Rep. Joe Kennedy And His Critics

Arlington National Cemetery Hosts Remembrance Honoring the Life & Legacy of Robert F. Kennedy

(Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for RFK Human Rights)

Opinion editorial by WBZ NewsRadio political analyst Jon Keller

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — If Congressman Joe Kennedy runs for the US Senate seat currently held by Ed Markey, Massachusetts voters who don’t already know Kennedy are going to get an eyeful.

But will they like what they see?

The early reaction to Kennedy’s potential run seems to break down into two camps.

Markey supporters are, understandably, angry and demanding to know what grounds Kennedy has for replacing their man. And the incumbent is feverishly rolling out establishment endorsements to make that point.

Meanwhile, other Kennedy skeptics are accusing young Joe of being an empty suit who’s just trading on the family name. 

And another challenger, author and abuse survivor Steve Pemberton, suggests that if the “torch does get passed to a new generation” (get the reference to the famous JFK Inaugural address?) it should be to someone with “lived experiences” of deprivation and struggle, like Pemberton’s.

I don’t know if Kennedy will run or be a good candidate if he does. 

But I do know the critics are missing the mark.

At his press conference yesterday, Kennedy talked about a need for “new ideas and a new approach.” 

Markey’s endorsements set up just the contrast he wants.

And while Kennedy steered clear of policy specifics, the fact is he’s put plenty of those on the record already, most notably a recent pitch for “moral capitalism” that includes plenty of interesting ideas.

Kennedy’s doubters think he’s a callow clone cashing in on the family name. 

They may be about to learn otherwise.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday mornings at :55 minutes past the hour. Listen to his previous podcasts on iHeartRadio.

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Keller @ Large

Keller @ Large

Jon Keller is a WBZ TV & Radio political analyst. Read more

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