In a recent column I theorized that the somewhat puzzling appeal of Barack Obama as a presidential candidate had to do with his admirers’ happy-headed fantasies of a return to something resembling the “Camelot” years of the JFK administration. I argued that Obama was being seen as a kind of 21st century, multicultural reincarnation of the youthful, handsome, charismatic JFK and reigniting people’s hopes for a brighter future for the nation and for mankind.

Well, lo and behold, and as if to officially confirm my thesis, JFK’s daughter, Caroline, has now come out with an endorsement of Obama in an op-ed piece in the New York Times entitled “A President Like My Father.”

Okay, I’m not going to crow too much about my incisive analysis since I was hardly the first to compare the appeal of Obama to the appeal of JFK. I did point out, however, that those comparisons were fully emotional and without substance. Caroline’s op-ed piece endorsing Obama provides no exception. It’s all touchy-feely, warm and fuzzy, impressionistic nonsense that can’t pass for substantive argument.

I don’t question the sincerity of the poor girl (er, excuse me, the 50-year-old woman; the image of her as the six-year-old child who lost her martyred father is immutably frozen in my mind), but it’s all just emotional longing for someone to come along and replace her father. Here are some excerpts from her piece:

“OVER the years, I’ve been deeply moved by the people who’ve told me they wished they could feel inspired and hopeful about America the way people did when my father was president. This sense is even more profound today. That is why I am supporting a presidential candidate in the Democratic primaries, Barack Obama.”

“My reasons are patriotic, political and personal, and the three are intertwined. All my life, people have told me that my father changed their lives, that they got involved in public service or politics because he asked them to. And the generation he inspired has passed that spirit on to its children. I meet young people who were born long after John F. Kennedy was president, yet who ask me how to live out his ideals.”

“There is a generation coming of age that is hopeful, hard-working, innovative and imaginative. But too many of them are also hopeless, defeated and disengaged. As parents, we have a responsibility to help our children to believe in themselves and in their power to shape their future. Senator Obama is inspiring my children, my parents’ grandchildren, with that sense of possibility.”

“I want a president who understands that his responsibility is to articulate a vision and encourage others to achieve it; who holds himself, and those around him, to the highest ethical standards; who appeals to the hopes of those who still believe in the American Dream, and those around the world who still believe in the American ideal; and who can lift our spirits, and make us believe again that our country needs every one of us to get involved.”

“I have never had a president who inspired me the way people tell me that my father inspired them. But for the first time, I believe I have found the man who could be that president — not just for me, but for a new generation of Americans.”

See what I mean? Call me a killjoy or even a dasher of dreams, but there’s just no “there” there, either in Caroline’s piece or in Obama himself. Yes, I’ve left many of the parts out, but it’s just more of the same: wishful thinking on the part of a very nice woman who lost her president father a long time ago.

I’ll even throw in one more bit of psychological analysis of Caroline’s endorsement. The fact that Obama is black makes him all the more appealing to her. Why? Because one of the things her father has been criticized for was not doing enough to help the cause of civil rights. It took his successor, LBJ, to stir the country, get the legislation passed and finally get the ramparts of segregation dismantled once and for all. I’m guessing it has always rankled Caroline that this gruff, slow-talking, fatally flawed Texan was able to accomplish something so significant that escaped her obviously superior father.

By the way, Senator Edward Kennedy, Caroline’s uncle, has jumped on the Obama bandwagon as well with his own endorsement of the charismatic, JFKesque candidate.

The absurd thing about these Kennedy endorsements is that by today’s standards JFK would almost certainly be a Republican, would likely be appalled at the politics of his brother and daughter, and would never personally cast a vote for someone as left-wing as Obama.

Greg Strange provides conservative commentary with plenty of acerbic wit on the people, politics, events and absurdities of our time. See more at his website: http://www.greg-strange.com/.

Be Sociable, Share!