Yesterday during the day, I heard Tom Brokaw seem to infer that the Democratic Party’s decision to have Rep. Joe Kennedy III give the Democratic response to the State of the Union as looking backwards. I have to admit, he seemed to have a point- JFK was elected President 58 years ago. Rep. Kennedy’s Grandfather was assassinated 50 years ago this years. Ted Kennedy has been gone from the U.S. Senate eight years now. The allure of Camelot, perhaps, is yesterday’s news.
Then I listened to Joe Kennedy III’s speech, and well, Tom Brokaw got it wrong. While 2020 may be a bit premature for Kennedy to run for President, but I saw the makings of a future national leader. He spoke with the moral compass of his famous grandfather, RFK, and with a strong grasp of policy issues facing our nation. They got the backdrop right, getting him out of Washington, DC to give the speech. He seemed to relish the moment of being the official response to the President’s first State of the Union.
The Kennedy brand seems poised for a solid comeback. Now far enough removed from the “dynasty” fears of the 1960’s, and far enough removed from some of the scandals that followed RFK’s death, the country is ready again. Congressman Kennedy’s uncle Chris is running for Governor in Illinois, and while his star might not be as bright as Joe’s right now, he would be the most significant victory for the famous political family in nearly a quarter century. Even if he fails though, Joe Kennedy appears ready to carry the flag for the family of President John F. Kennedy.
I, for one, am rooting for Joe. It’s not that I don’t want new names and leaders to emerge, it’s not that at all. I want the greatness that Kennedy’s represented to rise again. I want the hope, and the genuine positive feelings people felt in them to rise again. I want the moral, liberal leadership that Robert F. Kennedy to rise again. I want the sense of enchantment that the country felt from Camelot to rise again. America could use some leadership it respects to rise up. I have hope that Joe Kennedy III could be that leader.