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Friday, February 12, 2010

The Last Kennedy
Posted by Jill | 5:37 AM
If you're my age, there has never been a time in your entire life when there has not been a member of the Kennedy family in Washington. That's about to change:
Representative Patrick Kennedy, the final member of the legendary political dynasty serving in federal office, has decided not to seek re-election, telling his Rhode Island constituents that “my life is taking a new direction.”

In a recorded video announcement scheduled to be televised on Sunday, Mr. Kennedy announced his decision to step down after nine terms in office. The death of his father, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, and the challenging political climate for Democrats contributed to his decision, party officials said.

“We all know how difficult the last few years have been,” Mr. Kennedy says at the opening of a two-minute message, citing the economy, unemployment and mortgage foreclosures. He added, “Illness took the life of my most cherished mentor and confidant, my ultimate source of spirit and strength.”

The decision by Mr. Kennedy, 42, means that for the first time in nearly a half-century, a Kennedy would not be serving in Congress. The decision was expected to be formally announced on Friday, aides said, with the television advertisement to follow.

Mr. Kennedy was facing the prospect of a competitive race for re-election from a Republican state representative, John Loughlin III. Mr. Kennedy also voiced concern last month at the Republican victory in neighboring Massachusetts, where Scott Brown won the United States Senate seat that was held for generations by the elder Kennedy.

Two party officials said Thursday evening that the challenging race this fall was a factor, but that the death of Mr. Kennedy’s father played a larger role in his decision.

“My father instilled in me a deep commitment to public service,” Mr. Kennedy said in the video message, which was recorded about 10 days ago. “Now, having spent two decades in politics, my life is taking a new direction, and I will not be a candidate for re-election this year.”

The Kennedys of my generation have lacked both the mystique and the effectiveness of the earlier one. It's actually surprising that any of them chose a career in Washington, given what that city did to two of the WWII generation Kennedy brothers. And it isn't as though Patrick Kennedy, with his personal problems, has been a Lion of the House either. But whatever their personal faults, the Kennedys have always been evocative of the notion that having money doesn't have to make you a greedy bastard pulling up the ladder after you so no one else can have anything. They've always tried to make life better for everyone, not just their peers. When you compare the Kennedys to the OTHER current political dynasty in this country, the Bushes, who are ALL about regarding the entire world as their personal fiefdom and hoping for the Restoration of the Favored Son, it makes the departure from public life of the last Kennedy in it even more bitter.


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