US Politics

RFK Jr's Clinton Endorsement Betrays Non-Partisan Goodwill

By Joel S. Hirschhorn
Published December 01, 2007

(Editor's note: this article is about US politics, a matter of interest for some, but not all, RTH readers. If you are not interested in US politics, the previous fifteen or so hammerblog entries focus on local issues.)

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has disappointed millions of liberals, progressives and environmentalists by endorsing Hillary Clinton.

He once said: "the Republicans are 95 percent corrupt and the Democrats are 75 percent corrupt." This has been widely quoted because of its honest assessment of the corrupt two-party system.

He has also pointed out:

While communism is the control of business by government, fascism is the control of government by business. ...The biggest threat to American democracy is corporate power. ...our most visionary political leaders have warned the American public against the domination of government by corporate power. That warning is missing in the national debate right now. Because so much corporate money is going into politics, the Democratic Party itself has dropped the ball. They just quash discussion about the corrosive impact of excessive corporate power on American democracy.

Though these statements were made some time ago, a few days ago on November 28 he talked about the impact of industry on environmental agencies: "It's been a revolving door of plunder."

Kennedy saved special scorn for "the negative and indolent press of this country," which he said has become controlled by corporate interests in the last 20 years. "Americans have become the best-entertained, least-informed people on earth," Kennedy said.

He also said five companies control 80 percent of newspapers and almost all radio, and those corporations are not in business to tell news thoroughly or fairly. "The only ideology they represent is their own pockets," Kennedy said. So his criticism of the corporate plutocracy seems as strong as ever.

Such honest views of the sad state of America have made Kennedy the darling of many people – independents, liberals, progressives and environmentalists.

But the news that this esteemed honest liberal has endorsed the candidacy of Hillary Clinton was startling. Now he says: "Hillary Clinton has the strength and experience to bring the war in Iraq to an end and reverse the potentially devastating effects of global warming. ...Hillary will inspire the real change America needs."

That Kennedy can see Hillary as an agent of change is a betrayal of all the good will that Kennedy has built up over many years.

Kennedy said he feels "very uncomfortable" about the amount of corporate money flowing into Clinton's campaign, "But I also think you can't come into this race with one arm tied behind your back."

How's that for convenient rationalization? There is no reason why any sane American should be very comfortable about the poisonous and corrupting amount of corporate money dumped into Clinton's campaign.

In examining media coverage of Kennedy's endorsement of Clinton, I could find no references to his earlier critical remarks of Democrats and the corporatist plutocracy. However, people commenting on the New York Times article often were aghast at his endorsement, noting that it would have made much more sense for him to endorse Obama or Edwards.

Bloggers, so far, have also not been critical of the Kennedy endorsement. The progressive community seems frozen by self-delusion and unwilling to criticize their adored Kennedy.

Here is my take: Hillary Clinton represents the worst of the Democratic contenders. She is totally committed to take all the corporate money she can get and pay whatever that eventually costs, should she become president. She really is a hawk when it comes to the Iraq war and even voted the wrong way recently when it comes to Iran.

She is incredibly dishonest and phony. The reason why there are millions of Hillary haters is that she inspires distrust.

A Hillary presidency would pursue corporate globalization and the terrible trade policies of her husband that has done so much to destroy America's middle class. Similarly, her views on universal health coverage do not seem focused on getting rid of all the insurance industry involvement.

Kennedy's endorsement of Hillary just shows how the status quo political establishment can rig the system to get what it wants. What has Bobby been promised? Head of the US EPA? Support for replacing Hillary in the Senate? Who knows? But his endorsement stinks and puts a big blemish on his credibility and reputation.

Joel S. Hirschhorn, Ph.D., is the author of Sprawl Kills - How Blandburbs Steal Your Time, Health, and Money. He can be reached through his website: Check out Joel's new book at


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By Humanist (anonymous) | Posted December 01, 2007 at 11:00:01

Wake up and smell the coffee. RFK is finally growing up. He is a rich kid who has ridden the rails of his family's name and reputation far enough. I have admired his plain talk and support of the right causes. But I have always been bemused by his naive misunderstanding of the realpolitiks of the world.
You can't go through life always wearing those rose-coloured glasses. As much as supporting the real alternative to the Bush agenda, RFK's endorsement is a signal that he wants to get involved in the mainstream of American politics. Watch him in 2012 or '16.
As for your author and his conspiracy theories about suburbs and radical views on businesses, RFK has just proven that if you want to make real change, you have to work within the system, not rail from the outside.
It's like the NDP, Liberals and Conservatives in Ontario and Canada. Everyone knows that the real change to society for the good (and sometimes for the not so good-witness Harper-comes from the mainstream parties. The NDP can rail all they want, they will always be on the fringes.
RFK is coming out of the cold, and I applaud that.

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By Ted Mitchell (registered) | Posted December 02, 2007 at 22:33:36

It looks like Hirschhorn is getting more focussed, good to see.

As for "real change to society for the good... from the mainstream parties", um, could I have just one example please?

I have not in my lifetime noticed any significant departure in Canada from the status quo in terms of doing good or reducing harm. Just a lot of dropping the ball on promises to that effect, or cheerleading incremental progress that is almost inevitable.

Show me one politician in recent memory who said "this may hurt some powerful interests but that's nothing compared to what it will accomplish positively" and got elected and carried it through. When we have a leader who tries it we vote for the status quo. So much low hanging fruit is rotting on the vine.

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By Humanist (anonymous) | Posted December 09, 2007 at 10:00:02

Dalton McGuinty with both the GreenBelt legislation; and the health tax. But I'll bet you still did not vote for him this last election.
I didn't either, but for different reasons. He showed courage in challenging the status quo around sprawl; and he challenged all of us in contributing more for health care AND paying for it. He was called a liar for doing what was right.

My issue was the candidate they chose to run in my riding wasn't to my liking. MMP would have made sense for me.

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