The Kennedy Name

Howie Kurtz observes that, “It’s hard to imagine that Patrick Kennedy would have gotten elected to Congress a dozen years ago without his last name. It’s equally hard to imagine that the media would be going wild about his late-night car crash and prescription drug addiction if he weren’t a Kennedy.” Both certainly true.

Kurtz notes the kid gloves treatment the young Kennedy has gotten in the national press, contrasting it with rather brutal coverage locally, “where Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr last week called him ‘generally dumber than two rocks.'”

Still, writes Kurtz,

It’s difficult not to feel sympathy for Kennedy, who grew up in a relentlessly scrutinized family in which two of his uncles were murdered. But soft-focus media coverage has given him plenty of chances, far more than would be accorded a run-of-the-mill congressman with his history of self-inflicted wounds.

It’s hard to feel too much sympathy for spoiled rich kids raising to positions of political power because of people’s inexplicable fascination with a corrupt family.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Uncategorized,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Bithead says:

    Well, the kid gloves treatment is clearly being applied here. It’s startling, how quickly the press swarm on Kennedy disappeared over the last few days… Indeed, the Kurtz article you cite, is only one of 4 articles that show up in the current news searchs as of about 8 this morning, EDT.

    Can you imagine that without the Kennedy name, the press wouldn’t be all over this? For example, let’s try an experiement… replace the Kennedy name with the name of any congressional Republican… you know as well as I, that they’d be all over it like eyes on a wet T-shirt.

    And one need look no further into history than Limbaugh for an example of how they’d get treated by law enforcement officials.

  2. Perma says:

    Mass did’nt vote right on the Defense budget

  3. Dave Schuler says:

    Precisely the same complaint was made of his father when he first ran for the Senate 40 years ago. I think it’s just as troubling that Jack was elected to the Senate 50 years ago. Does anyone think he would have been taken seriously if his father wasn’t the richest man in the world at the time? It’s hard to decide which is worse: the American aristocracy or the American plutocracy. With the Kennedy’s you don’t have to choose: you’ve got both.

  4. afda says:

    It�s hard to feel too much sympathy for spoiled rich kids raising to positions of political power because of people�s inexplicable fascination with a corrupt family.

    Come on now, James. We are at war–this type of snipe at President Bush is unwarranted.

  5. anjin-san says:

    Not sure what Bithead is upset about RE: Rush. Its pretty clear that Rush’s wealth and influence will allow him to avoid answering for his crimes, just as a few Kennedy’s have.

    News flash. Rich people of both parties get away with all kinds of things.

    The bottom line about the Kennedy story is that it is just not that interesting. Certainly not compelling to stay in the headlines.

  6. McGehee says:

    We are at war �- this type of snipe at President Bush is unwarranted.

    Okay, now everybody pay attention — especially you, Stephen Colbert. That was funny.