Once upon a time the Kennedy clan decided that a Massachusets Senate seat was their exclusive right. An inheritance to be passed along. That’s how Ted Kennedy ended up in the Senate.
Ted did not resist, embracing the opportunity to justify the patriarch’s faith in him. But his brothers Jack and Bobby, and especially their advisers, strongly opposed a run by Teddy. They thought he wasn’t ready — it would be another two years before he even reached the minimum age for senators set by the Constitution. And they feared that, win or lose, his bid would reflect poorly on the new president.
Undeterred, the patriarch put the wheels in motion. Ted took a job as an assistant district attorney in Suffolk County and, after hours, was ushered around the state to speak before every Kiwanis Club, PTO, and temple brotherhood that would lend him a microphone. President Kennedy agreed to leave his kid brother’s options open. He saw to it that his old college roommate, a non-threatening former Gloucester mayor named Ben Smith, was appointed to warm the Senate seat until an election could be held in 1962, the year Ted reached the required age of 30.
Nobody consulted the people of Massachusets about it. And Scott Brown temporarily made it to the Senate on the strength of that.
In the Senatorial debate yesterday in Massachusetts, moderator David Gergen posed a question to Scott Brown, mentioning the “Kennedy seat.” Brown immediately responded,
“With all due respect, it’s not the Kennedy’s seat, it’s not the Democrats’ seat, it’s the people’s seat.”
The Democrats tried to carve out another Kennedy seat against one of their own. But Markey mobilized the Left. And Joe Kennedy III ended up without a House or Senate seat.
Does that finish the Kennedy dynasty? Probably not. The name still has cache, but the clan doesn’t. Two marriages, to the future governors of New York and California, ended badly. And the Democrats are chasing diversity and millennial voters who barely know who the Kennedy clan is and why they’re still around.
America wasn’t meant to have royal dynasties and this one is in the rearview mirror.