More on Joe Kennedy and Coakley-Brown


Tim Cavanaugh asks whether independent candidate Joe Kennedy (no relation to the Hyannisport Kennedys, or even George Kennedy!) should drop out of the big Senate race between Democrat Martha Coakley and Republican Scott Brown. While it's too late for that, this being election day and all, here's a great quote from Kennedy in a Foxnews.com story:

Kennedy said he knows his chances of winning are slim. But he hopes his candidacy will send a message to the major political parties.

"If I ruin your race, good," he said. "You'll put up a better candidate next time. I'm happy to drop out of any race for someone I can vote for."

Whole story here.

Kennedy's site is here. A former Democrat, he is registered as an independent and is running as one though he is a contributor to the Libertarian Party. The head of the Massachusetts LP claims he is running as an independent due to a "provision of state law," though it's not clear what that means.

NEXT: Reason.tv: Live From Boston, Coakley & Brown Supporters Sound Off

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  1. Who is Kennedy? Is he really a Libertarian? If he is, he shouldn’t drop out. There is a place for fringe parties and they shouldn’t be told to go home just because one party or the other doesn’t like it.

    If, however, he is a Democrat and a sham Libertarian candidate just running to help the Democrats, then he should drop out and certainly no one should vote for him.

    1. Agreed.

  2. Woohoo! Let’s kill the chances of an imperfect candidate to elect a far-left liberal Democrat for years.

    And then next time, when Republicans again nominate an imperfect candidate, we can do the same. And again and again. And then when we have a far-left majority and we’re sitting in socialism, we can get pissed at big government Republicans for not nominating candidates that agree with us on every single issue.

    And to think libertarians have become as marginalized and unsuccessful politically as they have.

    1. I heard this same song throughout most of the ’90s. Of course any libertarian who was stupid enough to fall for it got fucked in the ass (and didn’t even get a kiss afterward) when the Republicans took over in 2001.

      But it will be different this time, eh?

      1. I agree, Sandwich. First it was Bob Dole then GW Bush who were described as “the best hope for liberty in our lifetimes.” What a total load of crap, both times. How many times do people have to fall for the “electability” myth before they see it for the sham it is?

        My basic electoral strategy for the next several election cycles:

        1. Fire the incumbent.
        2. Do NOT reward the other big party with the seat; instead, whenever possible, vote for a third-party or independent candidate.

        Kennedy seems like a serious, articulate candidate, given what I can see from televised debate performance, media coverage, and his own website. He certainly agrees with me on the issues overwhelmingly more than does Coakley or Brown. If I were in MA, I’d seriously consider him and rule him out ONLY if I learned of something in his story or background that indicated he was unfit for service — as for example, if he were only in the race to spoil it, wasn’t a sincere libertarian, etc. We would probably know about such things already, if the media were doing its job and according Kennedy fair coverage.

      2. Do you really believe that libertarians would have been better served by a Gore administration?

        1. I find it hard to imagine that he could have been any worse. We see Obama doing a lot of stinky shit, but everything he has done Bush did before him.

        2. No. But the difference would merely have been a matter of details, at best.

          They both try to court us. They’re both lying. It’s really not any more complicated than that.

    2. And then when we have a far-left majority and we’re sitting in socialism, we can get pissed at big government Republicans for not nominating candidates that agree with us on every single issue.

      If you can see a difference between the Republicans and Democrats in federal government today then you have far more accute eyesight than I do. Maybe the Republicans could produce a candidate that is at least somewhat palatable to both conservatives and libertarians. Currently they are alienating both.

      1. I would rather live under a socialism I am not complicit in than a near-socialism that has my fingerprints on it or that I voted for.

        1. Best comment of the day. I couldn’t agree more.


        2. Exactly, especially when there is so little difference in practice in this country. I do not see any meaningful distinction between the Democrat and Republican agendas at the federal level. In comparing the Clinton years of 1993-2001 to the Bush years of 2001-2009 I would be very hard-pressed to figure out which one was socialism and which one was near-socialism. The difference between being sodomized with a bottle of Coke versus a bottle of Pepsi is not enough to give me a preference.

        3. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that politics isn’t the solution to politics.

        4. Thank you, Fluffy.

  3. And let’s be honest. Kennedy is running because he hopes people get confused and think he’s of the famous Kennedy family. I’m sure he has strong convictions. But he wouldn’t even make a news report in, say, Virginia or Florida.

    1. As he points out on his website, Kennedy is a very common name in MA. Would you suggest that he change his name to run for office?

  4. Politics is a losing game anyway. Moral people don’t vote on others’ rights.

    1. It’s about protecting rights, not inventing them.

  5. It’s not the libertarians that have raped and pillaged our whole concept of limited government. This particular race is a different matter, given that it could throw a major wrench in the Democrats’ current Socialism 2.0 plans, but as a general proposition, refusing to play ball with either variety of government expander is the appropriate position to take.

    1. Wait… so then what position are you taking?

      1. I’d vote for Brown because of the huge national implications. Normally, however, I’d vote LP or for the most libertarian candidate.

        1. I think I’m with you. God, I feel dirty though. Especially on the queer front…

          1. He’s only got three years, right? Plenty of time to seek a replacement. The odds of anyone remotely conservative holding that seat for long are remote. Which means he either does his time and moves on, or he morphs into GOP-Lite.

            1. I’d vote for Brown because of the huge national implications. See if you can get ACORN to register you a few dozen times and give Brown some real help.

        2. “I’d vote for Brown because of the huge national implications…” You mean the implications that the players in the two-party system will continue to drive us over the cliff as long as they and their cronies are safe?

          We can be fairly sure that Senator Kennedy would vote against the worst of the implications you fear. Can you say the same about Brown who, after all, supported RomneyCare?

          Vote for what you WANT, or you will only get it by accident.

          1. Uh… no we can’t?

            Kennedy is way, way dead.

            1. Uh, Kennedy is the Independent (Libertarian) candidate. We’re discussing Joe Kennedy, not the late Ted Kennedy.

          2. Brown’s the only chance to derail the healthcare bill. He’s the only possibility right now to weaken the Democrats’ power in the Senate. Voting any other way means the bill likely gets enacted and the arrogance in Congress (and in the White House) goes up one more notch.

            I’m all for gridlock, and that’s what I’m really advocating. What’s the end game here, after all? More liberty or less? How much more socializing can this economy take?

            1. You say that as if Kennedy wouldn’t vote against it…

              1. You say that as if he has any chance of getting above 10% of the vote.

                I continue to see both sides of the argument, because I continue to believe that libertarians are best off fighting on all fronts: trying to present an alternative to the two major parties, and also trying to do whatever possible to change outlooks within the two major parties as well.

                I don’t see the validity in abandoning either option.

                1. Come on, there’s no way the LP guy wins this race. I actually think a well-organized LP could have a chance to take some seats in Congress with all of the disenchantment with government these days (thank God), but I don’t think Kennedy is ready to actually win or to make a substantial splash. If he were a threat to get a third of the votes or more, I’d say vote for him–it would be enough to make the LP a major news item.

    2. Suppose the libertarians started getting some real votes. Let’s say they started getting twenty percent in some elections leaving the Republicans with thirty or thirty five percent. The Democrats would probably win a veto proof majority in both houses of Congress. And that would lead to anything but limited government. Whose fault would that be?

      The Libertarians could claim it was the Republicans fault for not respecting limited government. The Republicans could claim it was the Libertarians’ fault for not understanding social issues. And you know what? They would both be right.

      1. What makes you think Libertarians will only take votes from Republican candidates? In the article, Brown acknowledged his vote would be split 60/40 in favor of Coakley.

        “The funny thing about the Brown supporters, they’re so unbelievably clueless,” he said. “If I withdrew from the race today, my vote would be split 60-40 going to Coakley.”

        Libertarian candidates could eat up a lot of anti-war, anti-Patriot Act Dem votes. Not to mention, gay marriage marijuana and immigration.

        1. Correction:

          In the article, Brown Kennedy acknowledged his vote would be split 60/40 in favor of Coakley.

        2. I have a few friends in Massachusetts who voted for Kennedy over Brown and Coakley for those reasons. That’s only three people though.

        3. I have a few friends in Massachusetts who voted for Kennedy over Brown and Coakley for those reasons. That’s only three people though.

      2. @John – “…the Republicans could claim it was the Libertarians’ fault for not understanding social issues.”

        Please explain.

        1. John means that libertarians should be willing to completely cave on all social issues and let the fundafucks have their way in exchange for a 2% difference in the top marginal tax rate.

          1. Oh, I get it. Conservatives will only vote for candidates who betray them and cave in on their “values” when they get into office…

            It’s a shame libertarians are the only ones who expect more out of their elected officials.

            1. Actually, I think libertarians want less from their elected officials.

          2. If only everyone agreed with you Fluffy. If they would just shut up and get with the program, everything would be a ok.

      3. It would be the democrats fault…the country would collapse and we could finally start over…At least that is the only hope I can muster.

  6. Wow that makes pretty good sense to me. I like it.


    1. I loved you in Striptease, Dinty.

  7. Since this is a referundum on “National Health care” I want you all to go in that voting booth and write in Josef Mengele.

  8. “If I ruin your race, good,” he said. “You’ll put up a better candidate next time. I’m happy to drop out of any race for someone I can vote for.”

    It appears he’s in for a long haul.

    As for the “Support the imperfect republican” meme, the last time the libertarians did that, they got two wars, giant deficits, massive violations of civil liberties, and huge increases in government spending. (And it worked no better when the tried it with the Dems in 2008.)

    The “least worst” idea for libertarians means they get the wurst where it’s worst.

    1. The problems begin in the primaries. For some reason, the GOP went totally stupid and nominated Bush. To this day, I can’t figure out how that happened. He was, in a number of ways, as crappy on paper as Obama is, even though he had been a governor of a large state. Winning elections with weak candidates (weak in ability, that is) is a bad strategy for the long haul. Look at the damage that was done. Is being done.

      1. They nominated Bush because a lot of Republicans hated McCain’s guts.

        1. Yes, but the GOP had some decent candidates it could’ve pushed. Bush was a huge mistake, with repercussions we’re still feeling. Without Bush, there’d be no Obama. Likely not even a Democratic Congress.

          1. You don’t know that. Bush ran a very good campaign in 2000. I can’t think of any other Republicans who would have won in 2000. And if you get an Al Gore Presidency, God knows how things would have turned out. And further, even if you had a different President, the President wasn’t responsible for the corruption of the Republican Congress. Trent Lott and Dan Young and Jerry Lewis were just as or more responsible for the Dems taking Congress in 2006 as Bush was.

            1. Water under the bridge at this point.

              Though if the U.S. hadn’t intervened in WWI, we’d have flying cars, fusion reactors, and robot slaves by now.

              1. I oppose robot slavery unless it is a willing power exchange.

                1. Slavery is such a strong, emotionally charged word. Say, rather, “programmed into total obedience” instead.

            2. Al Gore beating GWB in 2000 would have been better than what we got. Hear me out.

              Gore wins, but has a GOP Congress to contend with so he gets none of his environmental plans through. Gore doesn’t go after Iraq so we are only dealing with Afghanistan. Gore has to be effective there so as to not look weak. His actions there determine his success in 2004. So, Gore loses to a Republican in 2004 or 2008. If he loses in 2004, that Republican president is an incumbent in 2008 and doesn’t lose to Barack Obama because Barack Obama probably doesn’t run against an incumbent. If Gore survives until 2008, a Republican wins the presidency because America isn’t likely to keep the same party in the White House longer than 16 years max.

              Basically, if Clinton had kept it in his pants, we wouldn’t be in this mess right now. Sure, we’d be in some sort of mess, but not this mess.

              1. Damn you, Monica Lewinsky! God damn you to hell!

              2. I don’t know about Iraq – Gore was running on a more interventionist platform than Bush. It’s likely Gore would have done it as well with a slightly different rationale to bolster his precieved foreign policy “thoughness” after 9/11.

                1. Gore would have been in Darfur instead of Iraq. But, given a Republican congress, Gore would have been better than Bush due to gridlock. Gore would have TRIED to do awful shite, but he would have been blocked.

                  Speaking of gridlock, there’s this race in MA today …

                  1. I love gridlock.

              3. Al Gore was more hawkish about Iraq than George Bush was. Go back and read what he said in 1998 before Dessert Fox. Al Gore would have done exactly the same things that Bush did after 9-11.

              4. Gore wanted to invade Iraq back in the 90’s, he only turned against it after it became unpopular. Also a GOP Congress wouldn’t be certain since the Dems would benefit from the post 9/11 jingoism in this case. We also can’t forget about heller going the other way or all the “for the childern” bullshit Tipper and Lieberman would have pushed through.

              5. I agree with you. It’s also rather unfortunate that people in this country are more concerned about lying under oath when it concerns an affair than reasons to start a war. Ridiculous.

                1. Screw ’em all. If people would listen to me and implement the Censor, we’d kick them out for any ethical transgression. Especially the ones concerning constitutional limits and oaths.

    2. People forget that the reason Al Franken is a US Senator is because Dean Barkley ran as an independent, taking votes away from Sen Coleman. Were it not for Barkley, there’d be no need to elect Scott Brown.

      1. You’re assuming that the people who voted for Barkley would largely have voted for Coleman if Barkley wasn’t there. They might not have voted, they might have voted for Franken. Short of asking each of these people who voted on confidential ballots, we can’t know for sure.

  9. This is another demonstration of the great service that third parties perform for the “major” parties: they serve as an excuse. “Gee, if the darn ____ party hadn’t stolen our votes, we woulda won.”

    1. Agree.

      To which the appropriate reply is “If you hadn’t sold us down the river, you would have kept our vote.”

      [Side note: Are you familiar with the Lensman series? When I look at your handle, I think “Enjoy Every Sandwich” > “E.E.S.” > “Edward Elmer Smith”]

      1. My handle is a quote from the late Warren Zevon; during his last year of life he was asked on a late-night show if he had any life advice based on his experiences, and he said “enjoy every sandwich”.

        1. Specifically, on the Letterman show. That moment is etched into my memory, much the same (but for different reasons) as the image of Jackson doing the Moonwalk on “Mowtown 25,” or even Armstrong doing the REAL moonwalk in 1969. Some moments are television milestones, and Zevon’s interview with Letterman was, for me at least, one of those.

          1. My memory of Zevon is from the Larry Saunders Show where he begged Rip Torn’s character to *not* play “Werewolves of London” and was assured that he wouldn’t have to play it.

            As soon as he got on stage, Larry asked him to play it. Zevon hung his head, muttered something and began playing that fucking song.

            1. Zevon played French Inhaler first; it was a beautiful thing. The same episode had John Ritter and Gene Siskel on. Cursed? You decide.

      2. Read “Triplanetary” by E. E. “Doc” Smith.

        And then die!

        1. Yeah, the series was pretty crappy literature, but I was only 13 at the time.

          Besides, Smith was one of the few early science fiction authors who portrayed aliens as something other than rapacious monsters or dopey sidekicks.

      3. I thought I was the only person who ever read those books. I absolutely love them. My dad has all first editions from when he was a kid that he gave me. They’re 100% wrong about science, but that’s a big part of why they’re so great. And it’s just a really fun story.

  10. (no relation to the Hyannisport Kennedys, or even George Kennedy!)

    What about Tom?

  11. The problems begin in the primaries. For some reason, the GOP went totally stupid and nominated Bush McCain.


    Couldn’t help myself.

    1. True enough. The nominees have been getting weaker and weaker over the years, that’s for sure.

  12. Without Bush, there’d be no Obama.

    I agree completely.

    1. Bush fucked Obama’s mother? I smell a scandal.

      1. Nah, everyone knows that.

      2. He only did it because she’s white.

      3. Nope. It was Colin Powell. But he was following Bush’s instructions because he was a “team player.”

  13. I live in Mass and some years ago another Kennedy-No-Relation ran for one one the lesser state-wide offices that serve as pension builders for part hacks. He beat out the hack whose “turn” it was ’cause the folks of the Commonwealth saw the name and assumed he was a “real” Kennedy.

    1. Has Joe P. Kennedy gone on television yet, to remind knee-jerk Kennedy voters that the current candidate “Joe Kennedy” is neither himself, nor any relation? I am hoping for a viral, immortal YouTube clip of Joe Kennedy urging people not to vote for Joe Kennedy.

    2. Which, of course, is a great reason to vote against the candidate.

    3. I was just thinking that if it were Florida, Kennedy would win, since about fifty perecent of the voters here seem to be suffering from Alzheimers and they would have completely forgotten that Teddy had died.

      1. Nah, wouldn’t work, because they’d be voting for Jack.

  14. An apt quotation from the Kennedy campaign:

    “Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.”
    –John Quincy Adams

  15. Perhaps this would be a good opportunity to argue for a preferential voting system rather than a first-past-the-post system….

  16. Funny ad by the side of this thread — about TRAFFIC gridlock.

    That AI is more AS — Artificial Stupidity.

    1. As opposed to “Natural” Stupidity? (Examples are far too numerous to list.)

  17. The Kennedy campaign should use Eddie Murphy’s strategy from “The Distinguished Gentleman”

    “Kennedy: The Name You Know.”

  18. Well, I’ll tell ya what. If I lived up there I would vote for Brown, but not because I believe any of the “pragmatism” smoke some of you are trying to blow up my ass. Face it: candidates from both “major” parties have less credibility than Mr. Haney.

    Naw, I’d do it for laughs. I think Mencken was right when he called American politics “a carnival of buncombe”. The only value left in it is whatever amusement it provides. So yeah, I’d vote for Brown and then run home to switch on MSNBC to laugh at the impotent rage on the faces of their talking heads.

    1. As good a reason as any.

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