RFK Jr. Feels The Chill In Iowa (And Everywhere Else)

RFK Jr. autographed photo 


The good news is: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has recieved more ink in the past week for his endorsement of Hillary Clinton than in the five months since his headline-hogging speech at LIVE EARTH.

The bad news is, much of the ink was thrown on him. From the New York Times to the Des Moines Register to the blogosphere, this was everybody’s week to hurl a few tomatoes at RFK Jr. And while smears from the likes of Dick Morris and Sean Hannity always come with the dinner, this time the liberal and progressive left got into the act as well.

Now Kennedy’s taking a beating from the very base of supporters he will have to count on if/when he decides to run for public office someday. He’s been called everything from “traitor” to “sellout” by the same people who up until recently thought of him as a saint.

All things considered, it’s been a rough week for Bobby, with slings and arrows coming from every direction, perhaps even some unforeseen.

While stumping for Hillary in Iowa, things got even uglier. Mother Nature, perhaps as unmoved by this horserace as we are, decided a massive winter storm might spice up the proceedings a bit. Letting loose a barrage of ice and snow which forced the closure of airports and the cancellation of campaign rallies across the state, she surely must have watched the candidates’ mad scramble with some measure of amusement.

Rather than focusing on Kennedy’s endorsement of Clinton, most media outlets chose instead to dredge up some controversial remarks RFK Jr. made in Iowa five years ago as the angle of their coverage. (For those who may not remember, he had told an Iowa crowd that “large-scale hog producers are a greater threat to the United States and U.S. democracy than Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network.”)

The New Snark York Times was probably the worst offender, managing to work the old hog farm fracas into both the headline and the lede paragraph of what should have been an article about Kennedy endorsing Hillary Clinton for president. (“Will Kennedy’s Remarks Hog The Attention In Iowa?” NYT, Nov. 29, 2007) And of course, the paper was quick to remind readers that RFK Jr.’s comments were once denounced as “idiotic,” “ridiculous,” and “one of the crudest things ever said in Iowa politics.” Ouch.


Robert F. Kennedy Jr., january 2007

After a week like that, have we any positive words to offer him? What counsel would we give RFK Jr., who dipped one toe tentatively into these troubled political waters only to get it scalded? Is there anything we can say that might buck the guy up a little and encourage him to not abandon the idea of a future candidacy?

All the usual advice sounds cliche’: “Keep your chin up.” “Don’t let the bastards get you down.” “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” “Keep fighting the good fight.” “Stay focused on the big picture,” etc…and so forth…just doesn’t cut it. It’s a struggle to find the right words.

But if I had the chance to offer Mr. Kennedy a bit of my own high-priced advice (which is always dispensed here free of charge with a money-back guarantee if not completely satisfied) — were he to consult me as his own personal Oracle, Swami, and Magic 8-Ball all rolled into one and ask, “O Merlin, how do I extract the sword from this f%*&in’ stone?” — I would tell him:

Somewhere in the world is a tree that has been struck by lightning in such a way that the scorch marks show your initials. Find that tree.

Somewhere in this world, there is a treasure that has no value to anyone but you, and a secret that is meaningless to everyone except you, and a frontier that possesses a revelation only you know how to exploit. Go in search of those things.

Somewhere in this world, there is a person who could ask you the precise question you need to hear in order to catalyze the next phase of your evolution. Do what’s necessary to run into that person.

And if all of the above just sounds like a load of pagan New Age claptrap to you, well… maybe it is. Let me rephrase this cosmic message in more earthly terms:

Lieutenant General Ricardo S. Sanchez, who was the supreme commander of U.S. troops in Iraq from June 2003 to July 2004, thinks his government has made tragic mistakes. Citing “a catastrophically flawed war plan,” he said, “There has been a glaring display of incompetent strategic leadership from our national leaders.”

Think of Sanchez as your role model for the coming year ahead, Bobby. I hope he inspires you to do the following things: (1) raise a critique of a group or institution you’ve been an instrumental part of; (2) rebel against the faulty execution of an idea you support; (3) put your service to moral truth above blind loyalty.

I think you’ll easily catch the not-so-hidden meaning in this metaphor.

Do what’s inside you, not what others expect of you. Stay true to yourself and you can’t lose!

But the best advice I can think of comes from one of your Uncle Jack’s favorite poems. Written during his first year in Congress, he took these words to heart and would quote them for the rest of his life:

So when at times the mob is swayed
To carry praise or blame too far,
We may choose something like a star
To stay our minds on and be staid.

 — Robert Frost, “Choose Something Like A Star” (1947)



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

13 responses to “RFK Jr. Feels The Chill In Iowa (And Everywhere Else)

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  5. I’ll Chime in here… RFK, Run. Run in the face of the ultra spin machine. Run, because The likes of Ron Paul and Congressman Dennis Kucinich says similar things. Run because Cindy Sheehan takes the same battering from the skewed and lost public media, who drank the jim jones flavored Bush koolaid. Run, to go on record that you bashed these bafoons. Run, in their faces that you show them that they mean little or nothing to you. That their opinion is based in zero facts and yours is based on purely facts. Run, to be one that we’ll come to know that you aren’t intimidated by this ilk which is known to us as the New World Order or NEO-CON’s.

    I know that Hog manure from runnoff as well as from poultry farms is a HUGE ecological problem. My company is one in the world, that offers solutions to these issues, we are being sought out by many industries both domestically and globally to address these issues, because we are providing working results to solve these issues. It’s why China just gave us a 1200 system order and India is exclusively using our systems to restore hyper-eutrophic and anoxic, highly polluted rivers and lakes. It’s why Korea used us to remove Harmful Algal Blooms from an oceanic bay. For some reason, this country doesn’t like to solve problems. It has been my experience that providing a solution (At least to an ecological problem) gets you no where and with no return phone calls, after we provide a working solution to what was perceivably an unsolvable problem. I have 15 years of this experience from trying to deal with Government agencies in the Northeast U.S. and in the State of NH, Mass. Lately, I have been sought out to provide solutions to private water bodies in NY. This I believe is because water quality issues are becoming so bad, that folks are turning to any solution that appears to have more going for it than just hype and written reports delineating soil conditions, glacial activity over the last millenia and known and unknown point sources which contribute to the dying of the Lakes, Ponds and Rivers we are witnessing today.

    My point is that RFK, Jr. Is a man who not only can throw stones back to where they belong, that is the Political Neo-Con agenda, but who has also made great strides in using his talent to bring justice to industries’ doorstep and made them part of the whole, in the double edged issues we face both in political maladies and in environmental wholesaling of our very earth.

    That being said, and with complete disregard for whomever should like to contest my opinion(s), I say “Here Here!”, to Mr. Kennedy and strongly encourage and support him in his views and in his candor and in his “rhetoric”. If you were to look at the motives of this man, you must come to the realization that it is of “Selfless” origins. What is he saying? and why? Could it be that he is committed down to his DNA in his beliefs that we are on the wrong path, both in political sense and in environmental sense? I support that this is the motivation and he is championing our cause more than he is championing any one particular cause onto his self.

    If RFK Jr. is backing Hillary Clinton, then so be it. I guess that is where my answer is in regard to whether or not he will run for President. Maybe Hillary will appoint him to head up the EPA!

    I’m on record at least in my support and activist activities to do something about being an agent of change, I admire all of us who are doing the same. God Bless us all. Someday we’ll have the awakening and the truth to these lies we’re being told and the hero’s will be all of us who took a stand and refused the damn kooliad!

    Facts not hype or fiction, that’s what we need.

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  7. Chrisy

    I like the words of advice you gave Bobby about staying true to his trueself and not what the rest of the group wants you to do.

    A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. – Lao Tzu

    Bobby you took the first step and it has not been the best week for you I would guess. I would like to say that next week will be better, but I don’t know it well. The road you chose may not be an easy path but a path that has many thorns along the way.

    I would encourage you to remember that we are not all going to agree with each other 100% of the time, but a true hearted person is always going to accept you, respect you, and honor your decision even if they don’t agree with you, because they respect your right to walk your own journey of a thousand steps. They will trust that you know best on which of those 1000 steps you want to take.

    I would like to end with this quote. Debate and dissent are the very heart of the American process. We have followed the wisdom of Greece: “All things are to be examined adn brought into question. There is no limit set to thought.”

    I may be one of those who disagree with your choice of Hilary but I will fight for your right to endorse, support, and vote for who ever you want. I think it was very wrong for some of the attacks made on you this week. On one site they were even attacking your voice. That is really low.

    I think there is nothing wrong for us to debate the real issues of why many of us who admire your work and you personally can not support Hilary for President. Anyway, I still think you have acheived much and I admire and will continue to support you and your work. I still am planing to write you in on the Primary as I still think you are the best one to be at the helm of this ship America.

  8. michael seratt

    to r.f.k.jr., i’m with you all the way. let’s win for your father and ourselves. some people say that i’m so predjudiced in your favor that i wouldn’t tell the truth about you or your father. but i say read both sides. the good has the lead on the bad.

    mike seratt

  9. michael seratt

    i trust rfk jr’s choice of hillary clinton for president . hillary does represent change within the system. why establishment vs. counterculture ? rfk sr. wore his hair long in hippie style in the mid-1960’s but he was trying to bridge the gap between the establishment and counterculture. if hillary becomes president it will be the fulfillment of one of rfk’s progressive goals. we democrats are more than a party. we are the keepers of the legacy of rfk. i heard rfk jr. say the u.s. is the most hated nation on earth in person at loyola marymount univ. on nov. 1,2006 . but he also shared a personal memory of his father with the audience that night. he said when he traved with his father through europe and other places he got the feeling that the u.s. was the most loved nation on earth. i believe if we stand by the legacy of rfk we can be the most loved again. i agree with the statement-let’s trust rfk’s jjudgement and not forget that he probably has 9-10 years of memories of his father. i f he supports hillary we may not see the reasons or understand them. regardless of party machine or corporations i would say hillary has the passion and commitment to the people the same as rfk sr. because of rfk jr.’s endorsement i have joined hillary’s team. hopefully her campaign will be an historic march to victory next year.

  10. Jenn

    The attacks just keep on coming today: I see that RFK jr. has been voted #3 on the “Greenest hypocrites of 2007” list by (no surprise) Fox News.

    Altho’ this had nothing to do with his Clinton endorsement, it was for his opposition to Cape wind:


    His cousin Arnold Schwarzenegger was #10 on the list.

  11. Chrisy

    Michael, thank you for your post. You made some really good thoughts. Your post gave me food for thought. I will very much think about what you said.

    I will not be voting for her in the primary, as I don’t think she is best for the job. I am hard headed Celtic and I have made my mind up in the primary I am writing in Bobby Kennedy Jr.

    I am a Democrat and in the General I most likely will have to follow suit and vote for Hilary so a Democrat will be in office. I don’t know, I never thought I would vote for Hilary, but in the end she may just get my vote in the general. I at least am open to consider the idea where as before I would never have even considered voting for her. Of course the last 6 months I am seeing things a lot clearer.

  12. Is It Cold In Here?

    I also plan to write-in RFK jr. in the primary and again in the general election, even if he wants me to vote for Hillary.

    Sorry, Bobby. It’s my vote, and I can do what I please with it, even throw it away.

    But at least I will know that I voted for the right man, even if he is not running this time around.

    Stubborn? You bet. But I vote my conscience, not for the lesser of two evils.

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