Kennedy Attacks the “Hillary Haters”

16 Dec

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. had a few choice words for “Hillary Haters” this week.

In a Dec. 12th article he blogged at The Huffington Post, RFK Jr. compared Clinton-bashing to the intense hatred many Americans felt towards President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1930s and `40s. He argued that this same “vast right wing conspiracy” is still alive and well in American politics and is now working overtime against the Clintons.

While the historical comparison of the Clintons and the Roosevelts is fascinating and Bobby certainly presents a very interesting argument in this piece, it seems that much of the Huffington Post’s membership wasn’t buying it. The comments section quickly exploded with reaction; at last count, over 700 HuffPo members have weighed in on the subject. Hint: Things really heat up on pg. 3)

The point many are making is: “I’m not a Hillary hater. I just hate the things she’s done.”

Before we simply dismiss this point of view as “hating” on Mrs. Clinton, perhaps we should remember that unlike the attacks on FDR, the ABH (Anyone But Hillary) alliance is composed of Democrats as well as Republicans. A sizeable number of Democrats at that.

To my mind, the key difference between HRC and FDR is that FDR was being fired upon by Conservatives, not Liberals. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, inspires tremendous distrust and division among members of her own party. This worries me.

To the Republicans she’s a “socialist” — to progressives, she’s “Bush Lite.” (Never was a woman so misunderstood, eh?) Many within her own party say she prefers the comfort of the fence to forging a bold New Frontier. Others believe she’s a corporate puppet deviod of principles, an empty pantsuit standing at the podium.

And as for the much-prized female vote in 2008, a large number of Democratic women say: “I’d love to see a woman president. But not this woman.”

With the Iowa Caucuses and the first primaries now only a few short weeks away and her poll numbers slipping, we shall soon see how all this plays out for Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail.

In his latest blog post, RFK Jr. feels confident that the tide will turn in Hillary’s favor because he’s seen her win over the dubious masses before. Just as with Roosevelt, he says, Hillary knows how to turn intense hatred into fervent support — and Kennedy still believes that she will.

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22 Responses to “Kennedy Attacks the “Hillary Haters””

  1. Noelle December 16, 2007 at 8:23 am #

    Dear Mr. Kennedy,

    I have always admired you. I have read your books, followed your career, have argued that you have been just as instrumental if not more so in taking on and bringing attention to the environment and exposing the Bush administrations crimes against it than even that of Al Gore. I have gone as far as sending letters to Senators Obama, Edwards and Biden, urging them to consider you for Attorney General if they should become the next President. You can not imagine my surprise to hear that you have not only backed Senator Clinton but have jumped on the “Hillary Haters” bandwagon. You Mr. Kennedy have broken my heart.

    Your comparison of Senator Clinton to either of the Roosevelts is puzzling. You claim and rightfully so that it was the countries “business elite”, Wallstreet and Corporate America that led the hate against Roosevelt but in the case of Senator Clinton it is not the “business elites” who oppose her, but the people. Her cozy relationships with big business, insurance companies and pharma IS the problem. She has voted with neo-cons and big business consistently, with the very people that “hated” Roosevelt and most likely your uncle as well.

    I can find no logic in your decision. Perhaps I am naive but when I hear the populist messages of Senators Edwards and Kucinich I hear President Roosevelt. When I hear Senator Obama’s vision of hope and optimism, his message of bringing us out the dark and secretive Bush/Cheney years and restoring an open government, I hear President Kennedy.

    Watching Senator Clinton for the last 7 years I see Nixon. We need a fresh start. No more secrets.

  2. John Doe December 16, 2007 at 8:26 am #

    Yeah, and you know what’s scary? Nixon won by a LANDSLIDE in `72.

    Just goes to show ya, if people are hungry enough for change, they’ll vote for damn near anybody.

  3. Chrisy December 16, 2007 at 9:56 am #

    I posted on Democratic underground on this story but I think it needs repeating here so I will post here as well.

    I read What Bobby said. I don’t think he was saying that anyone who didn’t support her in the primary who is a Democrat is a hater. He is not stupid and knows that this is a primary to hopefully pick out the best candidate. He chooses to support and help her win the nomination of our party. I think he would expect those who support someone else during this Primary season would be just as loyal to their candidate and not jump the band wagan yet.

    I think he is saying that once the General election comes that those Democrats who refuse to support and stand behind her in order to get a Democrat elected so that we have the power to take this country back are the haters.

    Listen I am a pro life Catholic Democrat. In years past I haven’t voted for a Pro life candidate because my Bishop has said that abortion is the murder of innocent life and I had a duty as a Catholic to stand up for life. This year because I see an moral imperitive I will be voting for the pro-choice Democrat because I see a bigger moral duty to. There will be some Cathoics who will judge me harshly and accuse me of being a sellout, but as I have told them, we must all pray and seek what God would have us do.

    Our Country is at a crossroad right now. We can’t not allow this nightmare of Bush’s to continue under another Republican.

    I think Bobby just wants us Democrats to think and not get so caught up in pitty differences that would cause some to stay home in the general if she is the nomiation. We need to get Democrats elected to Congress and the White House so that they have the numbers to take this country back for the people.

    Do I agree with everything Hilary stands for. NO, as I said I am a pro-life Cathoic an she is pro choice. That is a big issue for me. If I can overlook her not being pro life because of another moral imperitive that is more important for this election than other Democrats can do the same and rally behind who ever the Democratic Candidate is going to be in the General Election.
    For a Democrat to not do that is being a hater.

    It may be black and White, but I tend to be a black and white thinker. Bobby is right if in the General you who are a democrat won’t get behind whoever the candidate is because you don’t like Hilary and she is the one chosen than you are putting your personal dislike of her over what is best for the country.

    Bobby, this may not have been what you ment to say but this is how I understood what you wrote. I thought it was a good piece and really made me think.

  4. Michael December 16, 2007 at 6:36 pm #

    About the only similarity I see between the Clintons and the Roosevelts is that old sense of elite entitlement and flat-out RUTHLESSNESS.

    After the latest shenanigans Clinton has pulled on the campaign trail (planting questions in the debates, spreading below-the-belt drug rumors about Obama..I mean, puhleeze!), she is showing her true colors. The claws beneath her velvet glove are starting to poke through.

    The clintons will do anything to regain their hold on the reins of power. And they’ll use anyone they can to get there. I just hope that Bobby takes whatever promises they make him in return for his support with a few thousand grains of salt.

    I mean, if we’re going to look back at the Roosevelts as a lesson from history, perhaps it would serve Bobby well to remember how poorly FDR treated his grandfather once upon a time…and how Eleanor Roosevelt did everything she could to stop his uncle Jack from winning the Democratic nomination in 1960. There’s a lesson to be learned there…and errors of judgement not to be repeated.

  5. OldTimer December 16, 2007 at 6:46 pm #

    I was born in 1927 and as someone who lived through the Roosevelt and Clinton administrations, I think Bobby’s latst column is way off base in making this comparison.

    I have firsthand memories of his grandfather Joseph P. Kennedy during his time as Ambassador to Great Britain, and I remember how he took issue with FDR on America entering WWII. It was quite shocking at the time to have a man who was always one of FDR’s greatest supporters part ways with a sitting president whom he was officially serving at that critical time.

    Bobby also asserts in his Huffington Post column that FDR won four landslides…well, not exactly. He certainly did in 1932 and `36, but 1940 was another story. Getting America into the war was such a divisive issue that year, that FDR won with his slimmest margin of victory ever in the popular vote. Barely 10% over Wilkie. In the electoral college, FDR won by a landslide margin, but the popular vote…not so much.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m a lifelong dyed-in-the-wool Democrat, and I’m not a Roosevelt hater. But I agreed more with Ambassador Kennedy that America had no business fighting in WWII. Maybe I’m just biased because my older brother was killed in that war. (As I recall, the Kennedys lost a beloved member of their family in WWII as well.)

    I admire Bobby Jr. a great deal, but someone should gently remind him that his grandfather was once part of the crowd which had no use for Franklin Roosevelt – and the feeling was apparently mutual.

    I also hope the Clintons have more regard for Kennedy than the Roosevelts had for his grandfather. But like the poster above said, they’ll probably just use him up and spit him out.

  6. VSam December 18, 2007 at 12:33 am #

    Mr. Kennedy although I admire your late uncle and late dad, I’m taken aback by your support of one Hillary Clinton. She, like Bill Richardson and Joe Biden and Chris Dodd are among those who are the least inspiring candidates vieing for office. While they do possess experience, they represent the type of Washingtonian ties which are part of the mailiase that has come to characterize ‘America’s’ inability to change the process which strangles ‘new ideas.’

    As much as we can critically wish for America to be a better place, we must at the same time ask: If those who are awashed with ‘Washington ties’ are amoung those who can bring change to their friends and colleagues who enjoy the privileges of tenure? If the goal of the DLC and the greater democratic party is, so seared with the fear of losing again, that its main objective is to win; that it defaults to Bill Clinton and friends, by its bargaining that better to offer up Hillary than to dream and reach for new blood; then, maybe we’re reaching much too low.

    The genius of the once great Democratic party was its ability to give rise to believers who spoke of a better nation, yet seen and yet done, and strived to lead us there.

    Hillary isn’t such person and she is not likely to lead us anew when she speaks of her strength which comes from the ’90s. She is merely replacing the ‘old’ guardians of the republicans with the ‘old’ guardians of the democrats.

    We can do better for America, but first we must begin a journey to believe we can and be willing if necessary to sacrifice ‘the known’ for the unknown. This, we owe to our children and the future of our once great nation, for it can be great again, when we the collective choose to dream—again.

  7. JustWondering December 18, 2007 at 12:42 am #

    In his HuffPo piece, Bobby wrote about how Hillary gave him a “playful wink” when she talked about her favorite political pin which said, “I don’t like Eleanor either.” Cute.

    But waay too cute…and deceiving. Because anyone who listened to his interview with clinton on ROF this weekend heard that every single quote used in his HuffPo article was taken directly from that interview, which was conducted OVER THE PHONE.

    So Bobby, I’m just wondering…how can you see Senator clinton giving you a “playful wink” on the telephone?

  8. HoldYerNoseAndVOTE! December 18, 2007 at 12:55 am #

    You know, it’s not so much that we hate Hillary, really.

    Besides the fact that the right considers her the anti-christ and will no doubt be using that spin throughout the election cycle, Progressive Democrats simply don’t see her as the candidate most in tune with our values.

    We don’t like her ties to big business, the insurance industry, the defense industry, her support of NAFTA, her comments about Iran while ignoring Saudi Arabia, really, it’s nothing personal, we just think there are better candidates out there.

    However, should Ms. Clinton gain the nomination and be running against some Neocon who wants to promote a unitary executive, you may be assured of our full and unfettered support. We simply wish, as intelligent Americans, that we were left with a better choice.

  9. HoldYerNoseAndVOTE! December 18, 2007 at 12:56 am #

    You know, it’s not so much that we hate Hillary, really.

    Besides the fact that the right considers her the anti-christ and will no doubt be using that spin throughout the election cycle, Progressive Democrats simply don’t see her as the candidate most in tune with our values.

    We don’t like her ties to big business, the insurance industry, the defense industry, her support of NAFTA, her comments about Iran while ignoring Saudi Arabia, really, it’s nothing personal, we just think there are better candidates out there.

    However, should Ms. Clinton gain the nomination and be running against some Neocon who wants to promote a unitary executive, you may be assured of our full and unfettered support. We simply wish, as intelligent Americans, that we were left with a better choice.

  10. Disappointed December 18, 2007 at 1:24 am #

    When you desperately need another FDR and an Eleanor to replace Hoover, you do not elect Mrs. Coolidge.

    The Clintons have a clear track record showing that they are much more like Harding and Coolidge than the Roosevelts.

    This comparison is very slimy and misleading propaganda. I am disappointed in Kennedy.

  11. Nell December 18, 2007 at 1:29 am #

    I think Bobby’s HuffPo article makes a lot of assumptions that are not true. First of all, “Hillary-haters” are not people engaged in a serious dialogue about politics. They’re the people who root for a party or a candidate with a “football team” mentatlity. Or they’re ideologues who feel threatened by an effective opponent and need to use vitriol as a means to sway public opinion.

    Progressives who object to Hillary Clinton are doing so based on her record, her inconsistencies, and her political philosophy, which is not progressive. Her health care plan, for example, is not single payer, universal. It keeps the insurance companies in the game, and they are the problem. This is not a progressive solution to the health care issue. Let’s not assume that people who object to Hillary on policy grounds are “haters.”

    Second, the article assumes that Hillary is the best candidate for the Democratic nomination. I simply disagree with this assumption, and so do many responsible voters. We have a strong roster of candidates, some with many years of experience, some with vision, some with detailed plans. I personally do not see Clinton as the strongest in this field. I would chose Edwards, Obama, Biden, and Dodd before Hillary.

    And the third assumption, which I find most troubling, is that Hillary Clinton supporters somehow need a group hug—while the rest of us can just hang out there in the wind. As a fan of RFK Jr, I’m a little supprised by this post. And more than a little put off, with all due respect.

  12. IchBinEinBerliner December 18, 2007 at 1:35 am #

    Have you considered Bobby that there are a lot of Americans who hate the corporatism that has enveloped the political sphere in Washington DC. This has pushed representation of the people into the ditch. And that Hillary represents it as does Bill with passing NAFTA. Soon there will the Peru FTA and God knows whatever abomination of economic policy these blood sucking ticks in washington will do.

    May I remind you of the obligation of Congress to regulate commerce and trade in Article 1, Section 8 of the US constitution…not free it to run roughshod over the American workers.

    Have you even considered this? It is the precise reason why I have zero affinity toward Hillary.

    The comparison to FDR is totally ridiculous Bobby, I really thought you could see more clearly than that and am disappointed because I truly love most of what you write.

  13. Lisette December 18, 2007 at 3:07 am #

    Bobby Jr.

    If you like Hillary then you vote for her but don’t try to push her down our throats.

    The only correct opinion in your article is that people did not like Roosevelt and people don’t like Hillary.

    America does not want a political dynasty in the White House.

    And, Roosevelt should not have been elected that many times. I think he was already dead that last time.

    He let the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor and kill all those people. So the American people were right weren’t they? He tricked us into a war, just like Bush.

    I really don’t know what you are trying to say except Hillary is just as awful as FDR!!??

    Lisette

  14. Jenn December 18, 2007 at 8:45 am #

    Yes there are lots of people who hate Hillary, but using that to make a case for her, and her politics is neither valid or useful. Nor does it in any way give her credibility as a leader.

    Why would I vote for someone just because people hate her?

    Frankly, Hillary is loosing because she’s running a lousy campaign. She doesn’t have any new ideas of her own, and she seems to be trying to ride on her husbands back into The White house. That’s not going to work.

    The American public want and end to this war, they want an end to the rape of the middle class by the corporations, and a restoration of the rule of Law in the executive branch.

    From where I sit it looks like Hillary is more concerned about posturing than taking a real stand.

  15. Dan December 18, 2007 at 8:48 am #

    Mr. Kennedy:

    While I certainly admire your successes in environmental advocacy, I cannot say that I was impressed by your comparison of Hillary Clinton’s politics to any of the Roosevelts. Hillary Clinton is no Teddy or Eleanor Roosevelt. She simply hasn’t either the progressive vision or the motivation to utilize that of others. You might make a case for comparisons to Franklin Delano personally, but even that would be a stretch.

    Had you directed your comments to those on a right wing website and restricted them to irrational hatred per se as regards the Clinton’s, using the Roosevelts as an example, I could see that. To accuse most of us of such a thing is to assume that we cannot rationally and unemotionally evaluate that which we see every day for ourselves…and you cannot have meant to send that message. Or, at least, I certainly hope that that is not the low opinion in which you hold your readership.

    In future, I would genuinely appreciate not being so thoughtlessly compared to George Bush’s twenty eight per-centers. I know why I am not enthused by the idea of a Hillary Clinton Presidency and it has nothing to do with blind hate.

  16. Clark Griswold December 18, 2007 at 9:11 am #

    A little off-topic, but FDR was hardly a hero if you had slanted eyes. Of if you were waiting on a train platform to board your boxcar to Auschwitz. Goes to show how even a hero has blemishes. (Lincoln and habeas corpus comes to mind.) The question with HRC is how many of her known missteps such as the patriot act are tolerable compared to the good she might do.

  17. Marcia December 18, 2007 at 9:24 am #

    Oh, come off it, Bobby. These Democrats of today have nothing in common with the Roosevelts or even JFK, RFK Sr…. I wish they did, but they are weak, complicit, and corrupt to the bone. The only one in the Democratic field with half the integrity of a Truman or a Roosevelt is Mike Gravel, but, oh yeah, he’s despised for even running, and ruining everyone’s play-acting.

    It’s when people start telling me it’s my duty to vote Democrat that I really start hating this party, that refuses to stand for what it claims to, and then disparages me when I leave it behind.

    Bottom line: the Dems stop the hypocrisy, people start voting Democrat again, like they did in 2006, but sure enough Harry “Gomer Pyle” Reid and Company bungled it like we all knew they would.

    Give me a break.

  18. CriticalThinker December 18, 2007 at 9:37 am #

    Wow, I never knew this endorsement thing could get worse than it already was for RFK jr. …i’ve probably read hundreds of comments on news sites and blogs across the internet by now on his endorsement of clinton, and the response has been like about 80-90% opposed.

    And it seems like everytime he opens his mouth lately or tries to defend his choice, he only digs himself in deeper.

    It’s clear as day to me that RFK jr. has made a HUGE mistake. I just hope he corrects it before every last supporter of his throws in the towel and walks away in disgust.

    I also hope he stops taking advice on how to manage his political career from Teddy. no disrespect to senator kennedy, but lets face it, he’s too old to have his finger on the pulse of what’s really happening. and he’s been in Washington too long to see the forest for the trees.

  19. Why Didn't You Run? December 18, 2007 at 9:57 am #

    Jeez, if Bobby’s going to take this many slings and arrows, HE might as well be the one running for president instead of Hillary.

    Actually I think that’s how this whole shitstorm could have been avoided. do you really think his supporters would be attacking him now if he had decided to run instead of endorsing Senator clinton (of all people?) no, it would be “hail, the conquering hero comes!”

    Not to mention the fact that he would have beat the pantsuit off of her in the primaries. He would have easily won the nomination. And he would put the smackdown on the repubs next november.

    So Bobby’s not running, al gore’s not running,….all of the PEOPLE’S CHOICE candidates who had the BEST chance of winning have proven themselves cowards by refusing to stand up and run, instead choosing to play follow-the-leader or worse, are walking on eggshells…..too afraid to take any position at all.

    this speaks to a concealed disrespect for the people who had faith enough to try and draft them. when the call came to serve their country and the people in 2008, RFK Jr. and gore were AWOL and we will not forget this if/when they seek political office in the future.

  20. DazedAndConfused December 18, 2007 at 11:06 am #

    Is this the same Bobby Kennedy who just 5 short months ago said these words at the live earth concert?:

    “The most important thing you can do is to get involved in the political process and get rid of all of these rotten politicians that we have in Washington D.C. who are nothing more than corporate toadies for companies like Exxon and Southern Company, these villainous companies that consistently put their private financial interest ahead of American interest and ahead of the interest of all of humanity. This is treason and we need to start treating them now as traitors!”

    does anybody else here remember how people stood up and cheered him for having the courage to say this? remember how proud we all were of him that day?

    ok, now compare that to the response his recent endorsement of sen. hillary clinton got. rotten tomatoes!

    how can the guy who said those words about “getting rid of all those rotten politicans” at live earth turn around and endorse the most corporate democratic candidate of them all? clinton is the penultimate corporate toadie.

    he need not wonder why his supporters feel betrayed. comparing his words with his recent actions, they don’t match up at all. a lot of us wonder now if anything he ever said was truly from his heart. i have been a rfk jr. fan for years, but even i don’t know what to believe about him anymore.

  21. Joseph Waller December 18, 2007 at 11:14 am #

    Bobby, I voted for your uncle Jack in 1960 and volunteered for your father in the 1968 primary. I have supported the Kennedy family for years in all they do. But I will not vote for Hillary in 2008, and I will not vote for *you* if you run in the future. Seeing you join this gang of thieves is just more than I can bear.

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  1. The Political News You Need to Know - December 17, 2007

    Great post! Added it to our blog as well.

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