Clinton Endorsement: Shock and Awe


Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s formal endorsement of Hillary Clinton seems to be drawing more ire than fire from longtime Kennedy loyalists, who expressed their extreme displeasure with his choice for president all over the blogosphere this week.

While his endorsement of Senator Clinton’s campaign is no doubt a smooth strategic move (especially if he has his eye on her Senate seat), the announcement didn’t exactly seem to stir the hearts of Hillary’s supporters. Their reaction, even on the candidate’s own website, was fairly lukewarm by comparison:

 Posted by: To the Hill Top

“We can be very proud of a party that produces public servants like the Kennedys and Clintons. Both families have given their all to our nation and are respected by our friends, allies and even some of our adversaries. That Robert Jr. would endorse Sen. Clinton is hardly surprising.”

by Lunabella

“RFK JR is a leader for environmental causes and obviously recognizes that senator Clinton holds the issue of global warming as one of her top concerns. He has chosen his candidate wisely. GO HILLARY GO! “

by Veronica

“Robert Kennedy , Jr. is a strong environmentalist. His endorsement will enhance Hillary’s standing with environmentalists. Of course, Hillary has an excellent record on the environment, an issue that is very important to me, but it certainly helps to have someone like Kennedy to come out in support of Hillary.”

While Hillary’s fans seem to be happy to hear the news, this is hardly the expected outpouring of passionate enthusiasm for having the likes of RFK Jr. join their team.

Elsewhere, the Democratic party rank-and-file greeted the news with a polite golf clap and a bit of a collective yawn. This is likely because the party faithful are still breathlessly awaiting Senator Ted Kennedy to give Hillary his endorsement. To many, he’s still the only Kennedy endorsement that matters.

We’ve culled together some of the most interesting comments regarding this latest development from around the web, both positive and negative. (Although we had to look pretty hard to find genuine enthusiasm for RFK’s Clinton endorsement.)

What we did find was a good deal of indifference — sort of a collective “so what?” — and a great deal of cynicism, mistrust of his motives, and outright anger amongst Kennedy’s progressive base. Many are puzzled. Others feel betrayed. Some say the man has sold out.

Either way you slice it, the response has been by far more negative than positive. Even some of the comments posted to RFK Jr.’s own blog at the Huffington Post had a surprisingly nasty snarl to them. The discussion soon sidetracked from the subject of so-called “clean coal” to the Clinton endorsement: 

“Obviously Robert has been bought off by the Hillary forces. Why would someone who has devoted his life to environmental causes endorse someone who has never spared a thought for the environment, unless it was entirely expedient for her to do so. Hillary has nothing to add on the two biggest issues of the day: the war and global warming. She is not the right candidate for LEADING us away from the precipice where we are perched.

When I heard about his endorsement, I groaned out loud. Did she just promise him a Cabinet post outright? Are the Kennedys and Clintons so enmeshed? Why couldn’t he at least withhold it until after she’s been anointed by the Iowa and New Hampshire party bosses and their sheeple? I wonder why Robert thinks we are supposed to take seriously his devotion to the environment when he supports a presidential candidate who has never been exerted by the enormous threat of global warming.

It is simply too discouraging for words. The elite is all in cahoots, and it would be idiotic to think an elite would lead us away from this state of affairs.

— posted by IowaGirl 

You simpleton, Kennedy doesn’t need the money so your fallacy about being bought is plain dumb.
It’s about the environment. Clinton has supported clean environments and this is just another.

— posted by drumz

I am saddened that you would endorse Hillary. What do you know that we dont.
Or have you been promised a White House spot.
Please say it isnt so.
I listen to Ring of Fire and cant believe you would sell out to big business.
Please tell us why.

— posted by snowbird42

And from the New York Times:

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. endorsed Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton for president today, and headed out to campaign for her in Iowa — a state where he once told residents, “large-scale hog producers are a greater threat to the United States and U.S. democracy than Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network.”

According to news accounts at the time, in April 2002, in the Des Moines Register and the New York Post, Mr. Kennedy made the comparison during a Waterkeeper rally in Iowa on hog farm issues. The group has long raised concerns about the environmental fall-out from large-scale animal raising enterprises.A Register editorial denounced his comments as “idiotic” and “ridiculous,” and the paper’s leading political columnist, David Yepsen — who Mrs. Clinton and other candidates now eagerly court — said that Mr. Kennedy’s comments were “one of the crudest things ever said in Iowa politics.”

A Clinton campaign spokesman, Phil Singer, said yesterday, “We aren’t going to agree with everything that every one of our supporters has said.”


This is a puzzeling endors
ement. She hasn’t exactly been running a green campaign. I thought that Kennedy was a person of true beliefs. Edwards would have been more in line with his views.

— Posted by cliff jones

I’m sure that if we cornered Kennedy, he’d tell us that we should all vote for Hillary and forget about third party candidates because she is the most likely to win and because she comes closer to our views than the GOP, but you don’t vote for someone because you think they’re gonna win. You vote and support someone because they are closest to your views. The Green Party doesn’t support the war. The Green Party doesn’t support the private ownership of land. The Green Party wants an end to the corpocracy that is running Washington. The Green Party wants an end to the destruction which agricultural conglomerates and cattle ranching have caused to the environment.Robert Kennedy should be a member of the Green Party, not the party of “let’s see if we can get our one or two issues addressed.”

— Posted by John Feier

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr is not the visionary his father was. Robert F. Kennedy would be stirred by the dreams of Barack Obama and John Edwards, who are the natural successors to the man who showed America the abject poverty millions of our own citizens live in to this day. Robert F. Kennedy toured Appalachia and the deep south to reveal homes with no running water, no heat or electricity, children dressed in rags with no shoes on their feet. Schools that were little more than tumble-down shacks.Robert F. Kennedy would find kindred spirits in Obama and Edwards who have worked hard for those with the least. Bobby Kennedy was ready to challenge the status quo and fought for goals that did not end with personal success, but with aid and comfort for those who needed it. He personified the quotation which has come to identify him best: Man’s reach should always exceed his grasp.Hillary Clinton brings to mind none of those ideals. She holds no special place for the impoverished, but seeks instead to enrich herself and family. The White House is not a place where Hillary sees she can do good for all, just do good for herself and close friends. Her goals is not to change the world, just be elected president, as if it is merely another entry on her paltry resume. How telling that Robert F. Kennedy, brother of the martyred President, ran not on his brother’s record but his own. How different from Hillary who wraps herself tightly the resume of her husband, assumes roles and titles held by others, inflates her unelected job into something unrecognizable, and — being generous here — fibs about her accomplishments. Barack Obama and John Edwards will do just fine without the endorsements of the son, but the father must feel some disappointment that someone so shallow and self-centered received from the keeper of his legacy, the bearer of his name, the endorsement which should have rightly gone to others far more deserving.

— Posted by jade7243

And of course this has nothing to do with RFK Jr.’s reported interest in running for the US Senate seat that President Hillary would have to vacate should she be elected. To think they used call his daddy the ruthless one!

— Posted by Capital Cat

The endorsement is useless. Most dems don’t know who this Kennedy is except he hates hog farmers especially Iowa hog farmers. — Posted by DIckie

Congratulations to Hillary on her myriad of utterly useless endorsements…keep them coming.

— Posted by Chima

It’s interesting when people keep trying to compare Robert Kennedy to Barack and John Edwards as if they are his successors and RFK jr must be missing something that his father had. If you read and know about Robert Kennedy you would know that he clearly had more common with Hillary Clinton than Barack and John ever did or ever will. Gender aside (probably the only thing they don’t have in common), Hillary and Bobby are very similar. ‘She’s not the beautiful-loser idealist, or the person who’s ambivalent about politics. She loves politics. Just as Bobby Kennedy loved politics. Bobby Kennedy could deal with Cesar Chavez and Mayor Daley. That’s what you need in America.’

— Posted by Cord

To jade, corinne and chima:It must feel good to shoot down every significant or noble person who endorses the enemy. What if Gore or Powell or any of your proclaimed heroes decide to come out for Hillary?Will you then malign their good name and cease your worship of them pronto? And will you start amassing an arsenal of vitriol directed at these notables whom you formerly embraced?And when Hillary wins the nom, will you then bow out gracefully from these pages, or will you go out kicking and screaming?

— Posted by Cat’s Eyes

Some of these celebrities like the Kennedy just endorse Hillary Clinton for the sole reason that Hillary is another celebrity. The views of little Kennedy does not carry muh weight in America. His father’s voice had some value. Not the little Kennedy. In fact his trashing words about Iowa hog farmers will only help divert some votes away from the person he is endorsing. Very few people have even heard of what he does. Isn’t he the one who flunked the bar exam? For the Kennedys, they feel comfortable in turning America into an aristocracy. So supporting the Clintons, or even another Bush is like keeping the country under an aristocratic regime. — Posted by Mary McFarlane

Cord: She’s not the beautiful “loser-idealist”?The sheer cynical apologism inherent in that statement should give everyone a whole bunch of pause. First, we are to believe that idealists are losers. That’s good to know. I suppose Lincoln was a loser-idealist? How about Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, hmm? JFK, what with all the loser-idealism contained within his speeches about global peace? That’s a lot of loser-idealism there.It is one thing to be a irrational idealist(which the aforementioned presidents, along with Barack Obama and John Edwards, were not). It is a whole other insanity to be a cynical pessimist. Hillary Clinton’s candidacy asks us to turn back time and go back to the 90’s as if they were these halocyn glory days. If anything, that is clearly irrational to anybody who was actually alive during the 90’s and paying attention.A failure of ambition is as dangerous to us as a failure of judgement. Time and time again, Hillary Clinton has demonstrated both. While she lamely asks her supporters to “turn up the heat” she seems completely blind to the fact that such partison blowtorching is the precise reason why America is melting.

— Posted by Abe

For shame!

— Posted by Tom Goldkuhle Two “has beens” this week endorsing Clinton. At least it’s consistent as if RFK, Jr. hadn’t had the Kennedy family, he’d be another “nobody”. Oink, oink as Iowa’s gonna clobber him. Hillary you’ve got to do better that this.— Posted by Pigs in the Blanket

I am going to go out on a limb and state that Kennedy’s words did not go over well with Iowans. It is difficult to say how they will take Kennedy’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton. I know what Kennedy meant, but for many people in Iowa, large-scale hog producing is work. This endorsement may backfire.

— Posted by Jeremy McNamara

And how is the endorsement going over in Iowa, where RFK Jr. is campaigning for Clinton this week? From the Des Moines Register:

markot wrote:
So what!!

Hawki wrote:
Who cares… are we supposed to think this endorsement carries weight because his name is Kennedy?

spasticjack wrote:
Betcha he is gonna hate that decision when he sobers up.
SunDog wrote:
Kennedy just wants HRC’s senate seat if, heaven forbid, she gets to the White House.

Yep, at this point, I think it’s safe to say that a lot of folks aren’t taking the news very well…

We want to know your thoughts. Since this is a gathering place on the web for RFK Jr.’s supporters, this seems an appropriate time for any and all of you who dare to stand up and defend Mr. Kennedy’s endorsement. Tell us why you think he’s done the right thing — for his party, for his family, and for his country — by joining forces with Hillary.

Or, if you find his choice indefensible, tell us why you think he’s wrong. Has his endorsement of Clinton changed the way you feel about him? Do you still trust that he has America’s best interests at heart? Has he compromised his progressive principles for the sake of political ambition? And most importantly, would you still give him your vote if he ran for public office?



Filed under election 2008, environment, global warming, hillary clinton, JFK, John F. Kennedy, media, politics, president kennedy, RFK, RFK Jr., robert f. kennedy, robert kennedy jr., senator robert kennedy, the kennedys, Uncategorized

15 responses to “Clinton Endorsement: Shock and Awe

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  2. Helena Martinez

    I have ZERO respect for him now.

    I will vote for Ron Paul or Mike Huckabee before I vote for Hillary Clinton and NO
    I will never vote for him for ANY office he ever runs for now. NEVER.

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  6. Johnny Boy

    i don’t know what cabinet position Hillary has promised Bobby for this one, or if it’s just that he can count on her “help” when/if he goes for her Senate seat, but this reeks to high heaven of political backslapping and favor-trading…just the kind of stuff we’re sick to death of.

    i held rfk jr. to a higher standard and i’m so disappointed!

  7. Truth To Power

    I raise funds for the Democrats through an organization that raised nearly half the money the DNC raised in the 2006 cycle. Shame on RFK Jr. for supporting Hilary. Too many Americans are hurting too badly, and to support a NAFTA/Iraq/Iran War supporter into place is just nothing less to BETRAYAL!!!!!!!!

  8. Truth

    I raise funds for the Democrats through and organization that raised nearly half the money the DNC raised in the 2006 cycle. Shame on RFK Jr. for supporting Hilary. Too many Americans are hurting too badly, and to support a NAFTA/Iraq/Iran War supporter into place is just nothing less than BETRAYAL!!!!!!!!

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  10. HeavenHelpTheUSA

    Ask not…what you can do for your country.

    Ask what Senator Clinton can do for you.

  11. Mary

    I see they are tearing RFK jr. up pretty badly on the CNN Political ticker too:

    A lot of broken hearts over at the Huffington Post:

    And here:

    Kennedy’s betrayal should not surprise us too much. The Democratic Party is being infected by the same disease as the Republicans. Corporate cash is the cancer that is destroying the Party from the inside and few can resist its temptation, as evidenced by Kennedy’s feebleness. He is obviously aware that Clinton is the worst of the Democratic offerings, but he has ceded his oft vocalized principles for some yet unknown deal.

  12. Maggie

    It’s no surprise at all that he would support HRC. The Kennedy and Clinton families have been close for years- didn’t Bill C appoint his sister Kathleen to some position? I know he campaigned for her gub race a while back- anyway we’ve seen the photos of them all sailing together- so where’s the big shocker? Does it have anything to do with RK Jr wanting her Sen seat in NY? Probably a factor, but I believe that position would be appointed by the governor until a general election- correct me if I’m wrong. My guess is whoever that appointee is will win the Sen seat as an incumbent- at least that’s the way it usually goes here in NYS- incumbents hardly ever lose, especially Democratic incumbents.

  13. Know what… SO WHAT. RFK Jr. isn’t stupid. The game is called Politics… If you want in, you have to sell a part of your soul. If you want in, you have to deal a little bit. If you want in, you gotta have someone inside…

    If we all think that RFK,Jr. is going to make a splash and an impact or even a snowballs’ chance in hell for surviving an independent run for the Presidency in this quagmired, confused, maligned and wholesaled out country of ours, we need to think like politicians… That being said, it is smart for RFK, Jr. to back Hillary. She will place him in a position of public office somewhere… Either as NY Atty. Gen. or as Sen. This is the way, the path to presidential candidacy and in effective politics. An Independent run would have probably weakened him in so far as giving him any real platform to stand on and do you think the media is going to rush in and “Do the right thing?” Not these days… They are owned outright and are such the Neo-Con spin machine. Our best chance is to use the Clinton power base to promote at least a stopping of the bleeding and then usher in agents of change like RFK,Jr. to re-establish or establish (more realistically) a flavor of integrity and get things done atmosphere in our Government. You can’t fight City Hall from the Parking lot. You need to be inside it.

  14. rfkin2008

    Good points, Maggie. The Kennedys and Clintons have been longtime political allies, helping each other with endorsements and campaign support for years.

    All of the Kennedys endorsed Bill Clinton’s 1992 and 1996 presidential runs. President Clinton appointed Jean Kennedy-Smith (then 70 years old!) as his Ambassador to Ireland in 1993.

    I would expect Ted Kennedy’s endorsement of Hillary to come down the pike soon, although he may hold off until after the convention to endorse because his good friend Sen. Chris Dodd is also in the race. (There has also been rumor that he might come out in favor of Obama, but I rather doubt this will happen) If Hillary gets the party nomination, I feel pretty certain Ted will campaign very hard for her. He certainly has in the past.

    Anyone who wants to find more on how the Kennedys have helped the clintons in past elections, you can watch campaign events and party convention speeches at

    (While you’re there, be sure to search RFK jr.’s name…they have TONS of great video and interviews with him in the archives, all for free. Loads of footage available on all of the Kennedys.)

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