May 31st, 2009

I finished "Kennedy: The Dream That Never Died" by Edward Klein today.

I'm torn about this book. It's a short book, but covers most of Ted Kennedy's life from childbirth to his recently diagnosed brain tumour. If you want an easy to read book about Kennedy's life, you could do worse than this book.

My problem is that I found it somewhat unrealistic in its' expectations of Kennedy. As an example, Kennedy comes across as not terribly able. If there were ever a leading Democrat less able than George W. Bush, it's Kennedy.

In addition, he seems to like the chumminess of the Senate rather than the needs of the Presidency. After reading this book I doubt he could make the decisive actions needed to be President.

Thirdly, he is presented as someone who had a realistic shot at the Presidency, even after Chappaquiddick. Did anyone really believe that might happen after the death of Mary Jo Kopechne? I wouldn't have voted for him and I'm a Kennedy Democrat.

Finally I'm inclined to believe that he turned the political expediency of JFK and his support for liberalism into an inflexible talismanic belief in that ideology. I can understand why he did it, but as we've learned from Bush, it's not to wise to have "not terribly able man" with rigid views in charge.

The other thing that bothers me about this book is the fact that part of me wonders if this is a hatchet job by the American Right. It's cleverly written, but given that Klein put the boot into Hillary Clinton, you have to wonder how "fair and balanced" Klein is. It's worth baring that in mind when you consider buying this book.