"Her timing speaks for itself," Alabama Congressman Artur Davis said of Hillary Clinton, after she apparently followed Barack Obama down to Selma last week. Clinton accepted her speaking engagement in the city shortly after Obama had publicized he would attend a commemoration of the Bloody Sunday march, and Davis argued this was her stunt to create a showdown of star-power.
But it didn't result in her favor. Even with the former president at her side, Clinton was outshined by Obama's great speech. So you'd think she would want to avoid being Obama's follow up act again anytime soon, but here she goes again.A few days ago, John F. Kennedy's speechwriter and other half Ted Sorensen endorsed Senator Obama at a fundraiser. In his remarks, he compared Obama's campaign to that of Kennedy in 1960.
They say he's too young, he's too inexperienced, his demographic is wrong to get elected. They've decided in Washington that he doesn't have a chance. But the campaign isn't going on in Washington. The campaign is going on in the grass roots.
And right on cue, there goes Hillary, invoking Kennedy to explain why she will be the next president.
Now, lots of public officials get compared to JFK. Clinton even noted in her autobiography how John Kennedy Jr. felt Bill Clinton's presidency was similar to that of his father's. But few have the fortitude to compare themselves to President Kennedy.A LexisNexis search of terms similar to "compared himself to John F. Kennedy" returns very few results. There is one of Al Gore in 2000 comparing his running mate Joe Lieberman -- not himself -- to the 35th president. But most of the results lead back to the mother of all Kennedy wannabes: Dan Quayle. This quote from the September 28, 1988 edition of the New York Times best captures Quayle's cockiness:
So quit with the comparison, Hillary, unless you want to remind us of Dan Quayle. And please, nobody wants that. Unless, of course, you're setting yourself up for one of the great sound bite smackdowns of our time.
Senator Quayle has compared himself to John F. Kennedy ("Jack Kennedy was about my age when he ran for president"), Winston Churchill ("Churchill was not a great student"), and Franklin D. Roosevelt ("F.D.R. failed the bar examination a number of times.")
Follow John R. Bohrer on Twitter: www.twitter.com/JRBwrites