I ask this because they've got this new biography of Bobby Kennedy coming out on film and if you look at the trailers, you just know that he's going to be set up on a pedestal as a revered liberal icon. Don't get me wrong, what happened to Jack and Bobby Kennedy was beyond wrong, but let's get a few things straight about the Kennedy clan.
The Kennedy clan bought the senatorial seat in Massachusetts. It was bought and paid for with their daddy's money and if you read biographies of JFK, they almost always say that when he first ran, he was a pretty poor speaker and was ill at ease talking to his constituents. To me this means that he wouldn't have won the nomination or beaten out a sitting republican senator but for daddy's money.
Secondly, Kennedy was the only Democratic senator who didn't vote to censure Joe McCarthy went he went completely bananas and started accusing senior members of the military of being communists. This, at the very least, shows very poor judgment on his part.
Thirdly, I don't think Kennedy was all that liberal (judging by the political climate at the time). I think he was a lot more centrist than most people think, but headed to the left for political expediency at a time when Massachusetts was heading that way. Incidentally, Richard Nixon would struggle to get the DNC nomination for the presidency these day. The country have moved that much to the right.
Fourthly, JFK couldn't get the congress to agrees the moon wasn't made from cream cheese. It was LBJ who got nearly all the important civil rights legislation through the house and senate. This suggests that LBJ was seriously underused in the JFK presidency.
Fourthly, don't be mislead, Bobby Kennedy was all gung-ho about going into Vietnam when he was Attorney-General, so don't think of him as being anything but politically savy when it comes to his opposition to the war later on.
Finally, politics, to my mind, is all about the "art of the achievable" and if someone can point to one really significant piece of legislation they got through, I'll eat me hat.
So given all this, can someone explain the beatification of the Kennedys to me please?