(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
In 1979-1980, Ted Kennedy made his one and only bid for the U.S. Presidency.
I have often wondered why Ted Kennedy did not just hold his fire until 1984, when there would’ve been no Democratic Party Incumbant President standing in his path to first overcome. But despite this, Kennedy did poll very well during 1979. And before he even declared his candidacy seemed to be the “frontrunner” in the race initially by a healthy margin. That is until he did an TV Interview in 1979 with Roger Mudd of CBS News.
In the interview, Kennedy neither made any “gaffes“, nor did he say say anything remotely as stupid as George W. Bush or Sarah Palin ever did. But yet the U.S. News Media succeeded anyway in manufacturing a controvesry by declaring and pontificating about how “Kennedy could not answer the simple question of why he wanted to be President.” As the news stories from many sources then ran wild on this meme, and later jokes by various comedians followed, Kennedy’s once promising Campaign, to put a genuine Liberal of true Integrity back into the White House and remake this Country, just evaporated away in a matter of a couple of weeks. By a few weeks later the polls had completely reversed and the renomination of Jimmy Carter was a foregone conclusion (and the Media was all too happy then to brand Ted Kennedy as “a loser“).
But a closer examination shows that Kennedy merely answered the question in a thoughtful, unhurried, intellectual manner — which had always been the style of the Kennedy brothers in many interview situations. Both John and Robert Kennedy would also often give slow, reflective, pensive, thoughtful responses to questioners in a variety of casual interview situations.
Ted Kennedy’s response was also hardly anything different from the way you might see John Kerry respond to a question, or the slow rambling manner of Barack Obama on many occasions (who is never criticized for his “say nothing using many words” approach). While, Ted’s response could have been crisper and much more to the point, and we can agree that he would have perhaps served himself better by having a prepared response ready to go, it is important to understand that Kennedy was not even an announced candidate at the time that he gave this interview. This was not part of a formal “Campaign Interview” here, but just an interview profile made about Kennedy’s life at a time when rumors circulated that he was considering entering the 1980 Presidential race.
In today’s time, we see candidates give all sorts of blatant non-answers to all kinds of questions when they have not yet formally declared their candidacy (even though we know that they are running). Kennedy’s response wasn’t even a non-response, but just simply an unrehersed, somewhat rambling, thoughtful, intellectual collection of thoughts about how he saw the state of the Nation. Now, if Ronald Reagan had given such an answer (the same one) in an interview, would it ever have been paraded around in the U.S. News about so negatively?
Of course not.
Kennedy had at this point a 20%+ lead in the polls against Jimmy Carter. He would have likely rode that momentum into a victory at the Democratic Convention. It is easy to see that the theatrics of the charismatic, charming Ronald Reagan debating against the monotonic, soft-spoken, and wonkish Jimmy Carter easily favored the Election of Ronald Reagan (when left to a largely uninformed public).
But lets for a minute imagine the fall 1980 Presidental debate with the booming, charming, and passionate Teddy Kennedy at the podium to counter attack the superficialities of Reagan’s empty platitudes and vacuuous appeals. Suddenly the picture changes. Kennedy well might have been our President in 1980. The whole Country, and our whole Foreign Policy would have been dramatically different. The corrupt Bushes might not even have ever came into power at all, on a Presidential level, rather than dominating it in one way or another for the last 28+ awful years.
We also saw this happen in 2000, when the whole U.S. News Media falsely portrayed Al Gore as a “serial liar” (using altered quotes), and somehow responsible for Clinton’s affair(?), and they twisted his response about sponsering Internet legislation maliciously into a boast about “inventing the Internet” (a claim he never made). While all the while they outright ignored all the truly dumb and moronic words and statements that came out of George W. Bush’s mouth on a daily day-by-day basis (including real lies about Military troops unprepared to serve under Gore’s watch).
I always wanted to see Kennedy’s full answer one more time and try to begin to understand what was so wrong with it to have generated an avalanche of negative press? But what is clear is not so much a deficiency with Kennedy, but a major deficiency with the U.S. News Media. While not an ideal response, for an undeclared Senator to take his time to ruminate on the problems of the Country in a casual interview (not connected with any “Campaign”) is hardly anything out of the ordinary.
Once again the U.S. News Media does its best to ruin our Country, and what should have been.