On Wednesday, April 19, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. announced his candidacy for president to almost no fanfare – unless you were at the Boston Park Plaza for his nearly two-hour monologue. In the week and a half since, the establishment media has done its level best to bury this story and marginalize the second eldest son of Robert F. Kennedy. But the Kennedy name – even some 70 years later – still holds a certain amount of caché, and RFK, Jr. is, in many ways, a chip off the old block who should neither be discounted nor relegated to the back bench. Here’s why.
Mr. Kennedy presents a genuine contrast to the current president. He marches to a different beat, sounding off against “the corrupt merger of state and corporate power,” the movement to permit transgender males to compete in women’s sports, and is a vocal skeptic of vaccines. He is, in short, a bright-blue “blue dog democrat,” which just happens to coalesce with a significant part of the Democrat Party.
It should not be forgotten that Joe Biden was tagged as a centrist leading up to the 2020 election. Democratic tacticians pushed this narrative because they needed it. The good ship Democrat was listing heavily to the left, making many of the party faithful uneasy. The strategic thinking by leading Dems was to portray Biden as a moderate candidate, knowing he could be compelled to move in any direction they wanted him to go; wind him up, set him on any path, and off he shuffles.
In large part, many believe Mr. Biden has governed as a cross between a Stepford Wife and a Manchurian candidate. Under the heavy influence of – not a foreign actor – but the hard left within his party, Biden as president has consistently violated his own political record. Similarly, in classic Stepford fashion, he maintains a clean, crisp personal appearance but appears docile and submissive to his handlers.
Compare that to Mr. Kennedy, comes off as quirky but confident and, unlike Biden, is unafraid to engage in a dialectic. In many ways, RFK, Jr. represents a throwback to the Democrats of old, which may be why he is polling at 19% right out of the gate. One may still label Mr. Kennedy as a dark horse, but certainly not a stalking horse. That he sees his campaign much like his father’s is evident from his announcement speech:
“He was running against a President of his own party. He was running against a war. He was running against—he was running at a time of unprecedented polarization in our country. And he had no chance of winning. My father, when he declared, had not a single molecule in him that he believed that he could win the Democratic nomination. Why is that? He had run his brother’s campaign in 1960, 8 years before, but now all the unions were against him, with two exceptions, the United Autoworkers and Cesar Chavez’s United Farm Workers. The liberal press was 100% against [him] from The New York Times to the Village Voice, the labor union[s], the big city mayors were against him, including Mayor Daley, who had played a critical role in President Kennedy’s nomination. All of the people in the New Frontier who were his closest friends, were now working for the Johnson White House, so they were against him. The only people that he had with him—even the universities, were against him because they were with McCarthy, the group of Hollywood, like Joanne Woodward, Paul Newman, who had been very close to him, worked very hard for my uncle in ‘60, were now working for McCarthy, and my father and the universities—My father used to say that McCarthy had all the A students, and he had all the B and C students. And so, the only people we had were poor white people in rural areas like Appalachia, poor blacks in the Delta and our cities in Watts and Harlem and East L.A. and Indians on the Indian reservations. And that was kind of it. But hopelessness in his campaign, [gave him] freedom to tell the truth to the American people.”
Despite these obstacles, RFK mounted a strong challenge to the sitting president who unexpectedly bowed out of the running for re-election after nearly losing the New Hampshire primary. Minnesota’s Eugene McCarthy turned out to be Bobby Kennedy’s most formidable opponent. The younger brother of former president John F. Kennedy was nipping at McCarthy’s heels, winning four state democratic primaries to McCarthy’s six when he was cut down by an assassin’s bullet the very night he declared victory in the California primary – which would likely have vaulted him to the Democratic nomination.
It is often said that the people who tip the scales in elections are those in the middle, and RFK, Jr. will have significant appeal with independents, which now constitute the de facto plurality of voters. The extremes of both parties will largely try to brush off his candidacy, but strange things can happen when a non-politician throws his hat in the ring. The Kennedy campaign will force Team Biden to work harder, play smarter and do everything in their power to diminish someone who is not yet – but just might turn into – a real contender.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. — Gadfly Extraordinaire
In ancient Greek mythology, the gadfly was sent to torment Pegasus by stinging and distracting the winged horse. It is a myth, of course, but in the end, the gadfly played a crucial role in Bellerophon, the hero, and Pegasus losing the esteem of the gods. Somehow it seems appropriate that a Kennedy may play a part in a Greek tragedy. Whether Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. becomes Joe Biden’s gadfly is anyone’s guess. Still, it would be unwise for the Biden campaign to merely dismiss him, lest their man meet the same fate as that in the story and be sent out to wander the earth desolate, despairing, and despised by men.
All opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Liberty Nation.
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