September 1, 2008

SOMETIMES A LITTLE SHI'A LIBERATION GOES A LONG WAY:

John McCain, not Obama, is following in the Kennedy family footsteps (BARTLE BULL, August 31st 2008, NY Daily News)

As with McCain, reform was at the heart of Robert Kennedy's early service. He fought the Democratic machine and spent enormous energy rebuilding Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn by encouraging black economic development rather than government dependency. Working for him nights and weekends to assist black startup businesses in Bed-Stuy, young volunteers like myself learned that Bobby was not the typical far-left ideologue or partisan operative, as Obama was until recently. Like RFK and unlike Obama, McCain sees private enterprise and personal responsibility, not government, as the essential principles of political economy.

When Robert Kennedy ran for President in 1968, Eugene McCarthy was the darling of our party's "limousine liberals," as Obama is their cocktail today. Arthur Schlesinger Jr. wrote that Bobby became "the hate object in sections of the intellectual left, at least in New York." RFK turned to the blue-collar Democrats, some of whom are now shifting their support from Hillary Clinton to McCain. As Robert Kennedy's New York campaign manager, I recall his concern about young voters who believed they saw inspirational "hope" and "change" in McCarthy.

The bipartisan spirit of McCain's long collaboration with Edward Kennedy and other Democratic senators is no surprise. McCain calls Kennedy "the lion of the Senate," as indeed Teddy is - perhaps our finest senator ever. Jack Kennedy, too, was bipartisan, appointing two Republicans to his cabinet. McCain, one of the two or three most bipartisan national figures of our day, has worked with Democrats on the environment, court appointments, campaign finance, immigration and more. Obama has the most extreme partisan voting record of any senator.

Now, gambling his candidacy on a dynamic young Alaska governor, McCain has confirmed his independence as a leader not bound by the insider politics of Washington.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 1, 2008 1:30 PM
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