Brunch Links

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Sen. Ted Kennedy died. Ted was unique in the Kennedy family because he actually lived to fulfill the idealistic myth associated with the name. While JFK and Bobby were exciting and charismatic, they never lived to articulate something that liberals could stand for proudly. Ted did live to become a champion in the areas of civil rights, health care and later on, peace. I always wondered what the right wing talk radio types, who loved to use Kennedy as a straw man at every opportunity, would say when this day came. Will they even mention it, or will they say it was a deliverance? Obama called him the greatest senator of our time. Sorry Robert Byrd, apparently not even Chappaquiddick was as bad as that KKK membership of yours, at least according to the nation’s first black president.

Showers and a high of 73.

Brenda Konkel reports on a whole list of stimulus initiatives in Madison, including a 30 mile wifi network.

Edgewater developers discuss the project to “mixed reviews.” I was supposed to be there and I completely forgot. I’ll get the scoop somehow though.

Paul Soglin adds his two cents to the debate over gay rights in Lutheran churches.

James Rowen discusses a rumor about the Sierra Club having a quid pro quo with Doyle over clean air initiatives. You reading Stevo?

Union Cab – bizarre yet inspiring company. Speaking of unions, I highly recommend the documentary Harlen County, USA. It’s over 30 years old but it’s an incredible look at a part of our country (Appalachia) and the poverty it’s been kept in by cruel business practices.

The controversy that nobody cares about continues. State Sen. Dan Kapanke’s aide was found to be using her personal email for work-related messages. People should care but they won’t.

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11 Responses to “Brunch Links”

  1. Alec S Says:

    “Ted was unique in the Kennedy family because he actually lived to fulfill the idealistic myth associated with the name. While JFK and Bobby were exciting and charismatic, they never lived to articulate something that liberals could stand for proudly.”

    What about the three years that JFK was in the white house? Or the work Bobby did as Attorney General at that time on civil rights as well as a number of other liberal issues? Or the speeches given by both which are still required reading for most intro poli sci courses? I beg to differ with you on this one Craver. They may have less legislative accomplishments, but legislative accomplishments are not a necessary condition for overall accomplishment in politics. That is where the Kennedy “mystique” (much better than “myth”) is based.

  2. The Sconz Says:

    What did JFK do during his three years in the White House? There’s a reason Martin Luther King didn’t know who to vote for in ’60 – Kennedy was as big a waffler on civil rights as Nixon. Bobby Kennedy was a civil rights activist, however, he only was as far as was politically convenient. When the civil rights backlash and Vietnam were plaguing the nation in 68, Bobby did not support especially strong positions on either, even though today he is perceived as the peace and love candidate of the time.

  3. Emily Says:

    Read “Legacy of Ashes” by Tim Weiner and I guarantee it will destroy a lot of those shiny Kennedy myths for you.

  4. Alec S Says:

    Emily, I have read extensively on the Kennedy family…probably far too extensively. It is because of that, not in spite of it that I defend them. It does seem to be a trend amongst our generation to see what John and Bobby did in the ’60s as nothing all that special. From what I can tell, it has come to be seen as the informed and nuanced view – which to some extent is true, but for the most part not.

    Craver you know I would love to talk about what Kennedy did in the White House but I don’t want to fill up your blog with my ramblings. The greatest accomplishment of JFK I think was averting a nuclear war. During the cuban missile crisis more than half of his cabinet was pushing for essentially a nuclear holocaust. The next year Kennedy gave a speech advocating an inclusive world peace. That, at least to me, is something special. I would pose this question to you also, would a gay rights activist have known who to vote for in this past election? I think there are serious parallels there that speak to the realistic constraints of running for and holding the presidency.

  5. szarzynski@wisc.edu Says:

    Spying on MLK, a cautious approach to civil rights, continuing the arms race, Bay of Pigs and initiating an illegal, immoral war in which 2-5 million people were killed should all be included as part of the “liberal” legacy of Jack and Bobby.

    The Great Society programs, civil rights legislation and other accomplishments of the 60’s occurred under Johnson, under pressure from a massive social movement.

  6. Kyle Szarzynski Says:

    Damn.

  7. Alec S Says:

    Kyle I’m not sure exactly who you are talking about. JFK had nothing to do with spying on MLK, and the CIA that did he had a historically icy relationship with. See: after Bay of Pigs failure (which was a mistake) Your definition of “initiating” is a pretty expansive one, Kennedy sent officers there but the responsibility for the Vietnam conflict can in no reasonable way be placed at all on his shoulders.

    Johnson, throughout his time in office, stated that he was working to continue the ambitions and agenda of JFK.

    I don’t know what to say about you giving your own posts complements in separate posts.

  8. Alec S Says:

    Make that FBI agents, not CIA

  9. Anon Says:

    I think that extra post was in regards to posting his own email address lol

  10. Kyle Szarzynski Says:

    Of course I’m outrageously arrogant, but anon above is correct. As for your substantive inaccuracies:

    “The illegal surveillance of King by the FBI lasted for years and covered three different phases authorized variously by J. Edgar Hoover, Robert Kennedy, and William Sullivan.”

    http://www.opednews.com/articles/FBI-agents-that-spied-on-M-by-Michael-Richardson-090115-516.html

    (You might also be interested in looking into RFK’s early role in McCarthyism.)

    Overall, Kennedy was extremely cautious relating to the Civil Rights Movement, generally encouraging its actors to slow down or stop their resistance (ie RFK said it was time to “cool down” on the freedom rides) so as to help the administration safe face. Of course, some protection of civil rights initiatives was necessary since the US was losing credibility on the international scene, photos of burning buses and police dogs on the front pages of every paper in the world. It was great propaganda for the Soviets. Further, tepidly embracing the movement was also the best way to ensure it didn’t get too radical. Nixon would have acted in the same way.

    On Vietnam, no reputable historian that I’m aware of (Oliver Stone doesn’t count) argues there was a significant break between the Kennedy and Johnson years. The former was building up the US troop presence and financing the fascist and murderous Diem regime (remember the self-immolating monks?), even as a ’58 poll showed that 80% of the South Vietnamese would have voted Communist if elections would have been held – democracy was precisely what Kennedy, through his proxies in Saigon, worked to prevent. Had Kennedy lived, there still would have been the same genocidal war to crush the popular uprising for sovereignty.

    Simply put, these guys should not be lauded as progressive icons. America has a much better tradition of social justice.

  11. stephen baker Says:

    Jack, RFK in the last few months of his life was strongly against the Vietnam war.

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