Why Patches Quit
Consider this a sequel to my earlier rant from January 23rd: “Lessons To Learn From Martha Coakley's Loss.” and "Why Sarah Quit." As I'm beginning this rant, it's Saturday morning and I'm sitting here at my desk reading the news stories about Patrick Kennedy's announcement last night that he's not running for another term as Congressman from the state of Rhode Island. I'm sitting here almost in shock at the one thing most of these stories have in common...
From the AP story republished on The Huffington Post: "Kennedy did not give a reason for his decision, but he began the message by saying it had been a difficult few years for many people, then segued into the death of his father."
Totally guff. He didn't HAVE to give a reason because anyone who has been following politics in New England knows that his approval ratings are in the dirt, well below 50%. Were he to run it would have been an embarrassing loss for the Democrats, further tarnished the already damaged Kennedy name, and defeating the last living Kennedy would give the GOP an even sweeter win then the Scott Brown victory last month.
A poll last month by television station WPRI in Rhode Island indicated Patrick Kennedy could be in political trouble. In the Jan. 27-31 survey of 250 voters in Kennedy’s district, 35 percent said they would vote to re-elect him, while 59 percent said they would consider another candidate or that he should be replaced. The survey had a margin of error of 6 percentage points.
The short and obvious answer to the question posed with the title of this rant is simple - Patches didn't want to be the first of his clan to lose an election since people have had enough.
When the economy is going great and consumer spending is humming along to keeping the stock market and politicians happy, it's alright to have people in office to make fun of or rail against. It's actually kind of fun to have a punching bag to verbally abuse in print and spoken media. "Yep, the makers of mayhem The Kennedy Clan are at it again!" We roll our eyes and laugh. Shrugging our shoulders we go to the voting booth and chuckle - "Hey, whatcha going to do?" as many of us vote for another Kennedy once more.
It's not just the Kennedy's. Part of Bill Clinton's charm is that he was always getting into trouble for some of his laughable antics. That's ok, you can fool around with an intern or make some stupid gaff during a speech about a "surplus" that only exists thanks to a Dot.Com bubble that hadn't burst yet. We'll forgive you so long as the stock market keeps reaching new highs and my retirement fund keeps growing. Oh, and I can buy SUV's because gas is cheap and credit keeps flowing. That's fine, Bill... just keep us entertained.
When people aren't able to sleep at night because they are worried that they're going to lose everything they've built during the past few decades, misbehaving politicians aren't funny any more. The antics of a drunk silver-spoon congressman trying to drive up the capitol steps in his convertible Mustang 6 hours after that day's session closed just aren't that amusing. Getting into a fist fight with a bishop over theological views isn't just fodder an episode of "South Park" when your seeing the empty store fronts in your home town. Getting into a shoving match with Air Port security asking "don't you know who I am" because he was being inconvenienced isn't acceptable behavior any more when we're reminded of September 11th each time we board a jet.
When you look at what happened in Massachusetts and the election of Scott Brown, and you're a resident of a New England state that has a dynastic member of Congress - you start to wonder if enough is finally enough.
Say what ever you want about Patches Kennedy, but this dimwit is smart enough to know that if his destiny was left to the voters to decide, he would be sharing a bowl of choddah with Martha Coakley before fighting over the help wanted ads. Mr. Kennedy's announcement is exactly just like the press releases we all read from operations when CEO's or President's leave. He's leaving to follow his heart and pressure new opportunities: which is code for "I know I'm either going to be fired, or I already am. So I'm going to make is sound like I'm leaving on my own accord so everyone can save face."
Patches Kennedy faced the same dilemma his cousin Joe had to deal with over. Joseph Kennedy III was facing similar issues with personality disorders and public embarrassment over his annulled marriages the produced children and other narcissist behavior. Both these men quit rather then face the embarrassment that was inevitable if the remained and ran for another term. By a show of well manicured hands, who wants to be the first Kennedy to lose an election?
Patrick Kennedy's decision to leave politics isn't a Republican victory, it's an end to an American tragedy and embarrassment. This is also good news for Democrats who have a much better chance of keeping this seat so long as the party picks a candidate to run who actually knows what hard work and earning positions based on merit feels like... Just put out the shingle on the party headquarter doors - "Trust Fund Babies Need Not Apply."
What do you think of Patches leaving politics?