Third Party & Independents Archives

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Disappoints

RFK, Jr. has disappointed millions of liberals, progressives and environmentalists by endorsing Hillary Clinton.

RFK, Jr. once said: “the Republicans are 95 percent corrupt and the Democrats are 75 percent corrupt.” This has been widely quoted because of its honest assessment of the corrupt two-party system.

He has also pointed out: "While communism is the control of business by government, fascism is the control of government by business. …The biggest threat to American democracy is corporate power. …our most visionary political leaders have warned the American public against the domination of government by corporate power. That warning is missing in the national debate right now. Because so much corporate money is going into politics, the Democratic Party itself has dropped the ball. They just quash discussion about the corrosive impact of excessive corporate power on American democracy."

Those these statements were made some time ago, a few days ago on November 28 he talked about the impact of industry on environmental agencies: “It’s been a revolving door of plunder.” Kennedy saved special scorn for “the negative and indolent press of this country,” which he said has become controlled by corporate interests in the last 20 years. “Americans have become the best-entertained, least-informed people on earth,” Kennedy said. He also said five companies control 80 percent of newspapers and almost all radio, and those corporations are not in business to tell news thoroughly or fairly. “The only ideology they represent is their own pockets,” Kennedy said. So his criticism of the corporate plutocracy seems as strong as ever.

Such honest views of the sad state of America have made Kennedy the darling of many people – independents, liberals, progressives and environmentalists.

But the news that this esteemed honest liberal has endorsed the candidacy of Hillary Clinton was startling. Now he says: “Hillary Clinton has the strength and experience to bring the war in Iraq to an end and reverse the potentially devastating effects of global warming. …Hillary will inspire the real change America needs." That Kennedy can see Hillary as an agent of change is a betrayal of all the good will that Kennedy has built up over many years.

Kennedy said he feels "very uncomfortable" about the amount of corporate money flowing into Clinton's campaign, "But I also think you can't come into this race with one arm tied behind your back." How’s that for convenient rationalization? There is no reason why any sane American should be very comfortable about the poisonous and corrupting amount of corporate money dumped into Clinton’s campaign.

In examining media coverage of Kennedy’s endorsement of Clinton I could find no references to his earlier critical remarks of Democrats and the corporatist plutocracy. But people commenting on the New York Times article often were aghast at his endorsement, noting that it would have made much more sense for him to endorse Obama or Edwards. Bloggers, so far, have also not been critical of the Kennedy endorsement. The progressive community seems frozen by self-delusion and unwilling to criticize their adored Kennedy.

Here is my take: Hillary Clinton represents the worst of the Democratic contenders. She is totally committed to take all the corporate money she can get and pay whatever that eventually costs, should she become president. She really is a hawk when it comes to the Iraq war and even voted the wrong way recently when it comes to Iran. She is incredibly dishonest and phony. The reason why there are millions of Hillary haters is that she inspires distrust. A Hillary presidency would pursue corporate globalization and the terrible trade policies of her husband that has done so much to destroy America’s middle class. Her views on universal health coverage do not seem focused on getting rid of all the insurance industry involvement.

Kennedy’s endorsement of Hillary just shows how the status quo political establishment can rig the system to get what it wants. What has Bobby been promised? Head of the US EPA? Support for replacing Hillary in the Senate? Who knows? But his endorsement stinks and puts a big blemish on his credibility and reputation.

Posted by Joel S. Hirschhorn at November 30, 2007 5:02 PM
Comments
Comment #239718
Such honest views of the sad state of America have made Kennedy the darling of many people – independents, liberals, progressives and environmentalists.

Well, I assumed it wasn’t the time he was found unconscious in an airplane bathroom, strung out on heroin with a needle stuck in his arm that made RFK JR. a hero to these people. Why does this man have ANY credibility with anybody? The reason—the only reason—that he’s taken seriously is his last name. Anybody else who’d done the stuff he has would have been drummed out politics years ago.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at November 30, 2007 5:49 PM
Comment #239723

Joel-
While I’m not sold on a Hillary Presidency, And don’t think much of RFK Jr. as a political leader, I would point out to you that without evidence to support it, your starting claim is quite a bit presumptuous. Would you care to actually find some sampling of what Democrats, Liberals, and Progressives think on the matter before you think to speak for them about who they are disappointed with and why?

LO-
If drug abuse is a legitimate strike, would you object to me arguing that Bush should have never been president on such grounds? He was, after all, a lost youth who drank too much.

Or, are you willing to accept that as long as a person cleans up their act and keeps them clean, they can put the past behind them?

Or, will you split the difference and have one standard for a liberal political figure, and another for Republicans?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 30, 2007 6:04 PM
Comment #239731

I think he’s right. Hillary is the only potential candidate with the experience to hit the ground running at a speed which can make a difference. She’s not only the first woman candidate - she’s one of the only candidates in our history that is uniquely positioned to help this country out of a major disaster.

Posted by: max at November 30, 2007 8:39 PM
Comment #239740

Stephen, although I think there’s a pretty big difference between drinking too much and being a heroin addict, I agree that people should be able to clean up and put their pasts behind them.

Some things, however, politicians just don’t recover from—that is, unless your last name is Kennedy, in which case a completely different set of rules of applies. I don’t want to start a discussion here about the history of the members of the Kennedy clan, however, and that’s not really my point as much as this: why in the world would RFK JR be considered a hero to anybody?

Since you seem not to consider him the impressive figure that Joel does, I don’t think we disagree.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at November 30, 2007 10:51 PM
Comment #239756
Regarding the heroin bust, you are riposting potentially libelous and unverified claims made in UK tabloid news. The AP, NYTimes and TIME, among others, all reported Kennedy left the plane before his arrest and was in his seat when the crew became aware of his condition, not on the bathroom floor. There was no “needle in his arm.”

Wikipedia

This is from an article from Wikipedia disputing the claims that LO and others seem to wish to propagate about the circumstances surrounding Kennedy’s arrest for heroin possession.

I did a web search and found nothing to verify LO’s claim. But if you want to discredit somebody, what is a little lie or distortion of truth? It isn’t like the Right is adverse to utilizing such tactics.

Posted by: Cube at December 1, 2007 1:05 AM
Comment #239759

Cube, that doesn’t sound anything like a Wikepedia article. Do you have a link?

The fact is that he WAS busted and sentenced on those heroin charges, and if the circumstances were somewhat different than what I described, what difference does that make to you?

Here’s a source that corroborates the details I offered. From another shady Kennedy relative, no less, and if Court TV is some kind of right-wing organ, I had no idea. Was I actually there? Did I see a needle in his arm? No I did not. I’m not personally vouching for that one detail, and I don’t see how it matters anyway.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at December 1, 2007 1:27 AM
Comment #239762

It doesn’t matter, nevertheless you felt compelled to use it. Your information comes from neither a news article or police report. While the circumstances surrounding the situation may or may not be true, the only purpose for you using it was to denigrate a recovering addict even further. If you are going to attack Robert Kennedy Jr., why not attack him on the issues? If everybody lost credibility due to one indiscretion, there wouldn’t be anybody credible at all.

The passage I cited came from Wikipedia explaining why the circumstances you mention were removed from Kennedy’s bibliography.

Posted by: Cube at December 1, 2007 5:18 AM
Comment #239787

LO:

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A0DE7DF1039F934A25750C0A962948260

Posted by: Jane Doe at December 1, 2007 3:34 PM
Comment #239999

God help us.

The choice is a wealthy Rum smuggling family of sex addicts and a wealthy Nazi sympathizing family of Coke heads and drunks?

Posted by: googlumpugus at December 4, 2007 11:18 PM
Comment #240135

Cube I’m not sure of the motive for LO posting the information he did, the fact remains RFK Jr was busted for Heroin and his usage of illegal substances is a rather long and well documented history. I remember when that bust occurred distinctly reading in People Magazine of all places, that he was found in the bathroom of the airplane in dire shape. That image sticks with people even years later. You may find it denigrating to a recovering addict but my goodness, much more and much worse will be dug up if he ever decided to enter politics as a candidate, so this could be seen as a test flight in a way.

His past is a liability for him no matter what he has done in the years since. It may not be fair, but it is a fact. I don’t believe his past is impossible for him to overcome politically, but a long and painful process. ANYTHING is possible though.

Posted by: Moira at December 6, 2007 4:24 PM
Comment #242185

LO, Bush was arrested for cocaine possesion and Dick Cheney has had several DUIs. As much as I dislike these two individuals, I use policy and constitutional arguments against them. Drop the petty drug references. Everyone has their personal downfalls. It’s apparent that all three of these men have moved past these substance abuse issues. Case closed.

Posted by: Xavier at January 4, 2008 12:57 PM
Comment #242870

Xavier there is NO public record nor press account of Bush ever having been arrested for illegal drugs. In the book Fortunate Son, published in 2000, Texas author J.H. Hatfield claimed Bush was arrested in 1972 for Cocaine and supposedly did community service for the offense. There is NO record, NO public admission, NADA. May be true but he never copped to it and that is the key difference between Kennedy’s history and Bush’s.

It may seem petty to you but you can bet your patooty it will become big news in a campaign.

Posted by: Moira at January 12, 2008 3:57 PM
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