What to do about the other Joe Kennedy

Joe Kennedy
Joe Kennedy

With the primaries for the U.S. Senate now behind us, I’m starting to hear rumblings about a third candidate in the race — Joe Kennedy. No, he’s not the former congressman. Rather, he’s an independent who says his views “are closely aligned with the Libertarian Party.”

Thus the media’s perpetual dilemma. Do they cover someone who poses absolutely no threat either to Democratic candidate Martha Coakley or Republican Scott Brown? Or do they ignore him and face accusations of bias in favor of the two major parties?

Such matters should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Kennedy did have to get 10,000 signatures, just like Coakley and Brown. But the majors had to test themselves in contested primaries. Kennedy, by contrast, automatically won a spot on the ballot. It hardly seems right to put him on an equal footing.

I’d also draw a contrast between Kennedy’s candidacy and those of past longshot candidates who represented actual political parties. In recent years, the Green and Libertarian parties have briefly enjoyed major-party status thanks to the appeal of strong candidates like Jill Stein and Carla Howell, respectively. In situations like those, attention must be paid. But Kennedy is not a third-party candidate; he’s a no-party candidate.

Kennedy deserves some coverage, but certainly not equal coverage. And I’d invite him to the first televised debate. If he registers in subsequent poll results and can raise some money, then he’ll deserve to be taken seriously. If not, then the media shouldn’t be blamed for focusing on candidates who actually have some chance of winning.

36 thoughts on “What to do about the other Joe Kennedy

  1. Local Editor

    I don’t think the “tested themselves in major primaries” standard is really fair. Would Scott Brown be a less serious candidate if Jack E. Robinson hadn’t jumped in?

    That’s not to say that this Joe Kennedy deserves equal treatment, just that his lack of major party backing shouldn’t be a disqualifier.

  2. Bob Gardner

    If someone can get on the ballot by collecting 10,000 signatures there should be a pretty strong reason for limiting coverage. The only good reason I can think of is logistical, if there are just too many candidates to invite to each debate. That obviously does not apply here.
    Deciding that a candidate has to raise money to be taken seriously by the media is about the most pernicious thing I can imagine, and it is done everywhere. The media, which pretends to disapprove of money’s domination of the electoral process, amplifys the role of money.
    I would propose instead that the media instead keep track of how much each campaign is spending per vote, using the polls as a way to estimate the number of likely votes each candidate is likely to get. At a certain threshold the Globe (or whoever) might announce that candidate X is not really running for office but merely buying votes and would no longer be treated like a serious candidate.
    It might be embarrassing, sometimes, to have Michael Bloomberg drop off the radar screen during his own reelection but I think we could live with a little embarrassment. And it would be more logical than the way the media handles it now.

    1. Dan Kennedy

      @Bob Gardner: Though I share your discomfort over using money as a measuring stick, I would argue that it’s not just to impress the media — it’s a measure of whether the candidate is going to be able to get his message out to the public except via free media.

      I do think polling has its purposes, too. Let everyone in to the first televised debate. After round one, anyone who can’t get 5 percent — a very low threshold — is disinvited from future debates.

      I’m not sure there are any objective criteria you could use that would say “yes” to Tim Cahill and “no” to Joe Kennedy. Ultimately, some judgment calls have to be made.

  3. Newshound

    No, it’s not news unless newsworthy.

    Same as the average guy who cheats on his wife, gets in an argument, smashes up his car and his rescued with the use of his favorite golf club which might be of interest to the neighbors and that’s it.

    News are the issues surrounding candidates who are likely to be the next senator. Suppose Mr. Brown were running unopposed. There wouldn’t be a race, thus no news – maybe a feature story.

    Same with this Joe Kennedy – maybe a feature story about why he is running, who he is, what is expectations are, if he is making a contribution in some way in promoting certain ideals about government, etc. But, it isn’t newsworthy in relation to the contest between two substantial candidates for an important federal office.

  4. Mike LaBonte

    Somehow I’m reminded of the old story about the guy who had his name legally changed to Margaret Thatcher and tried to get on a UK ballot to run against her. This Joe Kennedy may not be so disingenuous, having a “The Kennedy Name” page on his website (haven’t been able to load it yet, though). But one wonders how many nomination paper signers knew who he really was.

    Anyway, I’m always happy to have more than two candidates. Hopefully there will be another on the liberal side to have the spoiler effect balanced across parties.

  5. Jerry

    My polling place had three ballots available on Tuesday – Republican, Democrat, and Libertarian. The Libertarian ballot had no candidates listed but offered a space for a write-in. Just wondering: How many people wrote in Joe Kennedy’s name?

  6. paul

    If someone can get on the ballot by collecting 10,000 signatures there should be a pretty strong reason for limiting coverage.

    The thing that bothers me is that it’s relatively easy to simply pay people to gather signatures for you. You need the money to pay them, though, so the barrier is really financial rather than an expression of significant public support. I’m not sure there’s really anything wrong with paying people to gather signatures — I suspect most/all of the primary candidates went this route because of the tight time frame. But the fact that someone had the cash to pay some folks to go out and get signatures for them doesn’t mean they are automatically a candidate who should be taken seriously.

  7. lkcape

    Isn’t it the voter who should decide which candidates should be taken seriously?

    The press, because it is a free press, is free to cover or not as it wishes.

    But in doing so, they risk being viewed as biased.

    I see that as a price the media pays for its freedom.

  8. Nial Liszt

    The 1946 Democratic primary for the 11th Congressional District included one John F. Kennedy and two other men named Joseph Russo.

  9. O-FISH-L

    Everyone on the ballot should get some degree of news coverage –voters can skip it if they want– but not everyone should be included in the debates.

    The debates, limited in number and time, should have a higher standard. I would say 10% instead of 5%. Grace Ross and Christy Mihos were distractions in 2006 and didn’t belong there. I’m not even sure Khazei, Pagliucca or Robinson belonged at the recent ones. The net effect of including the quixotic candidates is that we hear less from the candidates who matter.

    As for this Joseph Kennedy character, it makes me wonder if Ms. Coakley is losing any sleep at the thought of thousands of Dem seniors getting confused and throwing one last vote to Camelot. Is it too late to get some butterfly ballots in circulation?

  10. Brad Deltan

    Would we even be asking this if the guy’s name was Bob Smith? Or more to the point, ANYTHING BUT “Joe Kennedy”.

    This guy has one thing and one thing only going for him: name recognition. I’m sure many thousands of voters would put a check next to “Joe Kennedy” if his name’s on the ballot. I invite Dan to inform us just how much incredible political power the name “Kennedy”…absent any context…can carry in the Bay State.

    In this particular case, the fact that there’s a “Kennedy” running for a seat that was held by a “Kennedy” will no doubt go a long way to getting votes. Votes that are all but obtained through fradulent means, but votes nonetheless. This JK could really foul things up for Coakley if all the old-school dyed-in-the-wool Democrat Kennedy-supporters out there decide to vote on the name and the name alone.

    In fact, if anything Joe Kennnedy wants LESS media coverage because the more coverage he gets, the more likely people realize A: He’s not that Joe Kennedy, and B: he’s nothing like TED Kennedy, either.

  11. Newshound

    I know of a Kennedy by the name of Dan who outdistances himself in every way from these candidates for honesty, integrity, concern for our environment (and not just atmosphere) and civilization, depth of thinking, and he’d have my vote if running.

    So much for the Kennedy name and Dan’s contribution to helping hold it up to the highest standard.

    Instead, right now, we have a horse race going on with two candidates up front. Like I wrote, there is a most likely very significant story about the candidates who choose to run without much chance of winning. Why? Who are they? What motivates them? What are they attempting to accomplish?

    When it comes to Brown and Coakley, we know with pretty good insightfulness that they are going to give it their best shot with decent expectations of winning, setting aside Mr. Brown’s somewhat uphill battle. Nevertheless, this contest is not over yet. There is a separate story with each of them, too, as to why they are so motivated to seek the office, other than to be elected and fill the position. And, that is a most interesting story, too. How much are they doing it for their own gain compared to their devotion to serving our country in a spirited and dignified way?

    All of these candidates need smoking out, but each for a different reason, some because they are likely to win and are serious candidates, others simply because they have hardly a chance of even being heard of during or following the election.

    There’s another sad story too: there simply are too many voters in Massachusetts who really don’t know who is running for U. S. Senate. Maybe a decline in newspaper readership contributes to that lack of knowledge, and maybe increased public apathy is contributing to the decline in readership.

  12. Adam

    Just loaded the section of the website Mike LaBonte mentioned.

    It reads, “To preempt any potential confusion caused by my name, I claim no relation to the family or relatives of President John F. Kennedy. The surname Kennedy is very common in Massachusetts to the extent that I have encountered a number of people with the name Joe Kennedy over the years.

    Additionally I have waited to ensure that no one from the family of John F. Kennedy was going to run for the position previously held by Edward Kennedy. Only with Joseph P Kennedy’s validation that he is not going to run would I even consider my own candidacy for office. Their family has a proud heritage in politics which I believe should be allowed to continue, if they so desire. I say this not to diminish my conviction for the position, but out of respect for the work and the great contributions their family has made to American politics.”

  13. Bob Gardner

    @Newshound:
    Are you saying that political coverage, in the name of seriousness and subtantiality, should use the coverage of Tiger Woods as its model?
    Let’s face it. Scott Brown’s chances of being our next Senator are about the same as Joe Kennedy’s. That makes Martha Coakley virtually unopposed. Is there any reason to cover this race at all?

  14. lkcape

    Does Dan’s brother, Edward M. Kennedy, from Smallville, MA lose his right to run for the Senate just because another Edward M. Kennedy from Hyannisport held the office for a number of years?

    I would think that, as long as he satisfied the Constitutional requirements for office, to deny him would be a violation of his civil and Constitutional rights .

    If Joe Kennedy can get the statutorily mandated signatures on his petition, he gets to run.

    More power to him.

    The press still has the right to cover his campaign or not as it wishes.

  15. Michael Pahre

    The Boston Globe news department already pulled this non-coverage act on Jack E. Robinson in the primaries. They did big background pieces, one per day, on all the other five candidates, but skipped Robinson. I think the Globe’s news coverage had a near blackout on Robinson until the day of the election.

    The Globe’s op-ed pages, however, gave Robinson equal footing when all six candidates got their own pieces published.

    Note that the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce had forums for all six candidates. Radio Boston did radio shows for all six. WGBH/Greater Boston had both Robinson and Brown on the night before the election.

    Based on the other media’s coverage, I think that Globe’s news department’s decision not to cover Robinson was wrong.

    And Robinson had the same 10,000 signature test you are using, in part, in judging coverage for Joe Kennedy No Relation.

    For debates, a common test used nationally is 5% (or 10%) in a poll (or three consecutive polls). If Joe Kennedy No Relation can make that cut, then include him.

    Robinson ended up with 11% of the Republican vote, so coverage of him was justified by both 5 or 10% standards.

    The problem with the 5 or 10% poll standard? Somebody has to pay for that poll. And the Globe probably felt it was a waste of their own money for the Republican primary.

  16. LFNeilson

    Reminiscent of 1962, with Edward McCormick saying of Edward M. Kennedy, “If your name were just Edward Moore, your candidacy would be a joke.”

    Ironic that a snoozer campaign would suddenly light up on the discovery of Joe Kennedy. Christmas lights, maybe? Good indication that much of the light is focused in the wrong place.

  17. I’ve written a couple of bits about Joe Kennedy. I do wonder how many little old ladies will be confused and accidentally throw votes to the guy.
    But, that said, if you get on the ballot, you should get coverage and be invited to the debates. Viability has nothing to do with it. There is no excuse not to allow him on the stage with the other two and, in articles, reporters should at least mention that he is on the ballot.
    Do you know how hard it is to collect 10,000 valid signatures? Let me tell you, as someone who spent months thousands of signatures to run as an independent for Congress, it is grueling. You meet tons and tons of people. You have every right to be taken seriously by the media and given the same opportunities, on the airwaves, which are owned by us, to be heard.

    1. Dan Kennedy

      “Do you know how hard it is to collect 10,000 valid signatures?”

      @Tony: I’m told that he used paid signature-gatherers. His name is Joe Kennedy. How hard do you suppose it was for someone to get people to sign a petition to send “Joe Kennedy” to the Senate? I think it’s safe to say his experience was not the same as yours.

      In 2008, there were four significant non-major-party presidential candidates: Ralph Nader, Bob Barr, Chuck Baldwin and Cynthia McKinney. (I’m not sure why the Wikipedia article I’m citing names only four, but perhaps these were the folks who got on the ballot in enough states that they could theoretically win. I know there were others, too.) Do you think democracy would have been served if Obama and McCain had had to share stage time equally with them in the televised debates?

      I’m part of the way with you. I wouldn’t have ignored them entirely. It would have been great if there had been a debate or two featuring the four, or a series of round-robin debates. Certainly C-SPAN would have covered those, and PBS and NPR probably could have been jawboned into it as well.

      But equal time and equal coverage? No.

  18. Newshound

    Bob Gardner – good point. “Is there any reason to cover this race at all.” Perhaps not, as a political race in which the winner has all but been declared. In the context of a political race it may not be a story.

    The responsibility of the media is to the reader, not the candidates themselves. There is probably a story about each of the candidates but for most it isn’t about the chance of them winning. The story is about who they are and why they are running. There may be stories, too, about why there is little interest, and stories about why this election is all but over already.

    Who each of these people are and what motivates them in itself is a human interest story even if not a political election story.

    The stories have to be interesting to the reader. If not, it is just a waste of newsprint and further decline in circulation.

    If it is a choice between a boring story about a boring senate race that is already decided, the newsprint space is better devoted to the comics.

  19. Newshound

    Dan – you make good points. These peripheral candidates, while not universally accepted, often offer some worthwhile ideas and ideals. They can spur interest and debate with significant candidates, and in the narrower sense they are often a story worth reporting.

    Sometimes the candidate who isn’t about to win is the more interesting story, but the story is more about a unique person doing something unique rather than the political contest itself.

  20. lkcape

    Peripheral candidates can also force the more “popular” candidates to address issues that they try mightily to ignore.

    “Do you think democracy would have been served if Obama and McCain had had to share stage time equally with them in the televised debates?”

    Possibly. But since it didn’t happen, the question is another one of your straw men.

  21. Bob Gardner

    When my neighbor Laura Ross ran for Congress against Tip O’Neill years ago, the Globe ran a long profile of her, and ran it the week after the election. Before the election, her name was never (or hardly ever) mentioned in the Globe.
    Do you think the editors were thinking of their readers? Or do you think it more likely they wanted to score a few point with an old (and powerful) friend, by not irritating him with coverage of his opponent?
    I think that whom to cover during an election is less a decision about how to serve the readers than it is a way for a media outlet to act as a power broker. Why do it unless it is absolutely necessary, as it was in the New Hampshire primary?
    @ Dan, I agree that Joe Kennedy had a relatively easy time getting 10,000 signatures because of his name. But his name also makes him more of a factor in this race, like it or not.

  22. “Do you think democracy would have been served if Obama and McCain had had to share stage time equally with them in the televised debates?”

    Technically, the United States is a Constitutional Republic, not a “democracy.” But, yeah, I think the electorate would have been better served with the indie candidates in that debate and every debate. The public is always better off when all of their choices are covered equally and fairly. I also think the electorate is best served when the candidates are forced to debate substantial issues, in multiple debates, for more than one hour. These races aren’t beauty contests; they are important. If they can’t handle two hours of thorough questioning, they have no business being in the race. I would also say that if we did have this, maybe we could move from a Constitutional Republic to a Democracy in the European style, where there are multiple parties, working in coalitions on issues instead of the incumbent, corporate-occupied-territory system we have now.

    What is so hilarious is when the media people say to indies, “You can’t win.” Well, guess what? One of the other two major party candidates isn’t going to win either! And yet, that doesn’t keep reporters and media outlets from offering both the candidates coverage. And what is even more puzzling is that a good, hearty, even bloody political race, where all the candidates on the ballot are covered and taken seriously, SELLS newspapers and gains viewers on television and listeners on radio! It fires people up. It gets them involved. It makes money! The fact that so many media outlets never seem to realize this is fascinating to me.

    I recall Dan a good article you did in 1998 about Dean Cook, the libertarian, running for governor vs. Celluch and Harshbarger and the lack of coverage of his campaign. I think he was trying to sue suggesting that the TV debates were the same as an in-kind donation to the two major party candidates. The lawsuit, if I recall correctly, went nowhere but it was a brilliant try.

  23. LFNeilson

    I feel that democracy is weakened by poor coverage of third-party or independent candidates. It’s a classic Catch-22. How do you get higher polls? One way is via news coverage. But how do you get news coverage if you’re shut out for not being high enough in the polls?

    I recognize that someone with a .03 rating has very little chance, and it’s no fault of the press. And there certainly are some nut-cases running for office — but that generally becomes quite evident, especially if they’re given sufficient coverage to cook their own goose.

    News coverage can make or break a campaign, and I believe it is only proper that the press give fair and equal coverage. And I decry the schtuff that some networks and papers have pulled of late.

  24. Ben

    I think the media has a right to ignore marginal candidates when writing about the horserace aspects of a campaign. But when the main object of a story is to provide information to voters about candidate positions, all candidates on the ballot deserve to be covered.

    Also, FYI, I don’t know if this is why Kennedy is running as an independent, but there is a belief among some Libertarians in MA that Major Party status is no good since Democrat and Republican signatures are not counted for ballot access. George Phillies as been a proponent of running Libertarians as independents, since it makes it considerably easier to gain ballot access.

    Joe Kennedy is a member of the Libertarian Association of MA state committee:
    http://www.lpmass.org/

  25. Lawrence Watson

    I think the media should refrain and cease from publishing articles that blatantly or subliminally denigrate any candidate. All criticism, whether overt or covert, should be applied equally. I have yet to see any in the media discuss Martha Coakley’s willingness to cater to perceived popular opinion as opposed to mainatining the integrity of her office. Tookie Amerault is the most high profile example of Coakley’s desire to play to the crowd i.e. the media and the public; there was sufficient evidence to question the integrity of the Amerault proceedings and even then-Governor Swift considered commutting his sentence. Such behavior is rife throughout Coakley’s career and continues today in many low profile cases

    Kennedy desrves equal unbalanced coverage, if te media possesses the values and integrity to maintain such impartiality

  26. insideknowledge

    Very interesting range of analyses and ideas. Most writer’s comments have some valid speculations. But let’s apply the principles of law and fairness: It is the voters that decide who is credible, even if those voters have been deceived by the candidates and/or the media. The law places all candidates in equal status for the voters to assign the final real status. It is highly presumptuous for anyone in the media to say who is and who isn’t a “serious” candidate. All candidates should be invited to all debates.

    Now, some inside knowledge: Nothing in politics just happens, it is planned. Frequently the “brilliant” analysts in the media are clueless about the cause and effect. Often it reuslts in bad outcomes, but just once in a while some good occurs. That is the situation we have here. Anyone who thinks that the result of this election would be anything other than the Democratic candidate winning by a comfortable margin must have gone to weatherforecasters’ school. Or else they got their jobs as efficiency experts because of their experiences working at the Registry of Motor Vehicles. But, the inclusion of Joe Kennedy into the race changes the whole picture, in a very pleasant way. Now there is actually a real chance for any one of the three candidates to win. Scott Brown should love Joe Kennedy because he gives him some chance of winning instead of being just another sacrificial lamb of the anemic Republican Party. And the voters who want to vote for the candidate that they think is the best can do so without wondering if they should vote for the lesser of two evils so as to “not waste” their vote. There were two small groups of people who made sure that Joe Kennedy would be on the ballot, and they are the true heroes for giving the voters a real choice of three. Everyone should forget all the strategy nonsense and just vote for the candidate who best reflects their desires and beliefs. And the elitists and pseudo-intellectuals in the media should stop trying to curry favor with the Establishment, and just report the news in a fair fashion, and confine their personal opinions to narratives that are clearly labelled as editorials. Show some respect for the legitimacy of all three candidates, and thank the people who made this truly democratic race possible.

    1. Dan Kennedy

      “The law places all candidates in equal status for the voters to assign the final real status.”

      @insideknowledge: Yes. The law also tells us that criminal suspects are innocent unless proven guilty, and that there shall be no religious test for political office. And the government must follow those dictates. We, the people, are free to conclude otherwise. So again, I think some inclusion for minor candidates makes sense, but not necessary full and equal inclusion.

      @Amusedbutinformedobserver: Good grief. No, we don’t need any more reporter panels at debates. What a disaster those have been. Either a single moderator with a maximum emphasis on getting the candidates to address one another, or some way of including the public. CNN tried it very awkwardly with YouTube, but they had the right idea.

  27. insideknowledge

    Well, Dan, we are talking about government here. And government has a horrible track record when it comes to human, civil, and property rights (actually, aren’t those three things really the same?). It seems to me that all skillful citizens, including those in the media, have a moral obligation to go above and beyond what the law requires and try to bring about a higher state of truth, enlightenment, fair play, equal opportunity, or whatever you want to call it. With regards to “not necessary full and equal inclusion”, it reminds me of one of the famous sayings of Comrade Napolean (the pig in Eric Blair’s timeless parable), “ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL, BUT SOME ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS.”

    1. Dan Kennedy

      @insideknowledge: And I reject the notion that giving minor candidates exactly the same treatment as those who have a chance to win is somehow more moral. If a news organization is intent on serving the public, it has to strike a balance between helping voters decide among the candidates who actually have a chance of winning and informing them sufficiently about the minor candidates.

      I also think it’s safe to say that, by my standard, the media would give quite a bit more coverage to the minor candidates than they do now. I am not calling for the status quo.

  28. Newshound

    It is up to the candidates themselves to run their own campaigns. It is not a duty of the media. The media’s responsibility and obligation is to its readers and viewers.

    While Brown and Coakley are the leading contenders in the senate race, with many believing Coakley is the front-runner – that in itself creates another whole set of stories. Is the attorney general the leading candidate because of qualifications, personality, trustworthyness, or is it because she is member of the favored political party? There are a lot of stories here other than what the candidates have to tell themselves.

    There is a big story here, too, perhaps, about the current senate race which may not be about Coakley and Brown at all – it very well could be about why some of these other candidates entered the race – their motive and do they offer anything in the pubic forum. And, not that this hasn’t been covered already, but there is a story here about Massachusetts voters, special elections, voter apathy, and why this election does not draw interest similar to maybe the Weld-Kerry campaign, or John Kennedy campaign. Have times changed, and if so why, or is just the people, the mood of the country, etc?

    There are a lot of potentially good, interesting, informative, entertaining stories in the current political environment aside from the narrow contest of two leading contenders, and, as an aside, there is a major story about Coakley, too, but not unlike Brown, there has been a constant feed of bits and pieces feeding out such as academic achievement, upbringing, infractions, working as a model to earn money going to college, etc.

    I think the objective voter should be looking for everything they can find out about Coakley and Brown – the kind of people they are and how they will contribute or distract if elected. That is what we need to know in this contest. Each political contest has to be evaluated separately, not as a universal rule.

    The news is the focus on the real candidates while there are almost infinite side stories about this election, the voters of Massachusetts, and the minority candidates.

  29. Ben

    23% of US citizens now identify with the Tea Party and only 18% identify most with the GOP, according to a recent Rasmussen poll.

    That means that MANY MANY CONSERVATIVES want low taxes and less control over their personal lives–just what a libertarian like Joe Kennedy represents. All the PAC money and organized money is flung at Brown, so don’t tell me he ‘earned’ his spot. Bankers and special interests gave him everything he’s got, starting with Bain Capital in Boston, the same place Steve Pagliuca and Romney got their loot.

    Scott Brown is a Republicrat. He supported Mitt Romney as he doubled the state’s annual spending. He voted for Romney Care, the most liberal health care program passed by any state in the history of our country. Republicrats also voted for a 24 trillion dollar banker bailout in which the criminal Federal Reserve Bank gave funny money to all its buddies.

    Are you a Republicrat or a Tea Party conservative?

  30. MassDebbie

    This is to announce that the “Tea Party Express” has announced their endorsement of Republican Scott Brown for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts.

    Joe Kennedy does not represent the Tea Party movement. He is a life-long democrat who is recently become an Independent, but he is not one of us. Code Pinko, pro-abortion candidates are not representative of the tea party movement.

  31. Ross Callon

    We are facing a huge deficit, total debt across the entire US economy that we have no hope of ever repaying, no realistic plan to address global warming, and gradually worsening hostilities in the middle east (in a world with nuclear weapons). The view that “we love our two existing parties who got us into this mess so much that we don’t need any independent thinking” seems like a luxury that we can’t afford. We need candidates who are willing to take a sensible and intelligent look at issues without being tied into the limited and constrained political beliefs of either of the two main parties.

    Thus to me whether Joe Kennedy should be covered by the media and allowed into the debates depends upon: Does he take an intelligent and new look at issues, and are his ideas worthy of being taken seriously? While I don’t agree with him on all issues, I think that reading through his issues statements the answer is a very strong YES. Joe Kennedy offers an important and sensible independent look at the issues and deserves to be listened to. If the media chooses to ignore him, then the media is contributing to the dominance of two parties who don’t need to think about the issues because their minds are already made up, and to our continued failure as a nation to take a serious and intelligent look at what is actually needed to solve our major problems.

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