September 2, 2009

Kennedy abandoned pursuit of presidency after '80 campaign? Not so

Among the revisionist myths aired after Ted Kennedy's death, one that comes around frequently -- that after Kennedy's disastrous run for president in 1980, he gave up his dream of restoring Camelot at the White House and focused on becoming a great legislator in the Senate. Two examples of why this isn't true --

First, from the "People" column of Time magazine, Feb. 2, 1981, of Ted and Joan Kennedy announcing plans to divorce. Note the timing of the announcement --
With the exception of Rose Kennedy, 90, who was informed early Wednesday, and a few intimates, no one expected the announcement they were to issue 24 hours after Ronald Reagan took office. ...
... Clearly with an eye toward the '84 campaign, with Kennedy wasting no time shedding what he perceived as baggage.

Even after Kennedy decided against challenging Reagan in 1984, speculation continued that he would seek the presidency a second time, in 1988, until Kennedy announced otherwise in December 1985. As reported by the Associated Press on Dec. 20 that year --
BOSTON -- Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's much heralded bid for the presidency ended before it began with the leading Democrat's surprise announcement that he will not be a candidate for the White House in 1988.

"I know that this decision means that I may never be president, but the pursuit of the presidency is not my life. Public service is," Kennedy said in an unusual, paid political announcement televised Thursday evening in his home state of Massachusetts. ...

No comments: