Chris Kennedy, a son of Robert F. Kennedy, who is currently the President of Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. in Chicago, deflated the hopes of many this week when he announced that he would not seek the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Roland Burris.
The reason: his family.
"I realize that I would rather be a good husband and a good father than a good Washington politician," Kennedy said in a statement. Kennedy is keeping in good fourth generation Kennedy tradition by flirting with the idea of running for office and then citing personal or family issues as reasons for not pulling the trigger.
In this decade alone there have been a half-dozen of these events, starting in 2001 when Kennedy's younger brother, Max, was touted as a possible candidate for Massachusetts' 9th Congressional district. The following year Kennedy's eldest brother, the former Massachusetts congressman Joseph Kennedy II, considered running for governor of Massachusetts but opted out, citing family issues (his name is currently being floated to take over the Senate seat of his uncle, Edward M. Kennedy).
In 2007 it was reported that Ted Kennedy Jr. was eying a Connecticut Congressional seat, but he never ended up running. That same year, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. made hints that he might run for the Senate from New York, the same seat his father once held, and the same seat his cousin Caroline recently sought. Kennedy's cousin Bobby Shriver is considering becoming a candidate in the 2010 California Attorney General election. And the list goes on.
In this decade it became clear that a famous last name is no longer a golden ticket. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Kennedy's older sister and eldest of the Kennedy clan's fourth generation, suffered a humiliating defeat for the Maryland Governorship when Marylanders elected their first Republican governor in 40 years. The very same year, Mark Kennedy Shriver was defeated in the Democratic primary for Maryland's 8th Congressional seat.
The fierce absoluteness of John, Bobby and Ted may never be lived up to by their kids, but the flirting remains, at least for now. And we should remember that although Chris Kennedy's coiffure impossibly reminds of his late father, his smile is all Skakel.