Keller @ Large: Kennedy Name Not A Guarantee Of Success

BOSTON (CBS) – Just because someone’s last name is Kennedy and they’re from the famous family, isn’t necessarily a formula for political success.

We saw just a few years back, in the wake of Joe Moakley’s passing, another member of the Kennedy family flirting with a run and then packing it in when it became clear he didn’t have what it took.

This time around, I think there’s more to it.

WBZ-TV’s Jon Keller Is At Large

Joe Kennedy, my sources in the D.A’s office in Middlesex County tell me, had a good reputation there, was well-liked and hard working.

He served his country over in the Peace Corps, and while he’s quite young for a congressional candidate, we’ve seen that before, even sometimes people not named Kennedy have run at young ages and won.

I don’t think there’s any doubt that his name, his political resources make Joe Kennedy an early front-runner in this race.

But, early front-runners don’t always make it across the finish line.

He’ll have to prove it out in the street, in debates, in dealing with the media and that’s a task that not every Kennedy was necessarily was born to succeed at.

It will bear watching. It certainly has a great storyline to start off with.

But with that storyline and with that famous legacy comes a burden and a standard to live up to and a lot of expectations.

Will young Joe Kennedy meet those expectations?

We’re about to find out.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

More from Jon Keller
  • andyme

    Ya, why didn’t he volunteer his leadership skills in the military.

    • tsalnew

      andyme – I know a lot of fine people who were not in the military so don’t quite understand your point

    • gramps

      My concern is that he’ll bring out all the ‘old maid’ Kennedy voters…The ones with the velvet pictures of JFK right next to their pictures of Elvis on the living/dining room wall….&

      While in the booth they’ll ‘pull’ the lever for ole’ Lizzie too!


      • Pat

        Gramps, I can speak for my family – die hard irish boston democrats and I can honestly say my elderly mom didn’t vote democrat in the last couple elections(presidential). She doesn’t recognize the party any longer and will not vote Kennedy again. The veil has been lifted and after all the years of worship, she no longer does – neither do her siblings. And, we’re talking about a family that worshipped the Kennedy’s, have pictures of family with JFK.. etc….

  • Willow

    I think that as any candidate, we will see how he progresses and make our decisions from there. All should have to prove themselves, and I’m sure he will do his best to do just that.

  • Matt

    Jon- What do you mean He’ll have to prove it? This guy has already been given two backings with one of them a substantial one with the ALF-CIO even before he officially said he was running for office and before he has ever served a day in office. They know he will win because the idiots of this state will elect him in by a large marging simply because he is a Kennedy. This guy and his family have never had to do a days work in their lives and I only hope that we don’t get stuck with him for 40 years.

  • BostonIrish

    If it’s a Kennedy and it’s got anything to do with Massachusetts political office is there really any doubt? Seriously, Jon, this is one I think moot. Unless he has a Weiner moment between now and the election, there’s no way he loses. Look at how long Barney Frank got reelected, and Frank was constantly shooting himself in the foot.

  • decol

    Being born with a silver spoon in your mouth doesn’t automatically qualify you for Congress———DUH!

    • tsalnew

      Who said it did? And please tell that to the majority of politicians in Washington – BOTH sides of the aisle.

  • tsalnew

    Like anyone else – he’ll have to win the vote and he should be judged on his views alone. I do not get what it has to do with a name. I happened to like one of the Bush’s and tend to think Jeb has some really good points. Now, when it comes to Jr………………… What makes anyone, anywhere think that a person should not be judged on his/her own merits?

  • riggnn

    What legacy would that be? More taxing and spending by a liberal pol that gets re-elected time after time by a small district in MA? The LAST thing this country needs is another Kennedy in Washington.

  • tsalnew

    You know – I have heard many who have commented here diss the MA voter as uneducated and then go further to say you get what you vote for. I am not finding any clear list of Kennedy’s opinions on the issues and yet many have pushed him aside by name alone. Is that the type of vote you believe is educated? Just curious.

    Even more important – To the person who wrote the blog topic (if I use your name I believe my comment goes into review:), do you have any information on what he stands for on the issues? Does anyone?

    • BostonIrish

      tsal- With the exception of Ted Kennedy losing to Jimmy Carter in the 1980 presidential primary, the only Kennedy I’ve found that lost an election, or even a re-election, is Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. She ran for Governor of Maryland a while back. All Kennedys that ran for an office was elected, and re-elected until they left office by choice or death. This guy’s a shoo-in. The odds are stacked rather incredibly in his favor. Name recognition, in this case, is nearly impossible to deny..

      • tsalnew

        or, BostonIrish, people actually see someone they want in office. And I’d say you are discounting a president loss as if it’s minor.

        I have voted in MA for over 4 decades and in every election. I have never voted for a Kennedy. The reason was – as you know – my mom was one of the go-to people in this state and the town where we lived for any republican candidate who wanted to be in office. Ted Kennedy was a name you didn’t so much as whisper in my house I am ashamed to say that I lived by that rule. Sorry – have to pause here – to see if a lightning bolt is on its way down to strike me……..

        ok – I’m still here…..I learned much later that Ted had some tremendous accomplishments in this state and in this country. I also learned that judging by a name or a party affiliation is a fool’s error.

        If a Kennedy has not lost an election, then get on the stick and work against him for good reasons and not because you do not like his name. No one here seems to know one thing about what he stands for and has already judged him incompetent. Sorry – don’t get it. It’s what I did as a kid under the influence of a strong parent but not what I choose to do as an adult.

      • BostonIrish

        or, tsal, the column topic is about name recognition. I stated the facts with regard to their name recognition and the potential odds associated with that as a ringing endorsement of success in elections.

        Since I did not offer up any opinions of the Kennedy successes OR failures Or my voting record regarding the Kennedys I’d say your comment stating I am discounting a president loss as minor shows off your condescending arrogance nicely.

      • tsalnew

        I’m sorry BostonIrish – I inaccurately considered a presidential election to be a large loss that showed the Kennedy name does not always signify success. I am wondering how that apparent miscalculation paired with disagreeing with you by saying that the Kennedy’s may be in office because people actually agree with their politics as well as the fact that history in this state from my perspective (since of course it is my opinion I’m sharing just as you shared yours) shows there may also be a strong negative to the name is considered arrogant. Hmmmmm

      • Willow

        With so many, especially right here on this blog, disliking anything associated with the Kennedy name, it makes me wonder how another Kennedy could possibly get elected. However, as you said, there are so many who see the name Kennedy and run to the voting booth. Obviously, they outnumber voters against a Kennedy. I do hope that people will do their research first and vote for the best candidate, not just a name.

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  • massman

    I know only what I have read about Mr. Kennedy. I’m very impressed with his resume. He sounds like a real pioneer for the poor and those in need. I’d have to give him front runner billing based on name alone, but if he can debate and speak well, don’t be surprised to see another Kennedy in the Senate at some point.

    • tsalnew

      massman I am impressed with his resume also. I’m curious to learn more. I also like the other Joe Kennedy.

  • jaygee

    Times have changed and the Kennedy name isn’t what it used to be, even in Massachusetts. There will always be those who vote the name but today a certain level of competence must be proven. Wait, I could br wrong on that since Bush was elected twice. I won’t even mention the names of politicians in this state who somehow attained higher office and then wound up in jail. Any wonder that most politicians wind up much wealthier when they leave office.

  • Pat

    The issue that bothers me most is the media attention that this candidate gets (for free!) over the other candidates. All news media sites today are about this particular candidate – what about the others?? It’s like the US Sen. race. You’d never know there were other democratic candidates other than Warren. They (Kennedy’s) know how to use the media and they’ve done it with this one as well. He’s already got a leg up over the others. Don’t kid yourself, the Kennedy family is a political machine and it is going full speed for this guy. I prefer a more level playing field.

    • tsalnew

      But Pat – it isn’t up to the media – it’s up to the voters. If they do not do their due diligence so to speak, they only have themselves to blame. I’m not saying I don’t agree with you; however, it shouldn’t be that way. I think relying on media such as FOX and MSNBC are about as dangerous as it gets.

      I was chuckling (positively) when I read your comment about your mom. I wonder if the MA voters of old have simply lost faith in whatever party they supported back in the day. Before my mom died she was working with Joe Kennedy (not the third – have no idea the number) on a project. I never thought I’d see the day. Could it be that the old timers (said very affectionately) see far better than we younger generation that both parties are a far cry from what they were in their day? I know it’s not on topic but I couldn’t help thinking your mom and my mom seemed very passionate about their political views and yet did a complete about face.

  • jm

    I heard Kennedy’s education and work experience on your show, but when I went to the Scott Beilat’s website, I could not enter without fully disclosing my name, e-mail, and zip code, and of course a big donate button.Why can’t I look at his information without subjecting myself to a barage of unwanted e-mail and donation requests?

    • BostonIrish
    • tsalnew

      jm – the first page on any candidates page I’ve ever been to asks for a donation – what can you do?

      • tsalnew

        should have added that disclosing a name and other information is not typical – odd

  • sloopjohnB2

    Hey get with the program. This is a Kennedy’s seat don’t you know. He’s been anointed and will soon be crowned by all of the moonbats in this state.

  • Concerned for our country

    Hello, look at what state we live in. Another liberal will be voted in, and a kennedy for that matter. We are going down as the greatest country and
    no one cares.

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