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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
"With many other countries already studying the Asian playbook, the United States and Europe could benefit from doing the same."
"Trump's cursing is one of the most straightforward parts of his appeal... Trump is not the only politician whose profanity has stood him in good stead."
"‘If we get all of this because Netanyahu wants to make Trump happy, that’s fine with us,’ says local council rep in Golan Heights as plans ramp up for ‘new’ neighborhood honoring U.S. president..."
"...there is something worth paying attention to in this latest petition from fans keen to have a creative work made the way that they want it. The comments on the petition are instructive."
"The sunny job numbers and steady growth hide the fact that most people think the economy works only for people in power."
"Like many other Americans, I now wear AirPods all day at my desk to combat the awful tyranny of the open office. Since they don’t cancel noise, they provide me with writing music..."
"The logic of attributing mental states to nonhuman animals is complicated. We cannot use deductive inference, because there are no general rules..."
"As the canon of English literature slowly, gradually opens itself up to books by women and authors of color, Modern Library and Penguin Classics have just launched two new series..."
"Egalitarian couples assume their progressive ideology will carry the day. Sociologists know that it doesn’t.... sharing child care is associated with valuing gender equality..."
"Business Booms for Sephardic Food: Women are leading the way as small businesses bring traditional recipes to the commercial marketplace..."
"With most animal populations, the niches that encase the populations are of constant size. Animal societies growing in a given niche have dynamics neatly fitted by equations with a constant limit or ceiling."
"Now some 200,000 Jews live in Germany, a nation of 82 million people, and many are increasingly fearful.... 85 percent of respondents in Germany characterized anti-Semitism as a “very big” or “fairly big” problem..."