The Kennedys and Obama: Even in America,

the power of the family clan still holds sway.




Nachrichten, Switzerland

Obama's 'Noble Blow'


"What influence do the Kennedys, or in fact any family clan, have in the United States? Apparently, more than anyone would have thought possible in such an iconic democracy. The parallels to the rise of European feudalism are striking."


By Patrik Etschmayer


Translated By Ulf Behncke


January 28, 2008


Switzerland - Nachrichten - Original Article (German)

The triumphs of Barak Obama in his fight for the Democratic presidential nomination simply keep coming. First he inflicted a bitter defeat on Hillary Clinton in the South Carolina primary; and now he has received the official endorsement of the Kennedy clan, one of those families which epitomize political aristocracy in the United States.


The Clinton's were in the process of entering this elite group, to which the Bush family also belongs. For that, Hillary would have required the noble blow of Ted Kennedy, brother of the legendary John F. Kennedy and Senator of Massachusetts. At the very least, she would have needed him to keep out of the primaries. But things have turned out differently. When the election campaign turned uglier and certain remarks were made that could have been interpreted as racist, Kennedy seemed to increasingly side with Obama.


What tipped the scales was a column by John F. Kennedy’s daughter Caroline , who sees in Obama a potential president who, like her father, could inspire the nation and lead it to a new beginning.


In return, the Clintons pulled the support of another Kennedy out of the hat, the daughter of Robert, who too was murdered and was the designated successor of John F. Kennedy. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, with her support of Hillary Clinton, took sides against her uncle and cousin.


This raises questions: What influence do the Kennedys, or in fact any family clan, have in the United States? Apparently, more than anyone would have thought possible in such an iconic democracy. The parallels to the rise of European feudalism are striking.


Take for example, the Bush and Kennedy clans, both of which laid the foundation for their power in very murky business dealings during the first half of the last century. Joseph Kennedy , father of Ted, made his fortune with insider dealings and alcohol imports during the period of Prohibition, which included being tainted by contacts with the Mafia. Prescott Bush , father of former president George H.W. Bush and grandfather of incumbent George W., was implicated in the financing of the Nazi regime through one of the banks he managed.


But it seems that the money still doesn’t stink. The two clans bought their way into the highest offices of power with their wealth, accumulated robber-baron style, and meanwhile are now the power behind the throne. To be sure and to put it mildly, George W. has through his disastrous administration inflicted lasting damage on the reputation of the Bush clan, but their influence should nonetheless be secure. Another Bush will make an election attempt by 2012 at the very latest by 2012.


But for the moment, only the Kennedys are on everyone’s lips. But their "endorsement" of Obama is no one-way street. Should Obama become the candidate or even president, the Kennedys would have another close ally in the White house. And this one embodies many of the aspirations of the Kennedys, such as the end of racial segregation and the historical barriers it symbolizes.


But even if this support is grounded in idealism, it is surely thought-provoking that within democracies, clans and family ties, central elements of archaic tribal culture, still possess an eminent importance.






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[WM Posted Jan. 29, 1:49pm]

Barack Obama with the daughter of the late John F. Kennedy, Caroline Kennedy, at an Obama rally at American University, Jan. 28.

—C-SPAN VIDEO: Senator Edward Kennedy endorses Barack Obama, alongside Caroline Kennedym daughter of JFK, 00:44:15, Jan. 28 WindowsVideo

RealVideo[LATEST NEWSWIRE PHOTOS: Barack Obama and the Kennedys].

—BBC NEWS VIDEO: Barack Obama dubbed the new JFK by Senator Edward Kennedy, the former president's brother, 00:01:37, Jan. 28 WindowsVideo

An amazing photo: Hillary Clinton reaches out to Senator Edward Kennedy - on the day that he and his niece - JFK's daughter - gave their support to Barack Obama, who is seen turning away - before President Bush's State of the Union address, Jan. 28.

Evening the odds: Now will it be Bill and Hill vs. Ted and Obama?