to keep to ourselves. There was an interesting new show on PBS' American Experience the other night (did I mention I only watch PBS, when I'm not watching Idol, Survivor, Wife Swap, Judge Judy or Dog: Bounty Hunter?) that was called Oswald's Ghost. I've read and seen a lot of assassination stuff over the years, so none of it was new to me, but it was a reminder that we're still living today with the aftermath of those shootings in the '60s. Coming on 50 years, and this year's presidential contest brings it all up again.

All told, I'm not sure the Obama charisma can overcome the Clinton machine in the long run. At this point I like the way McCain is surging, since he's my fave among the GOP, and I'm hoping Super Tuesday turns out to be a split for HC and OB so we can keep things interesting for awhile longer.


Napamusings said...

Well written Barry. I personally only watch PBS as well, except for right now when "Scott Baio is 46 and Pregnant" is on.

I think Caroline Kennedy's endorsement is much more relevant than Ted Kennedy's. She is a private person, and I cannot remember her endorsing a presidential candidate before. It resonates more with me, at least.

As a person of a certain age who has never voted for a Democrat for president, I think I am voting for Obama. I never would have imagined such a thing, but there it is.

Anonymous said...

All those thousands of hours of EIB talk radio (Rush Limbaugh's network) back in the 1990's left me with the opinion that Ted K. is a windbag. I admit I am not inspired when he speaks. All I hear in his rhetoric is "more taxes" leading to "bigger government". I'll be voting for the GOP in 2008, but will support OB or HRC if they are elected while hoping they don't get overly ambitious and start nationalizing medicine. A favorite quote of mine is "If you think health care is expensive now, wait until it is free." The American people are so creative our government can't do much harm. Remember how the economy thrived as Bill C. juggled his Presidential responsibilities and libido (cheap shot -- too much Ann Coulter influence coming across).

I do like to see the public sector's expenditures limited, thus forcing on the bureaucracy some degree of creativity and efficiency.

Your nephew, Steve, in Bentonville Arkansas.

Barry Martin said...

Above all, it seems like a good thing that so many people have gotten engaged in Presidential politics lately - that's the biggest benefit of an inspirational figure. What one can produce, after getting everybody worked up, is the real test. Lots of the story remains to be told.