OPINION | Barry Richard: Is Joe Kennedy Presidential Material?
Does simply being a Kennedy still win you political support in Massachusetts the way that it once did?
While I admit the thought that Congressman Joe Kennedy III might have a better than even chance of winning the Massachusetts Governor's office should he desire it, has crossed my mind but the image of Kennedy as a viable candidate for president was never really something I considered. Until now.
Town and Country Magazine recently referred to the Brookline Democrat as, "The next President Kennedy." Asked by reporters during an appearance in Quincy this week about the possibility Kennedy responded, "The headline caught me by surprise and I caught an awful lot of flack from friends, family and anybody I know." Kennedy told Colin A. Young of the State House News Service that he not only has no plans to run in 2020 but, "No plans on that, period."
Kennedy was anointed by Democrats to the district they gerrymander in order to dump one of their own, longtime Congressman Barney Frank, who was increasingly becoming as liability. While Frank's district covered New Bedford the new district does not. Kennedy does represent a portion of the Fall River area.
Kennedy, the grandson of former New York Senator Robert F. Kennedy is certainly a liberal much like his late Great Uncle Ted Kennedy but is not considered to be a left wing progressive radical. At least not yet. Kennedy's work on energy issues has been praised by both sides of the aisle.
Kennedy has an 18 month old daughter and a son on the way. So far at least he has been able to avoid the types of scandals that have become synonymous with the Kennedy family name. Drugs, alcohol, philandering and run ins with the law have taken their toll on the Kennedy brand leaving it a bit tattered and worn, even here in the deepest of blue states.
The Kennedy moniker has certainly not hurt young Congressman Joe up to this point as he has kept a relatively low profile but could a race for higher office, perhaps the presidency drudge up some unpleasant memories for the Kennedy clan and those who adored them for so many decades?
Do you believe Congressman Joe Kennedy III is presidential material and would you support his candidacy should he decide to follow in the footsteps of his three famous uncles before him?
For me the jury is still out on Congressman Joe.
Editor's Note: Barry Richard is the afternoon host on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from Noon-3pm. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.
State House News Service provided information for this article.