The man of hope has beaten the man from Hope (and possibly his wife).
The endorsement of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign by three Kennedys from different generations was a political trifecta for the young upstart from Illinois. He is not to be confused with Sen. Hillary Clinton who is from Illinois, Arkansas, New York, or wherever you want her to be.
The contrast of sincerity (Obama) with insincerity (Hillary and Bill Clinton) could not be starker. Critics can say that “Camelot” was a myth created after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, but it is a powerful myth and to see Ted, Caroline and Patrick Kennedy standing on the same stage together at American University endorsing Obama brought the myth back for those of us old enough to have lived through it. It also inspired younger people who want to believe that politics can still have purpose.
There is nothing wrong with myth so long as it does not obliterate reality. We like our fairytales. The film “Enchanted” is doing well at the box office. But the Kennedy endorsement is more than myth. It represents a potential divorce between the Democratic establishment and the Clintons.
Recall the early 1990s. Democrats were desperate for a presidential candidate who could take back the White House after 12 years of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. They rejected the establishment and chose a little known governor from a small state who Republicans would have difficulty sliming as a card-carrying member of the ACLU. Clinton was part of the new Democratic Leadership Council, which bills itself on its Web page as “an idea center, catalyst, and national voice for a reform movement that is reshaping American politics by moving it beyond the old left-right debate.”
It was a shotgun wedding between the old Left and new moderates within the party, some of whom hid their liberalism behind moderate rhetoric for political gain. Now the old Left wants the party back and the endorsement by the Kennedys is the opening salvo.
The trouble with using people is that when someone better comes along, you get dropped like a bad habit, or like a woman who believes Bill Clinton will call her in the morning. Liberal Democrats don’t need the Clintons anymore. They think the Republican field is weak and the time to re-take their party and the government is now.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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