Joseph P. Kennedy III. Alright, admit it. Before the Democrats State of the Union Response this name, other than the Kennedy part, probably didn’t send fireworks through your brain. However, it seems that this new Kennedy, a young energized thirty-seven-year-old with four years, yes four, practicing law and a congressional seat under his belt is the man the Democrats think might be their ticket out of the ideological rut they have fallen.
Now, you should appreciate the language I am using here. “Think,” in air quotes, is what the Democrats are doing right now. Kennedy, this 2018 version, could plow an exciting spin into the political climate Democrats face today. Unlike people who have previously delivered the democratic parties response to the State of the Union, this time around the Kennedy we see, he is called Joe, induces people to start feeling nostalgic about the powerhouse family of established politicians we have yet to forget about (more on this ‘nostalgia’ a little later). Yep, we are talking about the whole Kennedy family now. Kennedy is a silver lining for the Democrats and is like a cigarette to an addict that has been clean for decades, and just wants one last puff to rekindle that sense of their past hey-day.
But, given this platform, we can’t be so sweet and romantic about the situation either. Joe Kennedy III is not just Joe Kennedy III; he carries the weight and legacy of the Kennedy family who on the one hand, as above, has its height, but also garners deep strife. Many in the political world, after Kennedy delivered the Democratic response, have highlighted that given how the Clinton dynasty just shut its doors, America is not in the mood to rekindle relations with another elite family, just yet.
For the Democrats, this move seems risky, and yet it garners them with the strength to move beyond figureheads like Pelosi and Schumer who have made political workings with democrats seem impossible and often full of resentment and strife. It might be nice, for the first time in a long time, to bolster a figurehead like Joe with his distinct look and familiar Kennedy gaze, into the limelight for a younger and more negotiable approach to policy and politics.
Regarding what the Democrats have in store for Kennedy is yet to be seen. 2020 would be too soon to throw him into the presidential mix. However, they might, for the sake of wetting Kennedy’s palate do this, as he slowly begins to hunger, just as his ancestors did, for the highest office in the land. But, the one thing that is for sure is that the Democrats need a new face. Not one of the old wrinkly incumbents with immovable opinions but of innovation and perspective. Joe Kennedy III might not be all that the doctor would prescribe for the Democrats, but he sure is a good start, from an optical standpoint, for them.