Patrick Kennedy, the 42-year-old son of Ted Kennedy and a congressman
since 1995, has announced he will retire from office. He began as a
rising star, winning a seat in the Rhode Island legislature at age 21,
but was later troubled by alcohol and depression. Patrick Kennedy's
departure at the end of his current term will mark the first time
in decades that no member of the Kennedy family is serving in Congress. Here, pundits look
back on Patrick Kennedy's legacy as politician of 21 years and as
perhaps the last congressman of the Kennedy dynasty. Immediately below,
Kennedy's time in Congress was decidedly uneven. He was rumored to be
planning a Senate bid in 2000 but decided against running. He was
tasked with chairing the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in
that same cycle with expectations within the party that they would
seize back control of the House. It didn't happen.
After his stint at
the DCCC, Kennedy took on a far less high-profile role in Congress --
emerging only infrequently and not always in the best light. In the
spring of 2006 Kennedy crashed his car into a police barricade near
Capitol Hill; he entered rehab for addiction and depression days later.
Over the summer, Kennedy admitted himself to a rehabilitation facility
In Politics For His Father ABC News's Rick Klein suggests Patrick may have joined in the family's political tradition for the benefit of his father Teddy, with whom he was close. "[A]lways got the sense that he was in the biz more for his dad's sake than for his own," he writes. "[I]ntrospective guy."
Dropping Out to Save Seat From GOP Takeover? The American Spectator's Daniel Flynn suspects
Kennedy fell on his sword. "A poll released last week by Providence's
WPRI-TV reported Patrick Kennedy's disapproval ratings at 62 percent
throughout Rhode Island and 56 percent within his district. Rhode
Island state representative John J. Loughlin II, a well-funded Scott
Brown-clone who has hired several of the key operatives behind the
Massachusetts Miracle, announced his candidacy against Kennedy on
...Or in Wake of Father's Death? The New York Times' Jeff Zeleny reports
that sources downplay the electoral factors in the congressman's
retirement, saying it's more about the hardship of losing his father.
"Two party officials said Thursday evening that the challenging race
this fall was a factor, but that the death of Mr. Kennedy’s father
played a larger role in his decision."
Will He Reclaim Teddy's Senate Seat? Liberal blogger Pamela Leavey hopes so.
"I hope he will continue on to do great things for the people of
America in the tradition of his father and the Kennedy family," she
writes. "Perhaps Kennedy might consider testing the Senate waters here
in Massachusetts in 2012, when Republican Scott Brown will need to run
for a full term in Ted Kennedy’s seat."
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