Tag Archives: RFK

This is no normal year

If only this were a normal presidential election year, but it is far from normal.

We have two major-party candidates who reportedly are the two most unpopular public figures since, oh, The Flood. We also have a third-party goofball, who happens to be a scion of one of the 20th century’s great political families.

Does all this portend a dismally low voter turnout? Not so fast.

We had the same two major-party guys running in 2020. When all the ballots were counted, 158 million Americans voted, a record. Joe Biden was elected president. The other guy called the election “rigged” and said it was “fake.” Never mind that the Republican Party presidential nominee tried like hell to rig the election in his favor.

Oh, and he hasn’t conceded that he lost to President Biden.

In steps Robert F. Kennedy Jr., son of the former U.S. attorney general and former U.S. senator from New York. RFK sought the presidency in 1968 and well might have been elected … except for the assassin who gunned him down in the Los Angeles hotel kitchen.

This isn’t a normal election any more than the previous one, or the one before that when the former Liar in Chief got elected.

Joe Biden promised a return to normal presidential behavior. He has behaved like the adult in the room. Unlike the guy he defeated,

Now they’re preparing to square off again. I get that they’re bold old men. Allow me this bit of candor: Time is on neither man’s side, although the chatter almost always seems to focus on Joe Biden’s alleged decline in acuity. I am prepared to argue that the GOP nominee in waiting is exhibiting even more frightening examples of unhinged behavior.

Does any of this mean a dismal turnout in this fall’s election? Hardly.

Both sides are going to gin up their respective bases. My fervent hope is that President Biden wins the day, the election and continues to restore our national soul.

Get out of the way, RFK Jr.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is really pissing me off … in a serious sort of way.

Now he’s talking smack about the traitors who are jailed for storming the Capitol building on 1/6, refusing to call them what they are, criminals who were caught seeking to overturn the results of a free, fair, legal and moral election.

Democratic Party officials — many of whom with fond memories of Junior’s father and uncles — now want the independent presidential candidate to drop out of the race. I join them in their anger at RFK Jr., who’s sounding more like a crackpot than a serious candidate for POTUS.

Man, I never thought I was say these things about the scion of one of America’s great political families, and the second-oldest son of my first political hero.

The great Robert F. Kennedy no doubt would climb out of his Arlington National Cemetery grave — if he could — and deliver a serious ass-kicking to his son.

Does Junior not understand what this treasonous mob sought to do and does not appreciate the consequence he could bring to the result of an election he has zero chance of winning?

What is RFK Jr. doing?

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s bizarre campaign for the presidency has me baffled and bamboozled.

He announced his candidacy first as a Democrat; then he became an independent. This week he selected an entrepreneur/lawyer, Nicole Shanahan, as his vice-presidential running mate.

Why the bafflement? Well, RFK Jr.’s father, the late U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, was my first political hero. I had the pleasure of shaking Bobby Kennedy’s hand in late May 1968, one week before his own presidential bid ended with an assassin’s bullet in Los Angeles.

I am struck by the notion that RFK Jr. would abandon the Democratic Party, given his family’s long affiliation with the party. I am certain his father would be aghast.

What’s more, RFK Jr. professed profound admiration and affection for President Biden even as he was announcing his Democratic presidential campaign. What the … ?

I am puzzled by the reason he wants to become the next POTUS. His conspiracy theories regarding the murder of his father and his idiotic refusal to accept the vaccine offered to battle the COVID 19 pandemic simply send me into orbit.

Will his campaign harm Biden more than the Republican nominee-in-waiting? I haven’t a clue. I have seen polling data that suggest an even draw-down of votes for both major-party candidates. I don’t necessarily believe those polls.

I remain baffled that Bobby Jr. would do this … and to what end.

I also am convinced that his father would take the kid to the proverbial woodshed …

These guys were ‘really rich’

Quiz time: Did you ever hear Mitt Romney, or Nelson Rockefeller, JFK, RFK or Teddy Kennedy proclaim to adoring crowds that they were “really rich”? 

Time’s up. I didn’t think so.

But yet … this year’s presumptive Republican presidential nominee has made such a proclamation. Many times, in fact, since he became a politician in the summer of 2015.

Well, it turns out he might not be quite as “really rich” as he bragged. It is being reported widely that the guy who also proclaimed himself to be “really smart” and would hire “the best people” to work for him cannot raise the $400-plus million bond he is ordered to pay in the defamation case brought by E. Jeanne Carroll, whom a jury has ruled was raped by the former Idiot in Chief.

I am reluctant to say “I told you so,” but I have maintained all along that anyone who claims out loud to be as rich and smart as the former POTUS more than likely is neither.

New York Attorney General Leticia James now faces the prospect of seizing the ex-POTUS’s assets to make him pay for what he owes the court. Wouldn’t that be, um, rich beyond belief.

Mitt Romney said out loud what many of us knew already prior to the 2016 election. He called the so-called “really rich” guy a “phony” and a “fraud.”

Am I stunned at what might happen soon? Yes! Am I surprised? Not one little bit!

RFK … oh, how I miss him

Robert Francis Kennedy died 54 years ago today.

He had been shot the previous day just as he declared victory in the California Democratic Party presidential primary. Sen. Kennedy had righted his campaign and well might have won his party’s nomination later that year in Chicago.

He also might have been elected president of the United States in the fall of 1968. Alas, fate had other plans for RFK.

He fought for his life for 24 hours before succumbing to his wounds.

RFK left behind a nation full of those of us who remember fondly his promise of a new day of peace. He wanted to end the Vietnam War, a war he once supported on behalf of his brother, President John F. Kennedy. The carnage on the battlefield and the lack of a winning strategy became too much for RFK.

He wanted American forces to leave Vietnam and he vowed to do whatever he could do as president to ensure that day would arrive much sooner than it eventually did.

I was in my late teen years when Bobby Kennedy died. I would venture to Vietnam the following spring. I came home later as confused as I was when I reported for duty. I kept asking: What was the point, the mission, the end game? I didn’t know and I couldn’t find a senior military officer who knew the answer, either.

I wanted, therefore, to take a brief moment to recall the grievous loss of a political titan who well could have delivered us from the misery we were about to endure.


Longing for old custom

There once was a time in Washington, D.C., when freshmen members of Congress — senators and House members — spent their first terms learning to locate the Capitol Hill restrooms, which they did without hardly ever uttering a word out loud.

Those days are gone. The media these days bestow instant celebrity status to congressional newbies. I wish we could silence some of them.

There were exceptions to the old way of senators and House members having to earn their way under the spotlight. I can think of Robert F. Kennedy, who took office as a senator from New York in 1965. He became an instant star, even though he never really liked serving in the Senate. The rest of ’em largely stayed quiet until they earned their spurs. Hillary Rodham Clinton took her Senate seat in 2001 as her husband was leaving the presidency. Indeed, Sen. Clinton was a household name — as was RFK — before she decided to seek elected public office.

These days? We get the likes of Republicans such as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert. I’ll lump at least one Democratic lawmaker, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, in that camp of instant celeb. The media seem to enjoy reporting on the things these people say, even when they make little sense.

Lately, too, we have heard from that GOP nut job Madison Cawthorn, who yapped about sex parties, bringing a dose of embarrassment to fellow Republicans in the House.

I fear this all is a consequence of social media. Everyone has a recording device on their “smart phones.” Whatever one can say is recorded instantly and shared with every human on Earth.

I guess I’ll just have to sigh out of frustration, knowing there ain’t a thing I can do to change the world in which we live. Maybe I’ll just have to learn to tune out the blatherings of these newcomers and listen more intently to those with actual governing experience.


Biden needs an RFK

Who functions in the Joe Biden administration as the tough guy in international negotiations? Who can President Biden rely on to get the message delivered in clear and unambiguous terms that the United States means business when it threatens the other side with severe punishment if talks break down?

I refer to someone such as Robert F. Kennedy, who filled that role for his brother, President John F. Kennedy, during the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

The situation today isn’t precisely identical, but to my eyes and ears it reminds me a bit of what transpired in 1962. Russian troops are massing on the Russian border with Ukraine. Russian thug Vladimir Putin is threatening to invade Ukraine if certain conditions are not met. President Biden is trying to talk Putin off the proverbial ledge.

In October 1962, the Soviet Union began assembling missile sites in Cuba. JFK got wind of it and set out to talk Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev out of deploying the missiles that could hit U.S. cities. He ordered a blockade of Cuba, using U.S. Navy ships to turn back any vessels heading for Cuban ports. He then dispatched his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, to negotiate with the USSR envoys at the United Nations.

RFK laid down the law: either dismantle the missile sites or face the mighty wrath of American military might. The Soviets backed down. We gave them some concessions, to be sure, such as taking down our own missile sites in Turkey. The point is that JFK had RFK to do his dirty work.

Is there someone in the Biden administration to fill that task now? Man, I hope so.


End conspiracy talk … OK?

I watched a four-part documentary tonight titled “Bobby Kennedy for President.”

It was touching, deeply moving and it brought back memories for me about the 1968 presidential campaign during which Sen. Robert Kennedy’s life was cut short by Sirhan B. Sirhan in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.

The fourth part of the film talks about the “conspiracy” theories being kicked around to this very day about whether Sirhan acted alone in killing RFK.

I’ll clear the air right now. I hate conspiracy theories. I do not believe in them … generally.

Investigators have looked time and again at the events leading up to moment that RFK was gunned down. They have determined there is no evidence of a second gunman. No evidence! None! Zero!

Sirhan Sirhan acted alone. He killed RFK.

Why do I disbelieve these theories? Because secrets such as what has been alleged are impossible to keep. It’s been 53 years since Sirhan shot Sen. Kennedy. How in the world does anyone keep any information about that terrible event from the rest of the world for that period of time?

The Netflix series probes into the questions that just won’t wither away. I wish they would, but I also know they won’t. They will persist for as long as human beings draw breath, just as those conspiracy theories about President Kennedy’s murder five years earlier will live forever.

Count me out!


Thank you, Gov. Newsom, for denying parole to Sirhan

Sirhan B. Sirhan, the man who killed Sen. Robert F. Kennedy and likely changed the course of American political history, is going to stay in prison after all, thanks to a decision handed down today by California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The state parole board had recommended parole for Sirhan, who was waiting for RFK in the Ambassador Hotel kitchen the night Kennedy won the state’s 1968 Democratic Party presidential primary. Sirhan fired his pistol into RFK’s head and was taken into custody immediately after the shooting.

I want to join Sen. Kennedy’s widow, Ethel, and six of her surviving children, in applauding Gov. Newsom’s decision. Two of Mrs. Kennedy’s sons — RFK Jr. and Douglas — want Sirhan paroled.

He should stay locked up. His premeditated murder of a leading American politician was an attack on our political system. Sen. Kennedy might have been poised after his decisive victory in California to claim the Democratic presidential nomination in 1968. He could have then defeated the eventual winner of that election, Richard Nixon. Bobby Kennedy then could have ended the Vietnam War as he had pledged to do during his frenetic 85-day campaign for his party’s nomination.

Sirhan Sirhan, RFK assassin, denied parole (msn.com)

Robert Kennedy was the first politician I ever truly admired. I had the rare honor of shaking his hand a week before he was gunned down. His death saddens will sadden me for as long as I live.

Thus, I want to salute Gov. Newsom for rejecting the parole board’s recommendation. He wrote this of Sirhan in an op-ed that appeared in the Los Angeles Times:

“He does not understand, let alone have the skills to manage, the complex risks of his self-created notoriety. He cannot be safely released from prison because he has not mitigated his risk of fomenting further political violence.”

Well done, Gov. Newsom.


RFK’s widow weighs in: no parole for Sirhan

Does this now doom Sirhan Sirhan’s journey toward the door of the prison where he has been held for 53 years?

No, but it should.

Ethel Kennedy, the wife of the man Sirhan murdered on June 5, 1968, has said Sen. Robert Kennedy’s killer should not walk free. “Our family and our country suffered an unspeakable loss due to the inhumanity of one man,” Kennedy, 93, said in a statement of Sirhan Sirhan. “We believe in the gentleness that spared his life, but in taming his act of violence, he should not have the opportunity to terrorize again.”

A two-person parole board has recommended Sirhan be released. It’s far from a done deal. California Gov. Gavin Newsom has the authority to veto what the panel has recommended. A complete review of the parole recommendation could take months to complete.

Six of the Kennedys’ nine surviving children have spoken out against the recommendation to parole Sirhan. RFK Jr. and Douglas Kennedy have endorsed the parole recommendation. Now, though, their mother has said that Sirhan still poses too great a risk to society for him to walk free.

On a personal note, I still mourn RFK’s murder. I was able to shake his hand a week before he ventured into the hotel kitchen after winning the California Democratic primary. I was shaken to the core at his death and it still haunts me.

I do not mean to suggest that Robert Kennedy’s life means more than any other murder victim, but Sirhan Sirhan very well might have changed the course of U.S. political history by denying Americans the chance to decide whether RFK should become president of the United States in 1968.

Ethel Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy’s widow, says Sirhan Sirhan ‘should not be paroled’ (msn.com)

Count me as one American who would not be disappointed in the least if Gov. Newsom decides to keep Sirhan B. Sirhan locked up … where he belongs.