By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

The Kennedys and the Clintons

It’s hard to imagine that anyone would base his or her vote on what a Kennedy says. (Especially this one!) Still, it’s pretty interesting that both Caroline Kennedy and Sen. Ted Kennedy would endorse Barack Obama on the same weekend.

Caroline Kennedy’s choice, which she reveals in an op-ed piece for the New York Times, is all the more impressive because she submitted it before last night’s South Carolina blowout. For all she knew, her op-ed was going to appear on a very good day for Hillary Clinton — that is, the day after a narrow loss in South Carolina and bulging leads in most other states. Whatever the opposite is of inevitable, that’s how Obama was starting to look, and Kennedy endorsed him anyway. As it turns out, she looks prescient.

As for Ted Kennedy, I have to assume his endorsement has been in the works for some time, and that he’s been waiting for the moment when it would have maximum effect. With Super Tuesday coming up on Feb. 5, and with Massachusetts being a part of it, now’s the time. I’m surprised by Kennedy’s choice. The Clintons have always been wildly popular here, and Kennedy seemed to have enjoyed a good relationship with them. Did something happen? Or does he simply find Obama too impressive not to support?

With Sen. John Kerry and Gov. Deval Patrick also supporting Obama, that’s the trifecta for the state’s top three elected officials. House Speaker Sal DiMasi’s endorsement of Clinton isn’t looking all that significant right now.

Predictions, always futile, have been especially so this year. But I can confidently predict this: The next few days are going to be the roughest of Clinton’s campaign, regardless of whether she has a happy Super Tuesday or not.

Photo (cc) by toastiest. Some rights reserved.

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  1. O-FISH-L

    Dan – Um, the opposite of inevitable is evitable.Main Entry: in·ev·i·ta·blePronunciation: i-‘ne-v&-t&-b&lFunction: adjectiveincapable of being avoided or evaded —–Main Entry: ev·i·ta·blePronunciation: ‘e-v&-t&-b&lFunction: adjectivecapable of being avoided

  2. Anonymous

    I just saw Andrea Mitchell reporting the Kennedy endorsements and she was practically growing fangs. She’s a bit too anti-Hillary. Has the Jr.Senator from NY got any other senate collegues to stand with her (except Schumer)? The next bombs to drop have to be Edwards and Gore: will it be before Super Tuesday?

  3. Anonymous

    As to Dan’s question of why, it’s been long rumored that John Jr. had a problem with Hil’s arrival in NY. His long term plan was to be Senator Kennedy. He expected a meeting with the Clintons to talk about their foray into the Big Apple,and eheir coveting of Monihan’s seat. Of course that never came and John supposedly seethed over that slight. I’m thinking that Caroline didn’t like it much either.

  4. Anonymous

    Dan,I will avoid taking advantage of the juxtaposing of Teddy and your cat. Too easy.

  5. Dan Kennedy

    Anon 10:16: Read the photo credit. Not my cat.

  6. O-FISH-L

    Why did Mrs. Schlossberg (nee Kennedy) revert back to her maiden name for this endorsement? For her to omit her Jewish married name in the byline smacks of political opportunism in one of its more vile forms, bordering on anti-semitism.

  7. Manuel A.Tellechea

    Just Like Her Daddy and WorseThe Princess Royal of the Kennedy clan, who has herself accomplished nothing in life except being born to wealth and privilege, has draped her father’s moth-eaten cloak on Barack Obama, who, in her father’s White House, would have been a footman or cook. Say what you will about Obama, he got there himself without the benefit of a rich daddy or corrupt political machine. He may be more unprepared to be president and more disastrous for this country than was JFK, but we hope, at least, that he will be impervious to “love notes” from middle-aged political camp followers who are still trying to be influential without ever being relevant.Tomorrow the black sheep of the family, Sen. Ted Kennedy, will follow in his niece Caroline’s footsteps and endorse Obama at American University. It is still possible that some Kennedy cousin might endorse Hillary; perhaps the other murderer or the rapist.

  8. Anonymous

    Somebody on one of the Sunday shows (Cokie Roberts maybe?) pointed out that, after his Howard Dean endorsement that went nowhere, and in light of his need to work with both sides of the aisle on the issue of global warming, it’s unlikely Gore will endorse anyone. Of course nothing’s impossible, but I think this one’s a safe bet.

  9. Anonymous

    Might the Senior Kennedy yet have hopes of a VEEP spot?

  10. Steve Garfield

    o-fish-l:”Her legal name is Caroline Bouvier Kennedy, but sometimes she is referred to incorrectly with her husband’s last name, Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg.”

  11. Anonymous

    o-fish-l said…For her to omit her Jewish married name in the byline smacks of political opportunism in one of its more vile forms, bordering on anti-semitism.The smear is easily debunked with 5 seconds of searching.The real question is when did o-fish-l start giving a damn about anti-Semitism?

  12. liamstliam

    *****It’s hard to imagine that anyone would base his or her vote on what a Kennedy says. (Especially this one!)*****Dan, that’s harsh.I think, for all his foibles, he’s been a great senator for Massachusetts over the last three decades.He didn’t bail out like Kerry, or like Gov. Romney or others.I believe someday, he will get the same grudging respect as Richard Nixon.Manuel: Look at her body of work. She has done more than a lot of the members of that Kennedy generation. (Or members of other members of the priveleged of that generation).Just occurred to me. That’s my-my-my-my-my generation.My guess, Dan, is that Kennedy, understand what it’s like to wear and albatross and a millstone around his neck, knows that Sen. Clinton cannot win because of her negatives.Thanks to one of the anonymous posters for explaing the connection with John Jr. Makes sense.

  13. Don, American

    The pussy is really symbolic.

  14. Dan Kennedy

    Liam: When I said “Especially this one!”, I was referring to myself! Sorry to have to explain the joke.

  15. Esther

    I watched Caroline and Ted today, and I have to say that it was a little thrilling to hear Caroline especially. I don’t think she’d squander her father’s memory on a candidate she didn’t really believe in.In my opinion, I think what this does for Barack Obama is give his candidacy an added layer of legitimacy. Not that it wasn’t legitimate before, but now I think he actually could win. Ok, maybe I’m dreaming. But it no longer seems like a fringe, pie-in-the-sky type of thing. This is serious. Somehow, Obama’s candidacy just seems a little more possible today.

  16. Anonymous

    * Not to disagree with the great Cokie Roberts , I’m hearing Big Al may come out for Obama soon. * I also think it’s not a coincidence that Gov.Sibelius is giving the response tonight. She is supposedly endorsing OBama this week as well: with McCaskill, that’s two very high profile (Red state) women. * The Caroline anti-semite comment was the laugh of the day!

  17. liamstliam

    OK, Dan.I guess I am a little dense. 😉

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