Last Wednesday, Kennedy scion, Joseph P. Kennedy III announced his bid for the Congressional seat Barney Frank will be vacating later this year.
Here are Kennedy’s stated qualifications for the office he seeks:
- Served as an Assistant District Attorney for Middlesex County, Massachusetts
- Served as an Assistant District Attorney for the counties of Barnstable, Dukes and Nantucket
- Served as a member of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau “serving some of Boston’s most impoverished neighborhoods”
- “He helped design and teach a curriculum in which students used photography to discuss the challenges of crime, drugs, and poverty facing their neighborhoods“
- He served in the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic from 2004-2006
- He went to Harvard Law School and has a Management Science and Engineering degree from Stanford University
Here are Kennedy’s “relevant” qualifications:
- His grandfather is Robert F. Kennedy
- His father was a U.S. Congressman
- His great-uncle is Senator Ted “Chappaquiddick” Kennedy
- His other great-uncle is President John F. Kennedy
- He has special privileges that few Americans enjoy and that he has not earned like getting access to a special event with the Prime Minister of Ireland
For those who follow this site, there are few things I despise more than nepotism. If his name were Joe Doe, some high Democratic Party functionary would be ten places before him in line to run for this seat.
But he’s a Kennedy, and Kennedys are better than everyone else, because, well, they’re Kennedys.
I personally hope this entitled, spoiled brat gets his rear-end handed to him in the election. In fact, it just so happens I personally know the gentlemen who will hopefully be handing it to him.
Sean Bielat was a classmate of mine at the Kennedy School of Government (note the irony), and is also a good friend. Unlike Kennedy, he has actually run multiple organizations in the Marine Corps and as an executive at the iRobot Corporation. He has an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, a Master in Public Policy from Harvard, and a BA from Georgetown University. He also had in 2010 the best showing for any Republican challenger to Barney Frank in nearly thirty years.
Oh, and his accomplishments were entirely his own, and not built on those of his daddy, granddaddy or great uncles. Here is a clip of Sean from the 2010 election:
To me, Joseph P. Kennedy III is the embodiment of everything that is wrong with America. He is the spoiled scion of a wealthy family that built its fortune on illegal bootlegging. He presumes to tell the lowly proles prostrating themselves before him that he will lead them out of darkness and misery, when he’s never had to worry about paying for basic necessities. There have been too many people with backgrounds like his running our government (and yes, liberals reading this column will be right when they throw George W. Bush in this category), and it is time for a change.
I completely agree that there are too many people who seek office without qualifications or because of their lineage. Your examples of both Bush and Kennedy family member are a prime example. However, there are instances when someone has the pedigree to back up the position they are seeking. At least Bush had some experience in government as a Governor of Texas. That’s more than some people who seek political office.
That it’s a House of Representatives seat does seem to lower the expectations one has for the candidates. Lesser candidates are elected to the House regularly because their terms are only two years. Alan West pops to mind as a candidate who had no business being elected.
When looking at the Senate, there are countless instances of unqualified candidates being nominated and running for the seat. 2010 is a great example of individuals winning or running for seats they were not qualified to hold – Joe Miller in Alaska, Christine O’Donnell in Delaware and Sharon Angle in Nevada are prime examples.
I believe that candidates should have some experience in state or local government before running for office, and they should bring something to the table beyond rhetoric or lineage. So much rides on our government, with so many massive major decisions hanging in the balance, that we need to vote for the candidate with the best qualifications and experience, beyond a party designation or some ideological notion. We need people who know how to get things done and make tough decisions, not the children of entitled elites or unqualified persons who talk a big game and get a bunch of people brainwashed into the rhetoric.
Looking at these two candidates, even as a liberal, it does appear that Joe Kennedy III is the lesser candidate. Sadly, names carry weight within the parties. It is one reason many people believe Bush surpassed more experienced Republicans during the 2000 nomination process, such as John McCain and Steve Forbes.
I completely agree. I’m originally from Delaware, and when I saw Christine O’Donnel running, I wanted to throw my shoe at the television. She was completely unqualified to do much of anything, let alone become a US Senator.
When she ran, I was living just outside of Delmarva, so I was bombarded with her commercials. When I saw the “I’m Not A Witch” commercial on television, I was laughing so hard, I had tears running down my face. Sometimes, both parties have to be careful with looking so hard for “fresh blood” in Congress, else they end up with candidates like her.
Exactly. Be afraid. Be very afraid. 😉
I was living in Delaware at the time (still am, for that matter), and it was less funny and more… disheartening than anything else, really. The thought that “THIS is what the American political process has come to? Really?!” crossed my mine on more than one occasion.
Yeah, it made me pretty upset too. What the heck were the Republicans in Delaware thinking? They literally flushed a Senate seat right into the toilet. Very stupid.
To me, Joseph P. Kennedy III is the embodiment of everything that is wrong with America. He is the spoiled scion of a wealthy family
I think you need to be more clear in communicating how you feel 😉
Now wait on doggon’ minute:
“If you really love your country, you’re gonna HAVE to love moonshine”
In all seriousness, the Kennedy’s make me shake my head.
Well, it was illegal in the 1920s when the Kennedys made their fortune. 😉
Can’t you just picture that red head driving the General Lee?
Seriously, I hope Sean Bielat wins in Massachusetts. The last thing this country needs is another Kennedy in Washington
Anything thoughts that don’t qualify as polemic ?
Any thoughts on Joseph Kennedy’s thoughts ?
If we are to change Washington, don’t we have to rise above the partisan politics and address our problems directly ?
“If we are to change Washington, don’t we have to rise above the partisan politics and address our problems directly?”
Absolutely, and electing another member of a political dynasty simply because he is a Kennedy probably won’t help solve our problems. It will likely give us more of the same.
If we are to change Washington, we should start by electing people who earned their positions in life, not those who have inherited them. Democrat or Republican, nepotism in politics is just plain wrong.
Illegal bootlegging? Is that redundant?
I live in Washington state (my apologies in advance for the state that has sent the brilliant Patty Murray to the senate 4 times) where to be elected you must be a democrat. I think of MA as the same thing. How Scott Brown was elected remains a mystery. Here, we have a D legislature and a D governor, but somehow none of our budget or social issues are their fault. It’s acutally the tax-payer’s fault for not funding the government enough. I’m sure this Kennedy will be elected because of his last name. Just think of the result if Caroline K had run for senater from NY. We are all probably condemned to live under a steadily decreasing level of freedom in the name of the Kennedy’s.
Agreed. Thanks for stopping by, Bob.
When you think you are royalty, you are certain you’re entitled…
I completely agree.
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Unfortunately, it’s not a joke. Great article! BTW, I supported Sean Bielat in 2010. Hopefully he can win it this time.
Thanks, Bee. I hope Sean wins this time as well.
Do you really have a reason to think the guy is a spoiled brat, or do you just assume he is because he’s a Kennedy and part of a political dynasty? Aren’t we supposed to judge individuals on their own terms? I am also uncomfortable with political dynasties be they Republican or Democratic, but I just wonder of Kennedy really deserves the ad hominems here. I mean, you almost sound like OWS talking about the 1% 🙂
What’s “OWS”? haha 😉
Seriously? What happened to those folks? Do they have a PAC yet?
Seriously? What happened to those folks?
They’re being evicted in Raleigh for not paying for insurance.
Do they have a PAC yet?
Wow. Watch out! 😉
“Do you really have a reason to think the guy is a spoiled brat, or do you just assume he is because he’s a Kennedy and part of a political dynasty?”
Yes. He lives in a district that represents a place where many of the Harvard University faculty reside. I find it ironic that Kennedy has the temerity to run for a position when there is so much more intellectual firepower in his district. Do you honestly think the Democratic Party could not find someone with more talent and experience in this district? By putting himself out into the public arena with a not-quite-so accomplished record, Kennedy demonstrates what I believe to be extraordinary arrogance and entitlement. So, yes, I have good reason to feel he is both entitled and spoiled.
He is probably ambitious, and political parties never look for the most talent and experience, they look for those with sufficient talent and experience (which Kennedy has) that are most likely to win (which arguably the name helps him with). So I’m left thinking that you are labeling “entitled and spoiled” something that is also “rational and strategically smart.” The two are not mutually exclusive, to be sure. Especially if the GOP has a strong candidate the Democrats will look at electability as a major factor. Is Kennedy really more electable than other Democrats in that district? I don’t know.
“they look for those with sufficient talent and experience (which Kennedy has)”
Well, he clearly doesn’t have sufficient experience. Talent? Who knows, he hasn’t really done anything yet.
“something that is also ‘rational and strategically smart.'”
I agree with you here. The Democrats are counting on the stupidity of the electorate to vote for a name (i.e., form) over substance, and unfortunately, they probably aren’t wrong. Again, it could easily backfire on them. The Republicans will likely take the approach that he is just another Kennedy who believes he’s entitled to another seat (and there is likely truth in that view). With things as they are, this may resonate with voters (though I doubt it will in Massachusetts).
I’m no fan of political dynasties (whether they be Kennedy, Bush, etc..), but putting aside his name, he’s probably not much more/less qualified than most people running for congress the first time.
“I’m no fan of political dynasties (whether they be Kennedy, Bush, etc..), but putting aside his name, he’s probably not much more/less qualified than most people running for congress the first time.”
I guess it probably depends on the district. However, you’d think that this district in particular has access to far more talent, especially on the Democratic side than Mr. Kennedy possesses.
You’ve gone way overboard calling him spoiled and bratty and entitled, with no evidence whatsoever. He could be, sure, but you can’t say that he IS just because he’s a Kennedy. I hate dynasties too, but at least this Kennedy has had government experience, while your buddy is an executive in a company that makes automated vacuum cleaners… I’m sure he has fine qualities too, but you haven’t really made much of a case here. This reads like emotional reaction, not argument.
Bielat actually has more government experience than Kennedy, having served as a Marine. He also didn’t sell robotic vacuum cleaners to housewives. He was in charge of iRobot’s Packbot division, which sold mine-clearing robots to the military.
The two don’t even have remotely similar qualifications.
Furthermore, having the temerity to run for office, when you know your only real qualification is your last name is indicative of a spoiled brat, in my humble opinion.
I just recently started reading your blog because the majority of the rhetoric out there is so inaccurate, polemic, and regurgitated without facts while the premise for Reflections of a Rational Republican seems backed by facts, thought, and logic. I am always searching for thoughtful discussion on issues with more educated perspectives than my own and while I generally lean far left, I prefer to educate myself on multiple angles regarding issues and vote based on what I believe to be best for our country.
Could Kennedy just be an ambitious young man with hopes of doing something good for the country? Obviously his name has allowed him to walk into being the Democratic nominee. I have no knowledge of Bielat or Kennedy beyond what you have presented and therefore have much of an opinion of either. But this post, and your responses have really disappointed me. Your accusation that Kennedy is a spoiled brat with unjustified temerity sounds a lot to me like the rants of a frustrated political pundit (perhaps you were having a bad day). And your responses when challenged on your accusation were not defended with facts. Even the title of your post “Is this a Joke?” sure breaks the mold of what I was expecting. Perhaps I need to read some more of your posts.
Perhaps. That said, I wouldn’t have given him the same treatment if he’d had more experience under his belt.
I admit that I have a strong opinion on this topic, so you should probably take it as such. There is little in the way of empirical evidence either side would be able to offer regarding whether the boy is spoiled. That said, my opinion here is based purely on deductive logic and experience. The argument goes something like this:
Nepotism is wrong because it rewards people with status based on familial ties rather than on merit. Therefore, those who engage in it likely believe they are entitled to special privileges no one else is. However, sometimes someone cannot control what family they are from, so they strive to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that they are worthy of running for the office. Based on Kennedy’s experience, he clearly (in my opinion) does not meet this test. Perhaps if he served in the state senate for a few years, or served as a DA for some time, he would have ironclad qualifications. Yet, he hasn’t. He hasn’t paid his dues like everyone else. By running now, purely on the cache of his family name and when he lacks relevant experience seems perfectly indicative to me of the behavior of an entitled, spoiled brat.
Well argued Sean. But I wasn’t looking for a rebuttal. I was posting to impart reflection on intent. I obviously didn’t do a good enough job as my point was missed.
Thanks, Eric. It sounds like I just misunderstood you. Can you please elaborate on your comment, so I can better address it? Thanks.
Thank you Sean. My point was just that if you are making a pure statement of opinion, it should be presented as such (not that I have a stake in how you run your blog).
As I stated, I tend to the left politically. However, I truly appreciate educated perspectives that diverge from mine because if I am wrong on an issue I want to know. I find it truly challenging to find good, accurate, and open ended discussion on political issues even though I am as guilty as anyone in indulging my opinion. When I happened upon your blog I thought, “Wow, here is a guy presenting some well thought points backed up with facts. I think there is much to learn here.”
When I read your Kennedy post and the following comments and responses it made me hearken back to polemic dialogue which, after reading several of your longer blogs I thought would not be present here. I wouldn’t expect you to be perfect (it is difficult as I obviously have first hand experience). It just struck me as very out of place.
Thanks for the thoughtful reply. You’re right. I should have made it more clear that this post was just my opinion.
Thank you for the feedback.
Sometimes we all have our moments and our pet peeves. For me, nepotism is a massive one. 😉