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RFK, Jr. – A Kennedy of a Different Color – Takes on Joe for President

RFK, Jr. – A Kennedy of a Different Color – Takes on Joe for President

One of the most famous political dynasties in American history is the Kennedy Clan – one President, three senators, a few congressmen, and assorted lesser offices.  On the Republican side, you have the Bush family – two presidents, a senator, couple of congressmen.

All of the Kennedy clan were diehard progressives.  For many decades, they defined the left edge of the Democratic Party.  That was before the really radical left took over.

Now we have Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. — the son of the assassinated senator.   His father was a potential President who arguably was the furthest left of the Kennedy clan.  His son appears to be an acorn that traveled far from the Kennedy tree.

RFK, Jr. Is not like his relatives.  He is not conservative, for sure – but he is not a doctrinaire liberal, either.  He is sort of a mixed breed.  He opposes what he considers to be corporate control of Government.  On the other hand, he is an anti-vaxxer.

Kennedy is an interesting character.  First, because he comes from arguably the most famous political family in America.  His father was one of the children of Joe and Rose Kennedy.  All the boys were groomed to be presidents. 

First, Joe, jr. – but he was killed in a military accident in England in World War II.  John F. Kennedy was designated as the next to be President by Pappa Joe.  He succeeded but was assassinated.  The next was Robert.  He seemed poised to be the Democrat standard bearer in 1998, but was assassinated as he was celebrating his victory in the California Democrat primary,  

Finally, there was Senator Ted Kennedy – the youngest of the children.  He was moving toward a presidential campaign when a young political staffer, Mary Jo Kopechne, drowned in the car Kennedy was driving.  He made a later bid to unseat President Carter but was unable to shed a life of serial scandals.

To say Robert Jr. is the black sheep of the family is an understatement.  He is the only member of the Kennedy clan to be publicly rebuffed by the other members.  His political views are not only out of line with the hardcore progressive views of the clan, but he has put himself in the category of a gadfly.

His announcement of his campaign for the Democratic nomination was greeted with shaking heads and laughter.  He is not considered to be a serious candidate – and most observers give him little chance of winning the nomination.

But just as the political world was primed to ignore Kennedy, the first polling numbers came in – and he is at 14 percent. And that is against an incumbent Democrat President.  That is a polling number that generally suggests potential.  That is not the number a nutcase candidate normally gets.

Before Kennedy supporters get giddy optimism, Kennedy is not going to win the Democrat nomination. He will not even come close.  

What that 14 percent support does reveal is the weakness of President Biden.  Already 47 percent of Democrat voters do not want Biden to be the Democrat candidate.  It is safe to assume that the 14 percent support for Kennedy comes from the 47 percent who want an alternative candidate.  That means that approximately one-third of the 47 percent would vote for the gadfly over Biden.

It is conceivable that Kennedy may even increase his support as he starts to campaign.  That polling number would guarantee him a place on the stage next to Biden.  Since it is unlikely that any serious challenger will announce, Kennedy could be Biden’s primary opposition.

It is unlikely that Kennedy will be anything more than a fringe candidate – but his impact may be greater than we might have initially expected.  Biden would be foolish to give Kennedy the back of his hand.  Perhaps Kennedy will be to Biden what Senator Gene McCarthy was to President Johnson.

(For the younger generation – those under 70 – McCarthy was a bit of a gadfly in the Democratic Party. He took on Johnson in the 1968 primaries.  While he was unlikely to win the nomination, he exposed Johnson’s vulnerabilities to the point that he withdrew from the campaign – leaving Robert Kennedy as the heir apparent.  After his assassination, the nomination went to Vice President Hubert Humphrey – who lost to Vice President Richard Nixon.)

RFK Jr may be a gadfly, but he may also be more than a nuisance.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. frank stetson

    I just loved his comment about nobody listening to him and now they will until the nomination.

    Yes, not the Kennedy family we remember.

  2. larry Horist

    He opened at 14 percent in the polls and rose to 19 percent. Worth watching.

    • Frank stetson

      Like a cartoon 😉

      They think he’s “Bobby,” maybe?

      Or, about 10% of liberals are anti-vaxers according to a number of surveys.

  3. JoeyP

    That IS interesting to say the least . . . Who KNOWS?

  4. Tom

    Interesting post Larry, I think we are in agreement on this one. I liked the review of the Dem primary back in 68. Good job.

    I agree Frank, not the Kennedy family we remember. But I did not see RFK as a liberal like Teddy and some of the others. Bobby was a loss for our generation, he probably would have won his primary and the general. Teddy was always a loser.

    I do wonder if RFK Jr. had been in office instead of Trump, what would our response have been to Covid seeing as he is an anti-vaxer? I need to read up on him more but from what I read I do seem to recall a couple things I did not like about him but not enough to stop me from voting for him over Biden. I would hope he would pick a moderate Dem as a VP.

    Larry, you did not include Independents. I think many moderate to conservative Dems would vote for RFK Jr. Many Independents (previous Dems, GOPs, and long time Independents) would see him as a better choice over Trump, and then vote GOP for congressional races to keep RFK Jr. (if he wins) between the rails.

    It could get interesting!

  5. Tom

    And do not count Joe Manchin out yet. He is still thinking it over. I would like to see Manchin run.

  6. Frank stetson

    Teddy was a great Senator that was wise to stay there like Chuck, Mitch, Reid, etc. I miss him.

    Manchin – which party? Heh heh.

    I’m for Mayor Pete, but needs seasoning.

    Porter yes. Newsome, maybe, need to know more. And your NC guy looks worth investigating but like Pete, more seasoning. .

    Everyone else from last time: no.

    • Tom

      Well I would think that wisdom would include something on how to drive when getting a knobber. Manchin, I am fine with either party. He is a man for all seasons. Your right on Mayor Pete needing seasoning, all he seems to is get is dill pickle. :>) How I love a good pun! Guy in NC needs more than seasoning, he needs to be known. We do not even know about him yet. LOL I really think Manchin could blow away Trump; and DeSantis would probably opt to stay in FL for a few years more. Your point about which party is well taken, moderates in both parties like him, and, independents like him a lot. He could run in either party but I would prefer to see him run as a Dem so I can vote GOP down ticket.

      • Frank stetson

        Manchin would be primaried by progressives as a Dem, burned too many bridges in style even if ultimately correct. Not even sure Biden can navigate progressives this time. Depends whether NC/MT excitement gets tamped down or gains steam. Testor of MT just went pretty all in looking less than moderate so who knows.

        Really, a pickle joke? Because he’s gay?Wanna hear a good pickler about your wife? Come on man, grow up, those are just not funny anymore. He’s professional, got the check boxes just like DeSantis, is certainly not flamboyant, give a rest or prepare for a volley return, in kind or better. You can have your paranoid opinions on this, but keep it civil.

        • Frank stetson

          Sorry, TN, not NC…

        • Tom

          Gays will not be accepted in too many international political situations. I was being civil. He is a non starter for many of us. Its not a paranoid opinion, it is reality. He will not be able to take his male wife to several countries, and, I am not for LGBTQ like you. So I do not want him in office. I have nothing personal against him though I do not think the folks in Ohio like him much after the train derailments. But he does not represent me nor do I think gay people represent this country’s majority. It is your right to accept such perversions, but do not force it on me. I do not accept it. Again, they are not paranoid opinions, they are scriptural based opinions and it is time to take the rainbow (God’s sign of peace) back from perverts. Sorry, we will differ on this one now and into eternity. Listen to Rabbi Schneider at ** if you are as liberal as you say. I have my right to my opinion, and I will try my best to always side with God’s word! :>)

          • Frank stetson

            I think I said, as much that you should have your opinion.

            But you probably should keep the gay jokes out of the public form. Just not funny anymore.

  7. JPop

    Good Luck Robert Kennedy, Jr, Be ready for a fight.