In a city where opinions about the Kennedy family have been a jump ball for, like, ever, it’s no surprise that yesterday’s Boston dailies would deliver decidedly different remembrances of Robert F. Kennedy on the 50th anniversary of his murder in a Los Angeles hotel kitchen.
Let’s begin with this front-page piece in the Boston Sunday Globe by David Shribman, executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and former Boston Globe Washington bureau chief.
A voice stilled at 42, but still very much alive
RFK’s assassination made his mark in history forever a question of why might have been
For 12 weeks he traveled the country, up and down the coasts, to Indiana the day Martin Luther King Jr. was killed; to Nebraska, where he won a vital primary in a devoutly conservative state; to Oregon, where he suffered the first political loss by any member of his family; and then to California, where he vowed to go on to the Democratic convention “and let’s win there,’’ only to walk through a hotel kitchen where it all — the campaign against a long war, the campaign for a new sense of national purpose — tumbled to an end with an outstretched arm and spray of gunfire.
And then, for 50 years — a half-century of memories and myths — men and women of a certain age, and millions of Americans uncertain of what might have been, have disagreed about the meaning of Robert F. Kennedy’s life but have a curious, almost eerie, agreement about the meaning of that presidential campaign. Many he touched, and even some who were not moved by his insurgency against a sitting president of his own party, cursed his death at the time — and today almost inevitably employ a four-letter word to describe the meaning of his final years:
“He had a sense of hope for a better life for people of color,’’ said Antonia Hernandez, a former Edward M. Kennedy aide on Capitol Hill who now is president of the California Community Foundation.
Shribman’s piece is The Full Bobby, complete with four consecutive “hope” quotes and this declamation:
“In some ways, he and Malcolm X were bigger losses than John Kennedy and Martin Luther King, because Malcolm and Bobby were both evolving figures,’’ said Douglas D. Ross, assistant secretary of labor in the Clinton administration and author of “Robert F. Kennedy: Apostle of Change,’’ published shortly after the senator’s assassination. “Today he stands as the last person to put together minorities and white working-class voters. . . . Bobby was the only political figure who could create a different kind of coalition.’’
But . . .
Bobby was also a political figure who could create a different kind of . . . depiction.
Cue Boston Herald columnist and professional Kennedy hater Howie Carr.
Let’s not polish halo for St. Bobby just yet
Stand by for a torrent of slobbering stories about Robert F. Kennedy as the 50th anniversary of his assassination approaches Wednesday.
The main speaker at the official ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery will be Bill Clinton. I kid you not — Bill Clinton!
Look, of course it’s terrible that RFK was murdered at the age of 42, leaving behind all those kids and Ethel pregnant with the last of them. But since his passing, there’s been even more historical revisionism about Bobby than with almost any of the other liberal icons.
Drive liberals nuts grafs:
As attorney general in 1963, RFK authorized the FBI bugs on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. That’s why he lost the Oregon primary just before he was assassinated. Hoover dropped a dime on him, although of course Bobby had his reasons for signing off on that earlier FBI Spygate.
Hoover had just killed a Senate investigation into one of JFK’s favorite White House hookers, an alleged East German spy named Ellen Rometsch, and … well, one hand washes the other in the Deep State, then as now.
Despite all the millions of gallons of ink that have been spilled about his “growth” and “evolution” in the groovy Sixties, Bobby was indisputably a homophobe and an anti-Semite.
Pick your poison – or your person – yeah?