Profiles in Courage

Senator Barak Obama’s campaign for the presidency has earned the endorsement of The Fat Rich Kid and America’s Princess, Caroline Kennedy, whose major accomplishment in life – like that of her mother – appears to be limited to marrying a wealthy guy. Mrs. Schlossberg says:

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.

Sometimes it takes a while to recognize that someone has a special ability to get us to believe in ourselves, to tie that belief to our highest ideals and imagine that together we can do great things. In those rare moments, when such a person comes along, we need to put aside our plans and reach for what we know is possible.

We have that kind of opportunity with Senator Obama…

Now the comparisons between the two (lightweight senators with little policy experience and an addiction to bomfoggery) have been pointed out by others. Let me add one more.

Senator Obama, it has been pointed out, had an odd habit while an Illinois legislator, of ducking tough votes on issues like partial birth abortion, where the popularity of the measure among Democrats and his constituents may have diverged.

In 1954, the censure of Senator Joseph McCarthy came before the Senate. McCarthy was very popular among Kennedy’s Massachusetts constituents and Kennedy found it difficult to square this with his Democratic colleagues in the Senate. He joined the vote to establish a select committee to investigate McCarthy but said:

Many times I have voted with Senator McCarthy, for the full appropriation of funds for his committee, for his amendment to reduce our assistance to nations trading with Communists, and on other matters. I have not sought to end his investigations of Communist subversion, nor is the pending measure related either to the desirability or continuation of those investigations.

When the vote on McCarthy’s censure came up on December 2, 1954, Kennedy was the only Democrat who didn’t vote on the measure or, because he was in the hospital, acquire a pair. In short, he ducked the issue, saying to a friend:

You know, when I get downstairs I know exactly what’s going to happen. Those reporters are going to lean over my stretcher. There’s going to be about ninety-five faces bent over me with great concern, and every one of those guys is going to say, “Now, Senator, what about McCarthy?” Do you know what I’m going to do? I’m going to reach back for my back and I’m going to yell, “Owww,” and I’m going to pull the sheet over my head and hope we can get out of there.

Now all Senator Obama has to do is get an aide to ghost-write a Pulitzer Prize-winning book and the comparison will be complete.

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