We are just coming off one of our periodic paroxysms of hagiographic hype about the Kennedy family. (I may have more to say about this in a future post.) Some of what we've seen in recent weeks is perfectly legitimate -- observance of the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's inauguration as president and the passing of Kennedy in-law Sargent Shriver. But in the past month we've also been treated to widespread news reports about the death of Teddy Kennedy's 13-year-old dog, Splash; weepy commentary about how this month marks the first time in sixty years that there hasn't been a Kennedy in Congress; and Camelot-coated ceremonies commemorating the 50th anniversary of Robert Kennedy's swearing-in as Attorney General. (Really? The 50th anniverary of a cabinet officer's swearing-in? Please.) This sort of thing is orchestrated by the Kennedy family and their legion of acolytes and media flacks.I know a lot of liberals find the hype surrounding Ronald Reagan to be annoying, but it's really nothing compared to Kennedy worship -- and, as Tierney suggests, it doesn't come close in terms of buy-in by the press. Well, at least outside of the GOP partisan press.
On the other hand, I found the personal post-professional reputation campaigns by Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter even more annoying. And at least Ted Kennedy was a terrific, first-rate Senator, who used the Kennedy hype to help him in getting a huge amount of work done. Still, I'm glad that nepotism and dynastic politics appears to be at least to some extent diminishing, Mitt Romney notwithstanding. At least until the GOP feels its safe to go back to another Bush, that is.