It’s easy to tell this Kennedy from the others


We are six months away from Election Day. Despite the media efforts to stir up public interest in a former president and the current president, the public isn’t ready to get serious. November is a long time from now, and there will be many distractions ahead before the polls become accurate and the voters give the candidates real consideration.

There are three announced third-party candidates, but only Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is a serious contender, who at best is running as a spoiler.

I have been a student of Kennedy family history for many years. I had the good fortune to campaign for re-election to the State Assembly in 1968 with Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. He was a brilliant public servant with an illustrious record. He sat side by side with his older brother, President John F. Kennedy, during the Cuban missile crisis, and he helped the late president navigate historic legislation through Congress.

Robert Kennedy Jr. has never served a day of his life in a serious government position and brings no relevant experience to his campaign. He claims that he has been exposed to the family’s various challenges, but that doesn’t constitute real on-the-job training. I am close to my son-in-law, who is a urological surgeon, but I don’t think that qualifies me to operate on any of our readers.

Kennedy is well known for his attacks on the use of vaccines on children. He is entitled to his First Amendment rights, but long before his rhetoric about the dangers of the Covid jab, he was asserting that drugs such as ivermectin, which is used to treat parasites, and the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine were good treatment for children with the coronavirus. These two drugs were also being pushed by the Trump administration, with no proof of their effectiveness.

Kennedy has frequently used the word “holocaust” in remarks about vaccines, which has attracted severe criticism. He has even invoked Anne Frank as an example of a vaccine victim, which has drawn sharp criticism even from his wife, actress Cheryl Hines. Kennedy was forced to apologize for his reference to this tragic character in history, but it hasn’t stopped him from making wild claims on a variety of subjects.

In a recent CNN interview, Kennedy claimed he had the support of “some of my siblings,” but he didn’t name any of them. Last October, Kennedy’s sisters Rory and Kerry Kennedy Townsend and his brother Joseph P. Kennedy II criticized his candidacy, stating that his decision to run as a third party candidate was “dangerous to our country.” They added, “Bobby might share the same name as our father, but he does not have the same values, vision or judgment. We denounce his candidacy as perilous to our country.”

The friction between the Kennedy family and Robert is nothing new. In 2021, Sirhan Sirhan, who was convicted of killing Kennedy’s father in 1968, was up for parole in California. Kennedy published an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle claiming that Sirhan was innocent of his father’s murder and should be set free from jail. Kennedy’s mother, Ethel, attacked his statement, saying, “Our family and our country suffered an unspeakable loss due to the inhumanity of one man. We believe in the gentleness that spared his life, but in taming his act of violence, he should not have the opportunity to terrorize again.”

The real question behind Kennedy’s candidacy is how independent he really is. He told CNN that President Biden is “the greatest threat to democracy,” words often used by Democrats to describe former President Donald Trump’s candidacy. A key Kennedy staffer stated two weeks ago that “Bobby is running to stop President Biden.” Kennedy’s biggest contributor is Timothy Mellon, who happens to be Trump’s biggest donor.

It’s hard not to be cynical about Kennedy’s candidacy, especially because all he brings to the table is his father’s name. Before he chose attorney Nicole Shanahan as his running mate, he was considering New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Time will tell whether Kennedy was put up by Trump donors as a way to help him defeat Biden. We won’t know the true answers to the Kennedy campaign mystery until all the votes are counted.

Jerry Kremer was an Assemblyman for 23 years, and chaired the Assembly’s Ways and Means Committee for 12 years. He now heads Empire Government Strategies, a business development and legislative strategy firm. Comments about this column?