Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Disappoints

RFK, Jr. has disappointed millions of liberals, progressives and environmentalists by endorsing Hillary Clinton.

RFK, Jr. once said: “the Republicans are 95 percent corrupt and the Democrats are 75 percent corrupt.” This has been widely quoted because of its honest assessment of the corrupt two-party system.

He has also pointed out: “While communism is the control of business by government, fascism is the control of government by business. …The biggest threat to American democracy is corporate power. …our most visionary political leaders have warned the American public against the domination of government by corporate power. That warning is missing in the national debate right now. Because so much corporate money is going into politics, the Democratic Party itself has dropped the ball. They just quash discussion about the corrosive impact of excessive corporate power on American democracy.”

Those these statements were made some time ago, a few days ago on November 28 he talked about the impact of industry on environmental agencies: “It’s been a revolving door of plunder.” Kennedy saved special scorn for “the negative and indolent press of this country,” which he said has become controlled by corporate interests in the last 20 years. “Americans have become the best-entertained, least-informed people on earth,” Kennedy said. He also said five companies control 80 percent of newspapers and almost all radio, and those corporations are not in business to tell news thoroughly or fairly. “The only ideology they represent is their own pockets,” Kennedy said. So his criticism of the corporate plutocracy seems as strong as ever.

Such honest views of the sad state of America have made Kennedy the darling of many people – independents, liberals, progressives and environmentalists.

But the news that this esteemed honest liberal has endorsed the candidacy of Hillary Clinton was startling. Now he says: “Hillary Clinton has the strength and experience to bring the war in Iraq to an end and reverse the potentially devastating effects of global warming. …Hillary will inspire the real change America needs.” That Kennedy can see Hillary as an agent of change is a betrayal of all the good will that Kennedy has built up over many years.

Kennedy said he feels “very uncomfortable” about the amount of corporate money flowing into Clinton’s campaign, “But I also think you can’t come into this race with one arm tied behind your back.” How’s that for convenient rationalization? There is no reason why any sane American should be very comfortable about the poisonous and corrupting amount of corporate money dumped into Clinton’s campaign.

In examining media coverage of Kennedy’s endorsement of Clinton I could find no references to his earlier critical remarks of Democrats and the corporatist plutocracy. But people commenting on the New York Times article often were aghast at his endorsement, noting that it would have made much more sense for him to endorse Obama or Edwards. Bloggers, so far, have also not been critical of the Kennedy endorsement. The progressive community seems frozen by self-delusion and unwilling to criticize their adored Kennedy.

Here is my take: Hillary Clinton represents the worst of the Democratic contenders. She is totally committed to take all the corporate money she can get and pay whatever that eventually costs, should she become president. She really is a hawk when it comes to the Iraq war and even voted the wrong way recently when it comes to Iran. She is incredibly dishonest and phony. The reason why there are millions of Hillary haters is that she inspires distrust. A Hillary presidency would pursue corporate globalization and the terrible trade policies of her husband that has done so much to destroy America’s middle class. Her views on universal health coverage do not seem focused on getting rid of all the insurance industry involvement.

Kennedy’s endorsement of Hillary just shows how the status quo political establishment can rig the system to get what it wants. What has Bobby been promised? Head of the US EPA? Support for replacing Hillary in the Senate? Who knows? But his endorsement stinks and puts a big blemish on his credibility and reputation.

Joel S. Hirschhorn was a full professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and a senior official at the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the National Governors Association; he has authored five nonfiction books, including Delusional Democracy: Fixing the Republic Without Overthrowing the Government. Read other articles by Joel.

23 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. robert1014 said on December 2nd, 2007 at 6:04am #

    I agree…I was shocked to hear the other day of Kennedy’s endorsement of the execrable Hillary Clinton! I have been telling my friends that I will NOT vote for Hillary if she is the Democratic nominee for President; they react with some alarm, “Well, she’d be better than Giuliani…what if he’s the Republican nominee?”

    As a NYC resident who lived under Rudy’s bullying reign as mayor, I’m well aware of the reasons why Rudy would be a terrible President, but I don’t think we can assume he would be any worse than Hillary, a Republican corporatocrat in Democrat’s clothing, and, in any event, I can no longer participate in the perpetuation of our corrupt electoral system by continuing to “vote for the lesser evil.” If Hillary is the Democratic candidate for President, I’ll either vote for a third party candidate–if there is one–or I’ll vote for candidates for other offices that may be on the ballot on election day, but I will abstain from casting a vote for President.

  2. Michael Hureaux said on December 2nd, 2007 at 6:18am #

    The biggest problem U.S. progressives have is that as a trend, the poltiical tendency is one which leans towards candidates who idealize the private sector. Most progressives see the major error of communism being that government ran business. But the major error of communism was not that the state ran business, the major error of communism was that the state ran wild. The concept of state intervention in business, however, is valid as it ever has been, since the state has always existed alongside the efforts of entrepreneurs. People in the United States, including “progressives”, believe that there was some idyllic form of capital that once existed without state intervention or protection, and this isn’t true. However, since the sacrosanct qualities of property are respected by the U.S. “left” , as it calls itself, the apologists for capital in the mainstream get the widest benefit of the doubt, and political strategies that openly advocate for the public sector and a rigorous defense of the public sector- or “civil service”, as C. Wright Mills liked to call it- aren’t taken as seriously. The key problem here is that most political factions that have an orientation toward the public sector default towards the various communist factions, because the “mainstream left” sells people down the river again and again with its ideals about capitalist politicians- Robert Kennedy being case in point- simply don’t hold water. This, more than anything else, is the reason for the numerous splits on the left. The “right” of the “left” will not pull it’s head out of its tochas. Until such time as there emerges a “left” which will, on the one hand, defend a growing public sector and advocate its democratic intrusion into every form of economic life, one run by and governed by the working class majority of the population-or, let’s say, that section of the population which labors from paycheck to paycheck- there will be no “left” worth talking about.

  3. Max Shields said on December 2nd, 2007 at 7:02am #

    Can we get some Green energy? WE need to make sure the Greens get a real candidate in there who can stand for new progressive (not old left) values.

    What other national party is demanding that Bush keep the CIA out of Venezuela?

  4. Shamrock said on December 2nd, 2007 at 7:26am #

    What is truly sad about Robert Kennedy’s endorsement of Hilary is that it plays into the worst of all political strategies. It is obvious that the Republicans are attacking Hilary with such vigor because they want her to be the Democratic candidate, and for good reason. First, she is the most hated candidate by the Republican voter base and therefore the most vulnerable to an alliance of voters more opposed to her election than in support of any Republican candidate. Secondly, her positions are the closest to that of the Republican leaders and her corporate donors are comfortable that she is sufficiently compromised and can be counted on to continue the status quo. For them, it is a win/win situation.

    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.

  5. cemmcs said on December 2nd, 2007 at 7:33am #

    Astonishing, isn’t it?

    I’ll probably vote Kucinich in the primary and when he loses, I’ll vote for a third party candidate in the general election.

    I just saw a poll which puts Bush’s approval rating at 36%. How could it be that high? I feel very discouraged.

  6. Marcelle Cendrars said on December 2nd, 2007 at 8:46am #

    To make distinctions between any of the major Dem candidates is a huge mistake. The differences are not worth noting, and the time and energy it takes to underscore the differences feeds into their agenda, keeping us busy, distracted with petty nonsense. Anyone shocked at Kennedy’s “turn” needs to do…a self-review. CEMMCS, above, takes a step in a healthy direction by encouraging…support of one’s conscience. Nevertheless, since the outcome –regardless of who wins– is highly unlikely to change what we all are most concerned with…I recommend that heartbeats be devoted elsewhere. Most of them, that is. Again, for those who are living in California, I urge readers to arrange a meeting with me. I have a plan…which I have been trying to share…which is slated to radically transform the parameters imposed on us at the voting booth. Loving best in solidarity, Marcelle

  7. COMarc said on December 2nd, 2007 at 9:20am #

    I hear Gomer Pyle’s voice in my head saying “Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!”

    Typical Dem. Talks nice. But when push-comes-to-shove, will support an awful pro-war, pro-corporate candidate because that candidate is the nominee of the pro-war, pro-corporate candidate.

    My local rep just did the same thing. DeGette(CO-1) is one of those Dems that tries to appeal to progressives by talking sometimes. In her case by occasionally talking like she opposes the Iraq war. But never really DOES anything about it. All talk, no action … then you see the true colors show through when she supports Hillary. Barf!

    The bottom line is that they are Dems. They’ve sworn allegiance to a pro-war party that supports a government of the corporation, by the corporation and for the corporation in exchange from lots of money from, surprise, corporations. That’s what the (D) after the name tells you. And the (D) after the name means that this sworn allegiance is more important to them than any of the BS that comes out of their mouths that sounds different from the Democratic party line. Its BS because when push-come-to-shove, they will support the party line.

  8. Max Shields said on December 2nd, 2007 at 10:52am #

    And US policies in Vietnam and continued gun boat diplomacy throught Southeast Asia and Africa and Latin America has all been about Zionism?

    Zionism is a symptom; and Lieberman is a perpetrator, but get the problem definition right because when the problem is ONLY Zionism we forgive all other imperialistic policies by conflating them with a fractional ideology.

    I agree with Frank that racism underscores all forms of imperialism. It enables the imperialist perpetrators to appease hate and massive atrocities in the name of “superiority”. It is at the core of all imperialism and particularly today’s US/Israel/Sarkozy.

    RFK, Jr. is only a disappointment for those who still think the Democratic party is salvagable (which is a big waste of energy lost in themyth of something that really never was).

  9. Joe said on December 2nd, 2007 at 11:09am #

    First…don’t sell my email…Second…why is anyone shocked that kennedy has spoken on behalf of clinton? Think about this……for anyone to be shocked about this is just as scary as any other aspect of our classist, backward, barbaric society?

  10. Lance Madrid said on December 2nd, 2007 at 2:10pm #

    Kennedy, Clinton, Bush….so very boring….followed by stark terror.

  11. Mario said on December 2nd, 2007 at 6:21pm #

    I was surprised when i heard about that commitment. I said to myself :
    He probably said these words when he felt dizzy, when something like a throath cutter got on his neck.
    It was a sharp one but, at this moment, he understood that cutter was different of the others in the past. It had a chilling particuliarity.
    You could smell a joint fragrance of Clinton and Cheney, with a Kissinger back taste.

  12. Myles Hoenig said on December 2nd, 2007 at 7:23pm #

    Making endorsements isn’t what it used to be.
    I don’t see why people are shocked at RFK’s endorsement of Clinton. Yes, he’s been progressive in the past and has said some correct things about the state of the 2-party system, but considering that he’s always been a Democrat, how more pure of an example of Democratic Party worthlessness/spinelessness/corporatism than Ms. Clinton? A Kennedy-Clinton match makes a lot of sense. Clinton represents the Democrat Party in so many unhealthy ways. If you’re going to sell out your ideals, then she’s the one who one should be backing.

  13. dan elliott said on December 2nd, 2007 at 8:34pm #

    Hey Marcelle? Well I for one find your rap interesting enough to hear more of it, & I’m also in CA although not sure if Sactomato really qualifies as a place:)

    Be not fooled by my impulsive scribblings in these “comment” boxes? I do have a clue, even though it may not always seem so. Frinstance,
    Cynthia McKinney finds me amusing enough to wonder if I’d be into Delegating for her at the GP convention, Fifth Dist of California, Incumbent Doris Matsui. Who has succeeded her late hubby & erstwhile Demo Whip Robt T. as Ms. Pelosi’s first-chair Rubber Stamp.

    The late Jimmy Smith’s first words to me were “You can play, man, but ain’t you outa breath? Hehe;)”

    So if you’d care to share your ideas in more depth, do send me an email, moc.picrnull@181.ser; I promise to respond, at least a few words depending on how interested I might be.

    BTW, I’m now a povertystruck senile citizen on the Oakland side of the Romance bit, so D-krepit that I”m all bidness period. Still play a lil bebop etc now/then but otherwise I’m trying to find a crack in the wall of Imperialism’s indifference, a pt of leverage from which to perform an Amazing Feat of Historical Aikido.

    With the help of the amazing Dr 63 Books/26 Languages Petras along with Jeff Quiet As Its Kept Blankfort. Plus the Christisons, Lenni Brenner and now this amazing too Grant Smith. “Foreign Agents”: turns out The Isreal Lobby not only violates International Law, the outfit been violating US law bigtime for decades. Not only is it a morally criminal enterprise, it is also an Illegal Enterprise according to the statutes on the books.
    Unfortunately the US Justice Dept is one their Holy Owned Subsiderarys, plus the House & Senate Judish Cmte’s is one they Clubhouses wear they git together t shoot the shit & th occasional A-rabb. But I disgress…

    Well I just got home from Paul Larudee’s talk about “breaking the siege of Gaza”. Strange event; I mean you gotta support the idea, but the cast of characters! All the way from Achmed Ben Bella’s pal Elias Rashmawi to Karen Bernal from the Deaniac section of PDA. Blows my mind everytime I see her: purty as a pickter & a diehard Tweedlecrat. Fergit weather she’s pushing Obama or Edwards, it’s one a them.

    So anything that increases Gazan capacity for “sumud”, steadfastness, keepen on keepen on, is all to the good. If it helps the Democratically Elected Gov’t to survive, that’s even better. The other aspect is that it puts these Liberal Zionists into the leadership of the Palestine Solidarity movement.

    But on every chair as people were coming in, they found a copy of the flier for the Dec 16 protest vs the annual Sactomato Aipacker Luncheon, verbatim as I laid it out, down to the color (salmon). So guess I shdn’t look a gift horse in the mouth. Said Priam:)

    In a nutshell, (no cracks) the name of the disease is Faith in the Myth of a Democratic Party. This isn’t “democracy”, it’s Manipulation.

    Needed: a vehickle for engagement in the Electoral Arena, that is totally & demonstrably not controlled by the ZPC or any other sector of the Ruling Class. Yes, we can “United Front” with all kinds of weird folks, Generals, oil barons, arms mfgrs (don’t lisp;) but first we gotta have a organized organization of a lot of people who see what the Game is. To have a basis to Coalition w/Outside Forces, we gotta be somewhat organized & effective ourselves. Starting w/ Yrs Truly, so lemme off here & start to TC some OB on the home front.


    PS: oh btw, the reason I say Electoral Arena: it’s about Power. Ability to direct the Security Forces.

  14. Deadbeat said on December 2nd, 2007 at 9:08pm #

    And US policies in Vietnam and continued gun boat diplomacy throught Southeast Asia and Africa and Latin America has all been about Zionism?

    Zionism is a symptom; and Lieberman is a perpetrator, but get the problem definition right because when the problem is ONLY Zionism we forgive all other imperialistic policies by conflating them with a fractional ideology.

    Zionism is not a “symptom”. Zionism is a RACIST ideology that for one reason or another the left REFUSED to CONFRONT. Clearly Zionism was not the pretext for Vietnam. However Israel was involved in running armaments to Central America in order to assist the Reagan Administration circumvention of the U.S. Congress in the 1980’s. Israel is involved in Africa especially against the Sudan. Finally the pretext for the war in Iraq was primarily to destroy an Israeli rival. The fact that the left is unwilling to confront this form of racism speaks the they unworthiness and inability to build solidarity among the groups most affected by ALL FORMS of racism and imperialism.

  15. Deadbeat said on December 2nd, 2007 at 9:15pm #

    I don’t see why RFK Jr. is a “disappointment”. His father spent a large part of his career smearing leftist as a member of HUAC. He was one of those liberals that was engaged in weakening the left into the sorry state that it is today.

  16. Deadbeat said on December 2nd, 2007 at 9:29pm #

    Can we get some Green energy? WE need to make sure the Greens get a real candidate in there who can stand for new progressive (not old left) values.What other national party is demanding that Bush keep the CIA out of Venezuela?

    The Green Party self-destructed in 2004. The GP needs to restructure their organizational structures. The GP was infiltrated by “demo-green”. Greens who did not want to challenge the Democratic Party and used their undemocratic “state-based” weighted vote tally to dilute the desires of the majority of Green Party members who wanted to mount a direct challenge. You have people like Medea Benjamin thwart the aspiration of many Greens who wanted to support Ralph Nader but instated mounted a campaign to put David Cobb on the ballot.

    The result was this “Anybody But Bush/Safe-State” mantra that was supported by so-called “left”; so-called “progressives” like Michael Albert, Howard Zinn, and Noam Chomsky. This split the anti-war movement who placed their hopes on war-monger John Kerry and the result was a loss of ballot lines for the Green Party.

    Another problem with the Green has been their lack of recruiting people of color into their ranks. Once again because the “left” (whites) are weak on confronting ALL FORMS OF RACISM (ie Zionism) they cannot possible be serious in building solidarity among people of color therefore the Green Party will not ever be taken seriously because their cannot seriously expand their ranks.

    Only when the left (whites) cease being cowardly on the seriousness of racism can they then be trusted and taken seriously to build solidarity.

  17. Max Shields said on December 3rd, 2007 at 11:09am #

    “The Green Party self-destructed in 2004.”

    Oh, really?

    “Another problem with the Green has been their lack of recruiting people of color into their ranks.”

    Oh, really?

    “Only when the left (whites) cease being cowardly on the seriousness of racism can they then be trusted and taken seriously to build solidarity.”

    You don’t say.

    Democracy it’s such a damn messy thing for some. It’s the damn zionist again. Jim Crow is a Zionist infiltration. Cynthia McKinney – who’s an African Amerian woman running for President on the Green party ticket – is a zionist infiltrator. This is a boring deadbeat narrative, the kind to take the US foreign policies and Israel’s policies off the hook in Goebbels style.

  18. gerald spezio said on December 3rd, 2007 at 4:31pm #

    That Goebbels!


    His technique has conquered the world including Israel.

  19. Michael Donnelly said on December 3rd, 2007 at 6:21pm #

    Ah, but Hillary won’t allow wind farms in view of the Hyannisport Club.

    Not only do folks swallow the Myth of the Democrats, they choke on a myth of a progressive Green Party. Stick a fork in the “Greens.” Cobb, Glick, Bobier et al.’s self-promotionalism killed it off, somewould say intentionally.

  20. Max Shields said on December 3rd, 2007 at 6:54pm #

    Michael Donnelly What say you start your only little party.

  21. Marcelle Cendrars said on December 3rd, 2007 at 11:42pm #

    I have something for both Michael Donnelly and Max Shields to chew on. If either one contacts me at moc.oohaynull@ardnecb, I’ll be happy to forward something worthwhile…relevant to what’s being addressed here. As you like, Marcelle Cendrars.

  22. gerald spezio said on December 4th, 2007 at 10:13am #

    What a current mess in Gaza!

    Murdered Palestinian people everywhere.

    What a narrative!

    And so current that it is really current as in NOW!

    No wind farms, but the divine Zionist wind everywhere.

  23. Hatuxka said on December 4th, 2007 at 5:23pm #

    We are seeing possibly the beginning of this Kennedy’s move into politics per se.