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Camelot Revisited

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Teddy Kennedy's speech last night, Caroline's introduction recalling her father's presidency, and Michelle Obama's statement about equal opportunity and the American Ascendancy of the working class are so reminiscent of the Camelot era. Even Sasha asking the shirt-sleeved candidate "where are you today, daddy," reminded us of JFK and the Kennedy clan.

I covered the Kennedy for President campaign in 1980 and the convention in New York that year. He ran and lost the nomination against Jimmy Carter. The parallels to this year's Democratic campaign are striking. In fact, the Hillary-ites protesting the nomination of Barack Obama and staging floor fights is reminiscent of what happened when I was a reporter for an Iowan daily newspaper. Union delegates staged a walk-out off the Madison Square Garden convention floor to protest the Carter nomination. While Kennedy was conciliatory (like Hillary), there was a palpable resentment. Past is prologue.

Back to Camelot. Michelle is a highly educated but equally well "turned out" version of Jackie O. Even the green suit and collared dress reminded us of former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Her call to action for the party, Michelle having the poise and grace to talk about "why Obama" and ability to make the party feel good about itself helped heal the rifts.

We'll leave other journals like GQ and style publications to talk about the swagger of Barack Obama and the movement politics he has generation. Kennedy the elder brother did not have the Internet but did create a similar grassroots movement. Obama faces an unpopular war, a flagging economy, and a dangerous world even evoking the Russian threat (Cuba then, Georgia now). The world has changed in almost 50 years (even 25 since the Edward M. Kennedy presidential effort. But some things remain the same.

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