Streams

Remembering RFK

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Many people, Kennedys among them, have drawn comparisons between Barack Obama and the Kennedy legacy. Pete Hamill, journalist and novelist who contributed an essay to A Time it Was: Bobby Kennedy in the Sixties (Abrams, 2008), Chris Smith, contributing editor to New York Magazine, and Frederick Harris, professor of political science at Columbia University and director of the Center on African-American Politics and Society, talk about RFK's 1968 campaign and its relevance today.

Guests:

Pete Hamill, Frederick Harris and Chris Smith

Comments [67]

Joe from Clifton NJ

I hate to sound cynical but is it possible that a "soft" annointment of Obama by the Kennedys as some sort of "new Bobby" is intended, not as a lame attempt to impress the under 35 crowd, but to make him more acceptable to:
A) Older working and middle class whites (also post GI Bill) 60 and over who flocked to Jack and Bobby and some liberal causes but may still harbor latent racist reservations about voting for an African American. This is a big block of voters. Note to readers who wonder if times have changed: The most important Af Am political endorsement in the US in 1960 was thought to be from Jackie Robinson. He endorsed Nixon who was after all from the party of Lincoln. TIMES HAVE CHANGED BUT WE STILL HAVE SOME DISTANCE TO GO.
B) Older lower and midddle class liberal leaning white women whom everyone was saying was the backbone of Hil Clint's base and whom also may harbor latent racist feelings that are so subconscious that they can't acknowledge that they exist.
The right kind of support from the Kennedys and Clintons might make a significant difference and help neutralize the LR with certain slices of the over 50 crowd regardless of how irrelevant it may appear to the kids or Pete Hammill.

Jun. 05 2008 05:18 PM
Carey from Jersey Baby

When you make comparisons like this on the anniversary of RFK's assassination, I believe this adds a kind of stigma to Obama's candidacy, and just further strengthens our long history of hatred and violence toward minorities and those who would stand up to the real powers of government and industry.

Why can't we just compare their speeches, or the quality of their character (or lack there of), just don't embolden those who want us to be fearful by bringing up the Kennedy assassinations and Obama in the same context.

Jun. 05 2008 01:22 PM
Rich from Floral Park, NY

David Talbot’s article in the June 15th edition of The Progressive Populist compares Obama's willingness to negotiate with U.S. "enemies" to JFK's. It was controversial during the Cold War, and remains controversial today given Bush's "endless war on terror." Talbot recalls Kennedy’s September 1963 speech before a conservative audience in Salt Lake City in which he said: “…if we were to have diplomatic relations only with those countries whose principles we approve of, we would have relations with very few countries…”

Jun. 05 2008 01:03 PM
megan from Park Slope

Today, Sirhan is 64 years old. RFK would have been 83.

The Kennedy murder and the Palestinian connection matter today. It's important to realize how long Palestinians have used murder and terror as a primary tool of politics and how long they've found observers to excuse and justify it. Perhaps consideration of the Kennedy-Sirhan affair will lead to the clarity and strength to demand that it finally stop.

America and Israel face a common enemy in Palestinian extremism and have a common interest in supporting liberal, reformist Palestinians. America, Israel and the other liberal democracies must use their considerable political and economic leverage to help the Palestinians forge a decent society, in which terror and political murder are a receding nightmare.

Jun. 05 2008 01:03 PM
megan from Park Slope

re: #1 Chris O. & # 2 Linda

Before you namecall & smear people - you really ought to think a bit.

While Kennedy's murder is a defining moment in American history, his killer's motive has faded from memory. It's worth recalling for the light it sheds on the world today.

According Mohamed Mehdi, secretary-general of the Action Committee on American-Arab Relations, "The one and only reasonable explanation for Sirhan's decision is to bring the tragedy of Palestine to the attention of the American people." Mehdi concluded that Sirhan had acted in justifiable "self-defense"

Palestinian terrorists recognized Sirhan as one of their own. On March 1, 1973, with Sirhan serving a life sentence (the California Supreme Court having invalidated California's death penalty in 1972), PLO terrorists invaded the Saudi Embassy in Khartoum, Sudan, taking hostage U.S. Ambassador Cleo Noel Jr., Deputy Chief of Mission George Curtis Moore and Belgian Chargé d'Affaires Guy Eid.

The terrorists demanded a prisoner exchange: They wanted the release of a Black September leader in Jordan, several Baader-Meinhof gang members in Germany and Sirhan. When President Richard Nixon refused to negotiate, PLO chief Yasser Arafat personally ordered the murder of the three diplomats.

Jun. 05 2008 01:02 PM
morrison

No comparison between barak hussein and the great R.F.K, obama is a novice, a bit of a one-note samba, comes off as a phoney, and hasn't the popular votes that hillary has, typical new age dems

Jun. 05 2008 12:54 PM
william from NJ

It is amazing to me that the early "Bobby" is so completely forgiven because of the campaign speeches of the later "Robert" There is nothing in post war US history that is held up as an assault on liberal values as the Mc Carthy era, and "Bobby" was there on the dias, doing the attacks on innocent people. OK, he was young. "The Legacy of Ashes," a recent best seller on the CIA, has a chapter that outlines "Bobby's" orchestration of murder attempts on foreign leaders while serving as Attorney General. Can you imagine the reaction today? OK, he changed. But he changed when he wanted to be president. He was saying exactly what was needed for a Democrat to be president at that time. It may or may not have been sincere, but the sincerity also supported his ambitions.

Jun. 05 2008 12:52 PM
george donahoe from white plains, ny

OK Will (#41), let's meet in the alley and settle this like real men. Bring back the 60's (1860)

Jun. 05 2008 12:30 PM
James from New York

The main reason why we ain't goin back to the sixties is that too many of us were mugged in the sixties, seventies, eighties & nineties, both actually & metaphorically.

It will be interesting to see how the liberal media handles the 2008 1968 playback when we get to August - I'm looking forward to whether it's all about Chicago police 'rioting' against groovy, harmless 'young' people or maybe a little bit about Soviet & Warsaw pact tanks ruthlessly & murderously ousting Dubcek & his young flower-children hordes in Prague. Any bets?

Jun. 05 2008 12:23 PM
Mike Cetta

Today is a sad day...yesterday was a proud day. I was 18 when RFK was assassinated. He was my hero because more than anything else he understood pain, suffering and loss. He quoted the Greeks and Shakespeare. When he died I was devastated and all but gave up on America and politics... Then something happened..I began to realize that his real legacy and message was that each of us has influence and impact on those we come in contact with every day so while others I knew went to Wall street I became a teacher and social worker and devoted my life to trying to empower the thousands of disadvantaged and disenfranchised kids I worked with over the past 30 yrs in nyc public schools...Now I'm teaching first yr Teaching fellows trying to get them to do the same. Today is a sad day: was then and is still now 40 yrs later. Yesterday was a proud day. I attended my oldest daughter's graduation as a social worker from Hunter as she goes out to cary the same torch in the way that best pays homage to RFK's legacy.
Ronald Reagan's message of hope was that America was a place where we can all -if we work hard- become millionaires...RFK's message of hope was that America is a place where -if we work at it- we can all learn compassion and how to give and care for those who have less...

Jun. 05 2008 12:10 PM
James from New York

And as we spin through the balance of 2008 using the way-cool rad year of '68 as our touchstone, the Camelot phoenix coming in August will no doubt quickly pass over Ted Kennedy's utterly less than gallant behavior in the wake of a tragic, though probably NOT entirely blameless automobile accident, and then even more quickly over an even more shameless divisive assault on an incumbent President Carter in the spring of 1980 thereby ushering in the golden Reagan era.
Onward Camelot! Where's that (w/b) itch Hillary & triangulating husband Bill so we do some serious bashing as we bring about the 'restoration' of the finer, nobler dynasty founded by the pure brothers John, 'Bobby-1' & Ted !!?
Oh puhleeeeeeeeeeeeese.

Jun. 05 2008 12:10 PM
P King from New Jersey

There is a tendency to compare Democratic candidates to JFK and RFK because the Kennedys represent the golden age of the Democratic Party. Democrats want to believe that they are at the edge of a new Democratic resurgence, so they evoke the Kennedy legacy. This is logical, but I do not think that it bodes well for Democrats in this election. Except for Bill Clinton's presidency, Democrats have not been able to overcome the Republican coalition, which won the 1968 election for Nixon and has remained strong for the past forty years. Obama can't win the presidency with the Kennedy coalition of the 1960s. I hope that Obama will continue to inspire Americans the way JFK and RFK inspired the nation, but with a different election strategy.

Jun. 05 2008 12:06 PM
Chris O from New York City

44 - Kate,
I think the guest would agree with you. What he is speaking about is generally how the nation does not care about Guantanamo, debt and all those other crises you mentioned. We are sedated and ensconced in individual, material, selfish concerns. The public is dis-engaged from politics, not every individual, but just generally speaking.

Jun. 05 2008 12:02 PM
Will from Oakland

I don't think there's a need to worry about the death of American hoefulness, Peter. Many people over the past several months have referred to hillary as all sorts of things, probably including "hoe". Obama claims to be into rap music, so should he be elected we can look forward to at least 4 years of a greater acceptance of terms like "hoe", passe though it is.

Jun. 05 2008 11:59 AM
James from New York

People choose to remember what fits their ideological view of things. As Hamill says, there was Robert Kennedy & Bobby Kennedy, before Kennedy & after Kennedy. In all the gauzy recollections of the Bobby Kennedy-Romatic-liberal icon, there's not a lot of talk about the fact that when the current Bobby-Incarnation (Barack Obama) was in his twenties & early thirties, he was working as an urban activist amongst working class & poor people to help them improve their lives, while the original Bobby-Incarnation (Robert Kennedy) spent his priveleged twenties & thirties shilling for Joe (NOT Eugene) McCarthy in the crusade to rid American political life of radical leftists & communists. Actual history is so much less 'cool' than the 'narratives' we spin for ourselves & for & to each other to validate our preferred version of events.

Jun. 05 2008 11:58 AM
jrb

For those that believe that Clinton's RFK remark was an accidental, search for Keith Olberman's commentary "Clinton, you invoked a political nightmare" on MSNBC.

There is a video of how she mentioned RFK over and over and over again. Clinton's remark wasn't a slip of the tongue or an accidental remark. It is quite clear from the video that it was a calculated statement that was part of her talking points.

Jun. 05 2008 11:58 AM
Counterlight

I wonder if there would have been much of a conservative movement (which has dominated our politics and set the terms of all the debates for 30 years now) if RFK, MLK, Malcolm X, etc. had lived. Nostalgia cults or not, their sudden disappearances opened up huge empty spaces on the progressive side.

Jun. 05 2008 11:56 AM
J.B.

For those that believe that Clinton's RFK remark was an accidental, check out www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24797758 where there is a video of how she mentioned RFK over and over and over again. Clinton's remark wasn't a slip of the tongue or an accidental remark. It is quite clear from the video that it was a calculated statement that was part of her talking points.

Jun. 05 2008 11:55 AM
Peter from Brooklyn

I was -10 when RFK was killed, but what strikes me about his assassination is it marked the death of american hoefulness. the upshot of 1968 was Nixon and the mainstreaming of the idea that the government is working agianst us. Bobby offered a chace for a diffrent america, one that MLK advocated. No one knows the results if he had lived and won, but the last 40 years would have been diffrent, there is no doubt.

Jun. 05 2008 11:53 AM
Evan from New York, NY

Chestinee,

I am well aware of the sea change in social attitudes since 1965, but as Robert (comment 35) correctly points out, people give the Kennedys credit for things with which they have no connection simply because of their political dominance. Please show me concrete actions by JFK/RFK that furthered women's rights, gay rights, the environmental movement and, in JFK's case, civil rights.

Jun. 05 2008 11:53 AM
Kate from UWS

No sense of urgency? Hmmm... Guantanamo, military commissions, mounting dead in Iraq, resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan, as a nation we're drowning in debt, as a globe we're suffocating in CO2...
What planet is your guest living on? cause mine feels pretty urgent...

Jun. 05 2008 11:53 AM
B.R. from Manhattan

The caller said quote:
"Look nostalgically at..."

Hmm...look nostalgically at what?...

- A politician that escalated the Vietnam War which eventually led to over 363,000 American casualties

- A politician that instigated the Bay of Pigs

- A politician that backed a CIA coup in Iraq that installed the Baath party and led to Saddam Hussein's eventual rise to power

- A politician that routinely humiliated his wife by having extramarital affairs

Ah, the nostalgia!! Camelot!!! Please please please bring it back!!! I just can't WAIT for a Presidential term that will re-institute policies and take actions like that!

Jun. 05 2008 11:52 AM
VDN from NJ

Or perhaps the US can just stay paralyzed and in fear, just as any victim of violence is, elect a "good enough" president, and continue the decline of its quality of life indefinitely... Fear is the currency of terrorism. Let's not be afraid.

Jun. 05 2008 11:50 AM
J.B.

For those that believe Clinton's RFK remark was accidental, check out:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24797758/

Jun. 05 2008 11:50 AM
Will from Oakland

My vote cancels out your obama vote.

Jun. 05 2008 11:50 AM
J.B.

For those that believe Clinton's RFK remark was accidental, check out:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24797758/

Jun. 05 2008 11:50 AM
jb

For those that believe Clinton's RFK remark was accidental, check out:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24797758/

Jun. 05 2008 11:48 AM
Chris O from New York City

Paolo #32 - Clinton's history was absurd. Bill Clinton basically clinched in April of 1992. RFK entered the race after the MARCH New Hampshire primary. He was running for 6 weeks when he was killed. So for her to act like, "I don't understand, Why do they want to push me out? They are sexists. My husband did not clinch til June. RFK was killed in June. Why are they doing this to me?!" That is such a phony line, that is such BS history, that it is legitimate to look for ulterior motives or messages - enen if she was not evoking another possible assassination.

Jun. 05 2008 11:48 AM
James from New York

In the liberal media it always happen to someone young (hip) & LIBERAL. If Bobby Jindal, (Louisiana Republican Governor - recently emerged Conservative icon) takes off in th next few years, you can be sure there's not gonna be a lot of "oh, dear I hope no one trys to shoot him"......

People need to get over the 1960s - they're over.

Jun. 05 2008 11:48 AM
chestinee from NY NY

But Obama wasn't alive for JFK and he never met him - he doesn't remember those times - i hear them ringing in Hillary's voice whenever she speaks - Bill's too

Jun. 05 2008 11:47 AM
Sandra R from Long Island

I am originally from the midwest. The Kennedys were not loved there and are still not, just the opposite. Mr. Obama should distance himself from the Kennedys and be his own man. Being too aligned with them will just bring him down.

Jun. 05 2008 11:46 AM
Justin Darko from New Jersey

Yes I do get the "willies for Obama at times. I wanted to comment before because I am an African-American and I am proud. I wanted to comment on the comments earlier that Obama is neutral and Clinton has been more vocal on some issues. It is a telling sign of how white america can fear an outspoken African american as militant or to racial. Clinton gets a pass cause it wont stir up fear among whites. She will look progressive and blacks will appreciate it.

Jun. 05 2008 11:46 AM
Robert from NYC

I was around then, Brian and I agree with both you and Evan but all the change and all the buzz of the civil (all including racial, women's, gay, etc rights movements, we are caught up in it all and it's all justly or not put onto the Kennedys because they were the dominant political figures of the times.

Jun. 05 2008 11:44 AM
James from New York

It's not the willies Brian...it's the woolies...as in wooly-headed. Barack Obama is no more at risk of an assassination attempt than John McCain or Hillary Clinton or Ralph Nader. Liberal babble on the 1960s & 1968 in particular is likely to go further over the top as 2008 unfolds. George Wallace was paralyzed by an assassination attempt, Gerald Ford & Ronald Reagan were both assaulted in assassination attempts - yet there are no anxious hand-wringing segments in store for fear that McCain or Bloomberg or a Clinton or some other non-favored icon is more at risk because of their sheer prominence. Get real, one sees these events more or less melodramatically through a gauzy ideological lens.

Jun. 05 2008 11:44 AM
Jon Erik Larson from Oradell, New Jersey

Bobby Kennedy showed no courage in entering the presidential campaign of 1968. Eugene McCarthy was the courageous one. Bobby should never been in the campaign. He should have supported McCarthy.

Jun. 05 2008 11:42 AM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey


Yes, Brian. As Jade said, shame on you for saying Hillary said she was staying in "just in case". While I think this was how many people were reading her RFK statement, I think it's ridiculous. And I'm an Obama supporter. I've never been a Hillary fan, but I think she got screwed on that one. Nobody could even provide a reason why what she said was shocking. If it's because people were afraid Obama could be assasinated, then they should've said it. It seemed like nobody wanted to come out and say that was what their concern was, and even if it was, that's not her fault.

Jun. 05 2008 11:41 AM
Eric from brooklyn

Brian--The Kennedy-Obama link goes back a lot further than you or your guests are remembering. Recall that Obama first came to national awareness when he gave the keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic convention, which nominated Kerry (the nominee chooses the speaker, remember), who had Ted Kennedy as his most prominent patron for his presidential run.

Jun. 05 2008 11:41 AM
bob from huntington

thanks, brian, for mentioning "feeling the willies" watching obama in indiana the other night. i had exactly the same strange mixture of elation and dread having lived through so much of this country's violent history.

Jun. 05 2008 11:40 AM
Adrian Bentt from Brooklyn

I lived through 1968, the only election I didn't vote in, out of disgust with Humphrey on the war, not to mention the war itself, the assasinations. One thing your guests didn't touch on in the current canonization of Robt. Kennedy: I was a Gene McCarthy supporter, and felt at the time Kennedy stole his thunder, coming out belatedly against the Vietnam War, after McCarthy had long opposed it. Of course I regretted his assasination and would have voted for him anyway.

Jun. 05 2008 11:40 AM
Robert from NYC

You know what? New York is better than anywhere else. Come on, I'm waiting for your replies, I'll take you on.

Jun. 05 2008 11:40 AM
Chris O from New York City

Of course there is a lack of urgency in this country, generally speaking. The urgency is to get designer clothes and an iPod. The caller may have a sense of urgency, many do, but the nation is yawning.

Jun. 05 2008 11:39 AM
Anita spivak from Rockaway, NJ

Everyone was upset when Hillary stated that it was LBJ who pushed forth the civil rights legislation, but untactful as she may have been, it was true. All of a sudden Obama is a Kennedy. Is that what he wants to be? JFK talked about change, but he was part and parcel of the "old poliltcs" as charming as he was. Those who want change should not want to be a carbon copy.

Jun. 05 2008 11:38 AM
Jade from NJ

Please stop comparing BO w/ RFK. RFK was so caring and genuine, a true leader.

I'm an over-educated, white, 40+ woman who *still* supports Hillary. My earliest memories are of RFK, and seeing my parents cry after his assassination. When you folks try to compare him to RFK it burdens him, and it's hard to move towards voting for him. BO knows this, I think. If folks like me stay home in November, BO will have the press to thank.

And Brian, she did not say she was staying in "just in case" he was assassinated! It's ridiculous comments like that that harden us against Obama. The day HRC made that comment I'd just bought the VAnity Fair w/ RFK on the cover. Couldn't it be that she was just mindful of the calendar? Don't wonder why so many of us think the press are idiots.

Jun. 05 2008 11:37 AM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey


There are a number of people in this country who are CONVINCED he's a Muslim. And a smaller portion among those who are CONVINCED he's some kind of terrorist operative... an al Qaeda Trojan Horse if you will. I am very worried that one of them will think it's their duty to get rid of him.

Jun. 05 2008 11:37 AM
mc from Brooklyn

There was a faction of the Dem voters that supported Eugene McCarthy because he was against the war "from the beginning." Others supported RFK over McCarthy because he was more charismatic. Style over substance? Sounds familiar.

Jun. 05 2008 11:36 AM
Susan from Kingston, New York

the US can't afford to return to JFK and RFK times and its romanticism! the world has moved on and we need to look hard at the new role that this country needs to play. stop this idle chatter.

Jun. 05 2008 11:36 AM
RCT from Manhattan

I think that we need to discuss the threat out loud, rather than in whispers, and make sure that Obama has sufficient security.

The crazies will be stirred up anyway, by the undercurrent. We need to voice our concerns and take steps to protect the candidate.

Jun. 05 2008 11:36 AM
Kate Steinberg from Brooklyn

What about the Kennedy - CLINTON [Bill] comparisons of 16 years ago? With the much shown movie clip of young Bill reaching up to shake JFK's hand read as a symbolic annointment or passing of the torch (again) and the noting of both Bill's and Jack's legendary roguish charms? Maybe all young-ish attractive democratic candidates in years or even generations to come will draw comparisons with JKF ... ?

Jun. 05 2008 11:34 AM
Jon from NYC

Only in the United States could people fear a [now-potential] Clinton legacy, reminisce over the Roosevelt legacies, get nostalgia and sorrow over the Kennedy legacy/curse, and *vote in* a Bush legacy *and* curse.

Just an observation...

Jun. 05 2008 11:33 AM
B.R. from Manhattan

George,
"A man who can move the people can overcome any Congressional political obstacle."

So you want an autocrat as a leader?

Democratic Fascism? Cult of Personality?
[I]National Socialism[/I]?

Jun. 05 2008 11:31 AM
Steve from Stamford, CT

I kept a daily scrapbook of newspaper articles (Newsday, NY Times, Time mag, for ex) for a HS English assignment of the entire RFK 1968 campaign. I look through it from time to time. There was a lot of hostility towards RFK, the McCarthy supporters disliked and distrusted him, LBJ hated him, and the news reporting makes it clear that he was far from a favorite....I think it was in Indiana that RFK made a big deal about getting his hair cut. I probably have a Pete Hamill NY Post column in there somewhere as well.

Jun. 05 2008 11:31 AM
chestinee from NY NY

Evan

Even I forgot how much social progress was made under the 60s influences - of Kennedys and King and and Malcolm X and so many others - and feminism - those born after 1965 have no real idea of what has changed socially - I'm sure even Caroline doesn't remember that in any real way.

I think eggheads like Barack

Jun. 05 2008 11:30 AM
Chris O from New York City

The Kennedys represent a youthful vigor and optimistic future, a romanticism and optimism That is the image they have in my mind (and I just turned 40 so I was after their time). Yes it is part fantasy and myth.

One thing that becomes clear is that our society has become extremely coarse and cynical (and me too but not completely). Every one must be torn down. It is true that we are a pathetic race, that every individual is imperfect, and desperate, and selfish, and facing dark eternity. But there is that bright side that many will not allow for, or call a lie, and a phony, etc.

Obama represents some of that romanticism and optimism etc. of the Kennedys. I agree it is part myth and fantasy, but it is part real, too.

Jun. 05 2008 11:30 AM
fred from new york, ny

Check out the splendid, moving "RFK Funeral Train" photo book about the funeral procession of RFK from New York to DC...

Jun. 05 2008 11:29 AM
george donahoe from white plains, ny

I was 17 and when Bobby was shot my first thought was "What's the point of even trying?"
I will vote for Obama, not for his position on any issue, but because of the deafening approval I heard from the crowd in St. Paul the other night. He is about organization. He, like Jack, and Martin, and Bobby, can look into the camera and speak in a way in which people can BELIEVE, and ACT. A man who can move the people can overcome any Congressional political obstacle.

Jun. 05 2008 11:27 AM
Evan from New York, NY

One more comment. The cult of Kennedy is at least partly responsible for the GOP's dominance of American politics for the past 25+ years. While the Dems were looking for the next charismatic figure (a la JFK/RFK) to lead them to greatness, the GOP built a machine from the ground up that has, notwithstanding the past 2 years, dominated American politics at every level.

Jun. 05 2008 11:25 AM
jw from nyc

What I fear is how much hope people are putting once again in one man - that he has become a symbol - a lightning rod for all our hopes, all our fears. This is the very thing that invites either the fanatics or crazies to draw their target signs and imprint it upon the "one person" who to them can make all the difference - good or bad. I do not know what can be done to allay this - but to paint him already as another or "honorary" Kennedy is a mixed blessing indeed. I was too young to remember Robert Kennedy -but I remember - vaguely - my parents' hope turned to despair as first King, then Kennedy was assassinated. Again we are having such hopes - as if maybe we can have a "do-over" - to restore ourselves to what perhaps we could have been. As now the mother of a young child I hope that he can indeed inherit such a world - and not be yet another witness to our own self-destruction and despair.

Jun. 05 2008 11:25 AM
Evan from New York, NY

I agree with Alex. I, like many born after 1968, are mystified by the necrophilia that surrounds the Kennedy family. JFK increased the number of troops in Vietnam, authorized the wiretaps of MLK and did very little on civil rights. And, despite Mr. Hamill's claims, RFK didn't accomplish anything. It's very easy to say what he and JFK might have done had they lived, since there's no way to disprove it. However, any student of politics knows that campaign promises are often destroyed in the buzzsaw of governance.

Jun. 05 2008 11:23 AM
chestinee from NY NY

I was alive for the string of assassinations - This country was built on some very dark undercurrents - nothing has changed. What the Kennedys (Bobby and JFK) and MLK (our Gandhi) planted in the imagination - is something I wish were ingrained in the culture more deeply and reflected in it actually. But how to convey?

Caroline and Ted have not done their homework on Barack though - he is utterly phony - once again the Dems are undermining the USA. I am bewildered. If you want to see what I am talking about go to http://noquarterusa.net/blog/2008/04/26/why-is-obama-hiding-the-truth-about-william-ayers-follow-the-money/

Jun. 05 2008 11:23 AM
fari

Brian, please shorten this discussion of assassinations and don't bring it up again. It is making me very uncomfortable because there are many strange people in this society capable of picking up dangerous ideas from the media.

Jun. 05 2008 11:22 AM
hjs from 11211

and sex with marilyn monroe

Jun. 05 2008 11:21 AM
B.R. from Manhattan

I've got a Kennedy Legacy quote for you.

Name this Barack Endorsing Kennedy:

"I have never worked a f*%$ing day in my life."

Jun. 05 2008 11:21 AM
Alex from Park Slope

I do not understand the cult of Kennedy.

In his biography, Tip O'Neill wrote that Bobby Kennedy was the worst of the lot -- a back-stabber, a conniver. Jack Kennedy was little better.

To his credit, Teddy Kennedy has spent many years trying to undo much of the disgrace of his and his brothers' earlier years.

Jun. 05 2008 11:14 AM
Linda from Sunnyside Queens

RFK's description of the divisions in America in 1968 are chillingly similar to the divisions we still face today: racial divide, economic divide, unjustified war.

So sad.

Jun. 05 2008 11:10 AM
Linda from Sunnyside Queens

Megan, you sound like you're trying to be anti-Arab.

Jun. 05 2008 11:08 AM
Chris O from New York City

Only a person obsessed with one issue, and a person who exhibits hatred for Palestinians and Arabs generally, would call this an act of Palestinian terrorism against America.

Jun. 05 2008 10:47 AM
megan from Park Slope

Today is the 40th anniversary of the first act of Palestinian terrorism against America - the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy by Sirhan Bishara Sirhan.

Jun. 05 2008 10:12 AM

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