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“For the past six decades, Democrats have been mesmerized by the Kennedy style, like adult children searching for the forever-young father who left them before his time. The pressure for candidates to fit the Kennedy mold—in looks, style and political bearing—became so oppressive that the writer Garry Wills coined a term for it: “The Kennedy imprisonment.”
The generation of politicians that immediately followed John F. Kennedy—John Kerry, John Tunney and even Republicans like John Lindsay—tried so hard to emulate JFK that they enacted impersonations: fastening the top button of their suit jackets to flap in precisely the same patterns as his, chopping the air with their hands like he did, extending their necks to mimic his chin-in-the-air stance at the lectern. In more recent years, such candidates felt freer to adopt their own mannerisms but their political posture remained pure JFK: that of the young and earnest outsider, alone on the stage, a prince suffused in a golden aura of charisma.
Now, as the 2020 contenders emerge from the wings, the Kennedy ghost is alive again, mostly in the person of former Texas Rep. Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke. Unlike the JFK mannequins, he has chosen to ape the tousled Bobby variant of the Kennedy style, honed after Dallas, that of the surviving brother searching for meaning in a strange and violent world. He even shares Bobby Kennedy’s first two names. But the 46-year-old O’Rourke must compete with an even younger Kennedy clone—the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend (Ind.), Pete Buttigieg, who (naturally) won the JFK Library’s Profile in Courage essay contest in 2000 as a sweaty-palmed high school senior. A decade later, in 2015, he won the John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award from the Kennedy School at Harvard.”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"The likely successor to British Prime Minister Theresa May, Boris Johnson, has plans to subsume the government department overseeing development aid into the foreign office, effectively eliminating it. That will destroy a post-Brexit United..."
"Gerard Baker, editor-at-large at the Wall Street Journal (no reflexively anti-Trump publication) recently wrote a piece decrying Donald Trump and his foreign policy as a fount of erratic unpredictability. This essay will give the counter view...."
"On Wednesday, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar announced that she will be visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories in the coming weeks. Omar will be accompanied by Rep. Rashida Tlaib. The two freshman congresswomen have become a focal point of..."
"Netflix may have lost US subscribers for the first time since it began making its own shows, but that didn't stop the streaming giant from dropping new figures about how many people are sucked into its Adam Sandler vortex. (Spoiler: More than..."
"A few years ago, Amy Balliett, CEO of a Seattle-based design and marketing firm, noticed that as the work week slogged on, her employees’ energy and productivity wilted. “That would slump to such an extent that the same task on Monday would..."
"Over the last few days the #faceappchallenge has taken over social media. This “challenge” involves downloading a selfie-editing tool called FaceApp and using one of its filters to digitally age your face. You then post the photo of your wizened..."
"Although there are plenty of irrational aspects to life in modern America, few rival the odd fixation on lawns. Fertilizing, mowing, watering — these are all-American activities that, on their face, seem reasonable enough. But to spend hundreds..."
"Can a book change the way we think? I don’t mean that in the sense of a reader’s opinion or ideology shifting—of course the right literary work can do that. But can a book rewire the brain itself, literally changing the way one particular mind..."
"It’s our job to let kids know we see and hear them, but we’re not necessarily going to solve siblings’ conflicts for them (or else they never get the practice). When squabbles start, imagine you’re a sportscaster and describe what you see in..."
"Magali Trejo-Martinez, a 22-year-old living in Salem, Oregon, recently went on a date that was rather uninspiring. “I had dinner, had a couple margaritas, and then went home,” is how she recapped the evening. This outcome wasn’t entirely..."
"The first lunar landing was many things — a D-Day-like feat of planning and logistics, a testament to the power of man's will, an ostensible propaganda coup for NATO. It was also, I think, one of the most misunderstood events in the history of..."
"THE FIRST TIME Bernie Sanders ran for president, he didn’t talk much about being Jewish. In fact, he didn’t talk much about himself at all. His 2016 primary campaign, like his whole political career, was relentlessly focused on one topic: income..."