Democrat leadership was faced with a hard choice this week. President Trump’s first State of the Union speech is scheduled for delivery Tuesday evening and that had Blue state lawmakers vexed.
Who would get the high profile opportunity for time in the national spotlight that comes with presenting the minority response? Their choice indicates that the past year of DNC internal chaos has Democrats dreaming of a “return to Camelot.” Pinning their last hope on the Kennedy “dynasty,” they hauled out 37-year-old Massachusetts Rep. Joseph Kennedy III for the job of rebutting the President.
“While President Trump has consistently broken his promises to the middle class, Congressman Kennedy profoundly understands the challenges facing hardworking men and women across the country,” Nancy Pelosi, (D-Calif.) announced.
“Party leaders were forced to balance a host of competing egos and complex political factors,” one analyst noted. After the dust cleared, Pelosi was joined by Chuck Schumer, (D-N.Y.) to publicly proclaim the choice on Thursday.
Oprah Winfrey made it clear she is not interested in running for president in 2020. She just doesn’t have it in her blood. “It’s not something that interests me. I don’t have the DNA for it,” she told the press. Democrats thought that over and decided to go looking for someone with more presidential DNA to carry the torch.
The Representative from Massachusetts is the grandson of JFK’s brother, Senator Robert F. Kennedy. He will also be stepping in his father’s footsteps on the way to the rostrum, the late Sen. Ted Kennedy delivered the State of the Union response in 1982.
Former President John F. Kennedy was especially fond of the last lines from the musical about the “once and future” King Arthur. “Don’t ever let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment that was Camelot.”
After his wife, Jacqueline, remarked about it shortly after his assassination, the nation embraced the term as a symbol of the Kennedy era.
“President Kennedy,” she said, “was strongly attracted to the Camelot legend because he was an idealist who saw history as something made by heroes like King Arthur. There will be great presidents again but there will never be another Camelot.”
The fight over who would be named to give the response to the president’s speech, traditionally presented by the minority party immediately after the president finishes, indicates the lack of leadership and direction that has the progressives floundering.
Kennedy appears to have gained the nod due to some strong points Democrats consider being “in his favor.” The three-term Congressman is considered a “rising star” within the party.
The biggest thing going for him, besides his pedigree, is the fact he is both young, and white.
Democrats would have preferred to have kept Obama for a third term but the pesky Constitution got in their way. Ever since the clock ran out on Obama’s term, Democrats have been on a search for “saviors who can lead them out of the wilderness.” Looking at the crop of Democratic candidates for lower level state and local offices, one trend stands out.
“A particular crop of white young men from state-level offices have captured national attention,” one pundit writes. “They are all, as Obama was when he burst onto the national scene, young, well-pedigreed, and varying degrees of attractive on the Brooks Brothers scale; each inoffensively clean cut, the sort of guy who cuts himself off after two light beers because he has to wake up early.”
In college, Joe Kennedy, III was known as the “milkman” because he didn’t drink. “His teammates on the club lacrosse team would jocularly order him glasses of milk at bars.”
Kennedy has embraced social media and a speech he made about health care reform got “more than 3 million views” when he posted it on Facebook. He also has quite a few supporters in the District of Columbia.
“During most of his tenure in Washington, Joe Kennedy has been slow and methodical and often understated. Like his uncle Ted, he pays attention to some of the less flashy constituent services that don’t earn him headlines but do earn him loyalty in his district,” a Boston Globe reporter writes.
Kennedy is thrilled with the opportunity to present the SOTU response but isn’t so sure he wants to leave his office in the House for bigger and better things. At least, not yet. He also tells the Washington gossip circles not to put too much emphasis on his “blue” Kennedy blood.
“Look, my family means different things to different folks. I think for most people they have very fond memories and believe my family made important contributions to the country. People come up every day and usually say very nice things about my family, but sometimes not. You get both.”
A Spanish language version of the response will also be aired, presented by Elizabeth Guzman, of the Virginia House of Delegates. Regarding Ms. Guzman, Pelosi called her, “a respected advocate and community leader who represents the best of our nation’s ideals.”