Where has Ted Kennedy’s endorsement actually helped Obama’s campaign?
The correct answer thus far is nowhere.
Even in his home state of Massachusetts, Kennedy’s lip-lock on Obama meant nothing. What counted more in the final analysis was Boston’s Mayor Thomas Menino, a doer like Hillary, who helped boost the Clinton campaign to victory.
For the greater part of four decades, Ted Kennedy has been a symbol of what is worst in old-style liberalism. If there is a far left position to be taken, count on Kennedy to make it his own. Other than aging sycophants still dazed by memories of Camelot and the Kennedy name, Ted Kennedy has impressed few outsiders with either his political skills or his ability to get things done. This Kennedy is viewed by most as an embarrassment: a heavy drinker who refuses to get help, a cheater whose behavior resulted in the death of young Mary Jo Kopechne, and a source of renewable energy: hot air.
If you are wondering why he keeps getting re-elected, the explanation is simple. Long ago the people of the Bay State resigned themselves to having Kennedy as their senator. To them, he is like bumper-to-bumper traffic on Storrow Drive or high taxes, afflictions sent by a punishing God that they endure as best they can, praying meanwhile for relief.
The irony, of course, is that Obama, who is supposed to represent change, saved his greatest chest-thumping for Kennedy, a symbol of the past. What they have in common is their misogyny, a hatred of all things Clinton, and a rhetoric as airy as movie theater popcorn.
Kennedy is up in Maine this week, trying to be useful to Obama. Given the quirky nature of Maine Democrats, he didn’t need to go. Among those heading to the Maine caucuses, Obama is already the Chosen One.
But I suppose Kennedy will find a way to take credit for the inevitable.