The Royal Family
notes this article from the Weekly Standard about the highly touted Kathleen Kennedy Townsend
The article is more balanced than you'd think, considering that it appears in the Weekly Standard, and it concerns a Kennedy. It's worth reading to get a bit of perspective on someone who's already being touted as a potential Vice Presidential nominee in 2004.
I'm not a real big fan of the Kennedys myself; I think it's appalling that so many people consider them American royalty - and especially people who whine about the "Bush dynasty" while deifying the Kennedys.
To start with, the entire family is built on a fortune obtained from bootlegging and organized crime; maybe if my
grandfather had been a vile criminal like Joe Kennedy was, I'd be in elected office right now just like all the nice Kennedy kids.
Past that, we've got the Kennedy "curse", which mainly is the result of privilidged jerks who never had to work for anything in their entire lives behaving incredibly irresponsibly and stupidly (skiing accidents while doing forbidden moves on a closed slope; flying a light plane in poor-to-impossible conditions; all knds of drug and criminal problems, etc). And somehow we're supposed to pity them for their own misdeeds.
But on to the fair Kathleen...
Townsend has been called the "Un-Kennedy," defined not by what she is, but what she isn't. As Kennedy-watchers will note, Townsend has not parked any dates at the bottom of Poucha Pond (Uncle Teddy). She has not slept with a 14-year-old babysitter (brother Michael), had a messy divorce (brother Joe), or a nasty drug habit (brother Bobby). She has not been accused of raping anyone on a beach (cousin Willie), murdering anyone with a golf club (cousin Michael Skakel), or throwing a security guard through a metal detector, trashing a yacht, and acting like an all-purpose ass (cousin Patrick).
In most families, not doing these things would merely be considered a baseline indicator of fitness for office. In the Kennedy family, it's considered nothing to sneeze at.
Screw that. If we're awarding brownie points for not committing major felonies, and if that qualifies one for elected office, I ought to be the goddamn President.
With all the elderly, black women in the day room of the Council House retirement complex, Townsend's victory seems a foregone conclusion. Beside a Heimlich chart instructing seniors how to dislodge food that might go down the wrong pipe during a spirited bingo game, a poster announces, "The next governor of Maryland comes to Council House." The crowd is a swirl of rose perfume, peach-tinted glasses, and oversized earrings. I plunk down at a table of senior women, asking if they know who's running against Townsend. "We don't really care," says one. "I've always been with the Kennedy family. I'm just sorry the other one got killed in a plane crash--I had great hopes for him."
Or not. Maybe it's just natural stupidity. The "other one" - poor, departed John-John - his entire resume consisted of failing the New York bar exam twice, prosecuting a total of three cases in four years during a stint in the DA's office, and starting a vapid, pointless magazine with his family's ill-gotten fortune. Yes indeed, that's a stellar resume for a future leader of the land.
It just points up the blind worship people have for this family; if she were simply Kathleen Townsend, and not Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, she'd be an assistant DA in a mdeium-sized city somewhere, or maybe a semi-anonymous policy wonk in some Brookings-esque think tank. But because she's one of the sainted Kennedys, every door is open to her. As some prominent Democrats have said of the President, she was born on third base and everyone acts as though she hit a triple.
I'm sure she's a perfectly decent human being, but she isn't special; she isn't an heiress and she isn't entitled to high office merely because of her family name, and I am really and truly sick of the damned Kennedys being shoved down our throats as though they were anointed from on high to be our leaders for all eternity.
It's bad enough that we've had Teddy in the Senate for decades, and it's bad enough that he's going to probably get to more or less will his seat to Patrick Kennedy, and the adulation and "when will he ride to Washington on his white horse and save us like his daddy" garbage we had to put up with about John-John before he went and crashed his plane. It's all appalling, and yet another Kennedy in high office is absolutely the last thing anyone in this country needs.