Skip to comments.Thirty-nine years after JFK's assassination...
Posted on 11/21/2002 7:31:34 AM PST by Valin
Thirty-nine years after JFK's assassination, the chance of another Kennedy achieving the presidency no longer seems inevitable. A promise unfulfilled
It will be 39 years on Friday since President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in a motorcade in Dallas when a rifle bullet shattered his skull. His promise was unfulfilled, his administration unfinished. The pervasive sense of sudden loss was devastating to millions. But the gauzy legend that sprang up around him after his death is now the dusty stuff of history, its magic overcome by the clarity of hindsight. The Kennedy name is now as much a curse as a blessing.
Roughly 102 million Americans alive today were not born when Kennedy moved into the White House in 1961. They know him only from the vast distance of time, his image distorted by slanderous movies, wild-eyed conspiracy theories and other mindless claptrap peddled by hucksters out to make money or earn notoriety. Many of us who actually knew him and were with him in Dallas that fateful Nov. 22 first lady Jacqueline Kennedy, officials, staffers, Secret Service agents, reporters are gone now too. Kennedy was 46 years old when he was shot. We who were adults in his era are all older now than he was then.
Time has taken its toll on the once-presumed inevitability of another Kennedy presidency. Sen. Robert Kennedy was assassinated in the midst of his own 1968 presidential campaign. Sen. Edward Kennedy's White House prospects died in 1969 when an aide, Mary Jo Kopechne, drowned in the car he accidentally drove off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island, Mass. John F. Kennedy Jr., heir to the most famous political name of our era, died childless at the age of 38 in a place crash off Martha's Vineyard in July 1999. Robert Kennedy's children, who make up the bulk of the family's second generation, have not been good dynasty material. A longtime family associate says sadly, "They were so spoiled." Joe Kennedy served six undistinguished terms in Congress but dropped out of a 1997 race for governor of Massachusetts amid scandals about himself, his ex-wife and his brother, Michael. Another brother, Max, declined to run for Congress. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Joe's older sister, was beaten this month when she ran for governor of Maryland. Mark Shriver, the son of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, lost a Democratic primary for a Maryland congressional seat this spring.
Camelot, the mythical embodiment of Kennedy glamour, was never real. Jackie made it up. A pleasant but transitory illusion, it could not be sustained in the face of several accounts written since John Kennedy's death exposing his relentless philandering.
The recent release of detailed records showing how expertly Kennedy handled the Cuban missile crisis restored his reputation somewhat. But now comes the discovery by noted historian Robert Dallek that Kennedy suffered from undisclosed maladies that required him to constantly take a shocking array of powerful drugs.
Dallek and a physician, Dr. Jeffery A. Kelman, examined previously sealed medical records of the last eight years of Kennedy's life stored in the Kennedy Library. The pair found that Kennedy had been taking antispasmodics, antibiotics, hydrocortisone, testosterone, salt tablets, antihistamines, an antianxiety drug, antidiarrhea drugs, codeine, Demerol, methadone, Ritalin, meprobamate, librium, barbituates for sleep, thyroid hormone and injections of gamma globulin, apparently to combat infection, and procaine, to kill back pain before public events. He was a walking medicine cabinet.
Throughout his earlier career and during the White House years, Kennedy and his advisers heatedly denied that he had serious health problems. Understandably, he wished to project the illusion of youthful vigor, and he did. But it was a frightening deception. The public had a right to know of the frailties that could have interfered with his ability to function at any moment.
The last man standing in the Kennedy family saga is Ted. The senator from Massachusetts has survived more personal and professional crises than the biblical Job sex scandals, a divorce and gross weight fluctuations. Kennedy ran for president in the 1980 Democratic primaries but could not overcome the Chappaquiddick tragedy. Furthermore, in a serious lapse of judgment, he ran against the incumbent president of his own party, Jimmy Carter.
Since then, however, Kennedy has worked hard to become a serious legislator, and with Sen. Strom Thurmond's retirement, he is now the third-longest serving senator. A recent biography by Adam Clymer concludes that his influence on the nation after more than a third of a century in the Senate is far greater than that of his brothers John and Robert, whose lives were cut short. His son Patrick, 35, is a four-term congressman from Rhode Island, doing a sound if unspectacular job and apparently content to stay where he is. For Ted Kennedy at 70, there are still things to be done. He successfully spearheaded a recent campaign to bring the 2004 Democratic National Convention to his native Boston. Ironically, the nominee crowned there just could be a Massachusetts senator. But it would be John Kerry, not another Kennedy.
Means (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org) is a Washington columnist for Hearst Newspapers. Distributed by the New York Times News Service.
What promise? Who ordained that this family of drunks, sex addicts and miscreants should run America ad infinitum?
He's still dead. Amazing, I know...
Jackie did'nt make it up. The press did three years AFTER his death. The only democrat to admit this is Chris Matthews. And I just love how this dupe quotes Adam Clymer and his book on Kennedy, where Clymer excused Ted's manslaughter/wrongful death of Mary Jo Kopechne because he ended up working for leftist causes.
Make sure y'all write this forlorn author and tell her not to worry and that a new "American Royalty" has arrived - the Bush Dynasty. I'm sure she's love it...
Meyer Lansky, Bugsy Seigel, Lucky Lucciano, et al?
Why can't the liberals just move on?
The guy's been dead for half a lifetime, for heaven's sake.
Why do they keep recycling this weepy "promise unfulfilled" garbage?
Psychology of the left ping, please.
Assassination researchers are almost all from the "JFK was killed because he was good" school. Now, they all have different goodnesses in mind (Vietnam, Federal Reserve, civil rights, anti-mafia, etc, etc, etc).
In real homicides, the victim is often killed not because they are good, but because they are mixed up in something bad.
Of this, there is abundant evidence in the life of JFK.
I am fascinated by the case, and I think motive is the key to the solution.
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