Remembering RFK: A Tonic for Our Times

Bobby Kennedy, A Raging Spirit, Chris Matthews
Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit by Chris Matthews. Photo credit: Simon & Schuster and Steve Bott / Flickr Some (CC BY 2.0)
Reading Time: 20 minutes

In this special WhoWhatWhy podcast, Jeff Schechtman speaks with author and host of MSNBC’s Hardball, Chris Matthews. During a long career in Washington he rubbed shoulders with the Kennedys — whom he has been talking and writing about for years — and now he turns his full attention to Bobby.

Matthews argues that Bobby’s politics were rooted in bringing people together. Of course, there’s no way of knowing what his presidency might have been like. But Matthews reminds us of the crowds that gathered to salute the funeral train carrying RFK’s body from New York to Washington after his assassination in 1968. The mourners lining the tracks were black and white, waitstaff, firemen, and cops, who believed that Kennedy cared about them all. One relevant detail: Bobby was known as the only senator who would personally say hello to the Capitol police each day.

Matthews also tells Schechtman about Bobby’s penchant for making enemies, how he was once described as “a romantic, disguised as a streetfighter.” Some of it came from his upbringing as the younger brother to Joseph Jr. and John F. Kennedy. The runt of the family, as his father would call him, he always had to fight for attention.

We also learn about his relationship with Roy Cohn, which was a far cry from Cohn’s relationship with then-businessman Donald Trump.

Matthews explains the goals of Bobby’s 1968 presidential campaign. Besides wanting to end the war in Vietnam, he hoped to bring back Jack Kennedy’s “New Frontier,” but with many more working-class whites and minorities participating. He was, in Matthews’s words, “a streetfighter for moral justice.”

Chris Matthews is the author of Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit (Simon & Schuster, October 31, 2017).


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Full Text Transcript:

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Ted Kennedy: My brother need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life; to be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it. Those of us who loved him and who take him to his rest today, pray that what he was to us and what he wished for others will someday come to pass for all the world.
Jeff Schechtman: Teddy Kennedy eulogizing his brother Bobby. Exactly 50 years ago, the world shifted on its axis. The assassination of Bobby Kennedy, after his victory in the California primary, changed politics forever. In fact, it might not be too far-fetched to say that, had Bobby survived, our politics and our country might look very different today.
Since then, we have been searching for the politician, or leader, that could bridge our divide. That in a time of polarity, it’s been impossible for that leader to emerge. So we look back, to what might have been. When we do, the image, the mythology, and the reality of Bobby Kennedy rises as almost an apparition, from the body politic.
Why? What was it, about Bobby, that made us think he was different? We’ve seen, over the years, the Republican Party play tough, hardball tactics, in ways that many Democrats could never seem to pull off. This has always appeared to be a lack of toughness, a lack of instinct for the jugular, an inability to match an empathetic and compassionate agenda with the instincts of a street fighter.
Bobby Kennedy embodied the ability to do that, to bring scathing political toughness to an agenda of compassion, and empathy, and love. Sounds simple, but it’s no small feat. It is captured eloquently, by Chris Matthews, in his new book, Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit.
Chris Matthews is a former columnist, an author, a Kennedy Scholar, of course, the host of MSNBC’s Hardball. It is my pleasure to welcome Chris Matthews to Radio WhoWhatWhy, to talk about Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit. Chris, thanks so much for being here.
Chris Matthews: Hey Jeff, thank you for that very much.
Jeff Schechtman: You know, when we think of other political leaders, or political heroes, at a particular time, it’s often a case where the time and the man have come together in a very unique way. When we think about Bobby Kennedy, it is almost timeless. We can put him in the present, put him in his own time, and those qualities, and what he brought to it are almost universal. Talk about that first.
Chris Matthews: Well, I think what you’re talking about was capsulized or emblemized by the funeral train, down from New York, through New Jersey, to Washington, when he was buried at Arlington with his brother. Along the train ride, you saw clearly the kind of people that trusted him. They were the large numbers of African Americans, who were spontaneously, in Baltimore, 20,000 of them, singing The Battle Hymn of the Republic. They knew all the words, from church, I assume. They just knew it and that was the man they wanted to express that sentiment about the union, together, us all together, to him.
Then, there’s the white working class. Even lower than that, the poor, impoverished, white people you saw saluting him. The small families, along the trust, the patriotic affection they had for him. Well, that’s what we need. You know, everybody’s not going to hang around and sing the same songs, enjoy the same music, or even culture, but it would be great to have everybody share the same purpose, and politics really.
I think Bobby was the one. I mean, he would drive through a tough changing town, like Gary, Indiana, which had a lot of Eastern European ethnics in it, who were scared of the African Americans moving in. He would ride through town with Tony Zale, the former middleweight champ, in one side, and Richard Hatcher, the first African-American mayor, on the other side of him. Expressing, openly, his determination to bring people together.
I mean, nobody does that. Trump never does that. Politicians, especially Trump, try to take their 40% and sort of screw the rest. They know about the solidarity of their constituents. They seem to know that division works for them, whereas Bobby really tried. He said, “Waitresses and cops and firefighters are my people.” At the same time, he’s reaching out to minorities and embracing them. Nobody seems to try to do that today.
Jeff Schechtman: How was Bobby different than Jack, in that respect?
Chris Matthews: Well, you know I once heard a guy say, “Jack was the charm and Bobby was the brains.” But, that’s a little rough. I think Bobby …Jack was iconic, he had this elegance about him. He knew, and I don’t want to be too rough about this, but he knew exactly what things looked like.
When he lost the fight for the Democratic nomination, for Vice President, in ’56, he knew the race up to that platform and endorsed the guy who had just beaten him. He knew the Peace Corps, what it would emblemize to the country. He knew the picture he would present, with the space program, and going to the moon.
He was always very clear, in the picture he would present, even with Jacqueline Kennedy, his wife. He was always presenting this incredibly glamorous picture that we say, “Yeah, that’s what we want.” Bobby was more soulful. He was thinking in his conscience, all the time, about the right thing to do. He was a big guy on right and wrong.
He was enormously loyal. I’d say Jack was never as personally loyal as Bobby was. Bobby was even loyal to Joe McCarthy, when he tried to drink himself to death, and succeeded finally. Even though he was part of the condemnation of McCarthy, he had this personal loyalty to a guy who was killing himself, basically.
Bringing those people back from the Bay of Pigs, he was the one that cut the deal. Tractors for Freedom, with Eleanor Roosevelt. He was the one that kept track of all the people we lost in the Bay of Pigs and he got them home. It was an amazing effort, he got no publicity, or no praise for it. But I’d say conscience, I’d say he was our conscience.
Jeff Schechtman: You talk about that his Catholic faith was a big part of that. You know, over the years so much has been written about the fact that a lot of it came from what he experienced in his own family and the tragedies of his own family, but his Catholic faith was a big part of it. Talk about that.
Chris Matthews: Well, there are a couple of things. I tried to figure out, why is this guy, born to wealth, so empathetic? Why does he really seem to care for people that are left out? I really worked at it.
He would always talk about being Irish Catholic and how …I mean, this was overdone with me, growing up. I’d listen to all this, all the time. About how the Irish were mistreated by the Brits, they were starved to death in the famine. Then they came over here, and the Yankees and the Protestants treated them badly.
I always thought that was oversold, because the African American and the Hispanic, had difficulty in fitting in here. Or, being just Americans, there’s a much greater wall to climb. But I think the thing with him, was his family, as you said. He was the runt in the family. Imagine having your father call you the runt. He was 5’8″ or so, average height. His brothers were big 6-footers, handsome, confident.
Bobby was the awkward kid, who had to really fight for his father’s attention. And didn’t really get it until he became this tough brother’s enforcer, the guy who got him elected to all those jobs. Bobby was a sweeter guy, in his person, that he showed through much of his career. Only when the old man had his stroke, and became incapacitated, that Bobby begin to really be that sweet guy, that cared about Chicano Farm Workers, and their fight for justice.
About, even Native Americans, and the people down in the Mississippi Delta, starving black people. People that ate molasses all day and had distended stomachs. I mean, I think it was that he understood what it was like to be overlooked.
Jeff Schechtman: Yet, even when he became sweeter, he still had this kind of unique gift for making enemies along the way.
Chris Matthews: Well yeah, his sister Eunice said that he had a gift for estrangement. I mean, he really didn’t like Roy Cohn, for example. It was working with McCarthy, who I think was a bad guy. But he really didn’t like …He thought Hoffa was the devil, the crooked labor leader. He, obviously, saw a lot of real gangsters, when he ran the Rackets Committee, from ’57 through ’59. But he made enemies, there’s no doubt.
He and Lyndon Johnson have been compared to two dogs, meeting on the street, and both wanting the same patch of sidewalk. It began, way back in 1940, when Johnson was out bragging about how he’s there when FDR said he was going to fire Bobby’s father, as Ambassador to Britain. It really went on, and on, and on. Bobby earned his share of the grief from the other guy. He was as tough on Johnson as Johnson was ever tough on him.
He just never forgave him for abusing the family name, and going after the family. Especially, when they called Jack, when he accused Jack of being an umbrella, a Chamberlain umbrella, a guy who thought that Hitler was great. I mean, Johnson …Well, I shouldn’t say that Bobby was worse than Johnson. They were pretty worse to each other, in the way they attacked each other.
Jeff Schechtman: There’s also this quality, I think, there’s the quote from Arthur Schlessinger, who talks about Bobby as a romantic disguised as a realist. I mean, a romantic disguised as a street fighter.
Chris Matthews: Yeah. Well, there are scenes in this, and he truly is a romantic, and Jack was much more the realist, the colder one. Bobby, the scenes that will grab you, anybody who reads the book. First of all, the point is the way that he was for McCarthy personally, even though he had to help bring him down. He knew he was wrong and learned all the evil ways that McCarthy dealt with witnesses before his committee, and swore that he would never do with that as head of the Rackets Committee, to counsel there.
When he went in to see the Governor, Mike DiSalle of Ohio, and DiSalle had said he would support Jack. But the Kennedy people were very suspicious, they thought he was going to really not be for them, he was going to be for Symington, another candidate, from Missouri. Bobby’s job was to go in, and basically, rubber hose the guy. Get the guy to do it, come out for Kennedy, no matter what he had to say. It was frightening. He did the same thing with the governor of Maryland, Governor Tawes.
He would get what he wanted. If these guys weren’t going to back his brother, he was going to make them back his brother. That’s a big part of that ’60 campaign. There’s only a few primaries, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, and West Virginia. There’s just a few of them. What really was the power of the Kennedys, was to get people to back him whether they liked it or not. Bobby was the enforcer. You’re right, Bobby was the enforcer.
Jeff Schechtman: Yeah. There’s also this ability, that Bobby evolves, later on, and in some ways I think it comes out of this, that he’s able to be the enforcer and a uniter, at the same time, later on?
Chris Matthews: You know, that is the hardest job. We look back on people, like Franklin Roosevelt, who could unite, and we think, well, they’re so political. But then say, wait a minute, you have to be really political to be able to keep, and in the case of Roosevelt, southern segregationists, allied with ethnic people up north, in the big cities, that had really nothing in common. Bring the black voter into the community, at the same time you’re defending people in the south, right-winger, basically, white people.
It takes political skill and effort. I think Bobby was probably the last that was able to appeal to the ethnic solidarity of Italians, Catholics, and Jewish people. All kinds of people who felt that they were sort of kept out of the action by the Protestant majority. At the same time, he was able to bring in minority people.
I mean, it’s tough to convince ethnic people in big cities that they’ve got something in common with the rising number of people who are African American or Hispanic. It’s just a challenge. The Kennedy’s did it. They held it together. Because, as Bobby just, he felt that those were his people.
Jack Newfield said this beautifully, the columnist, that Bobby just felt at home. I remember, my first job in Washington, after I got back from Africa and the Peace Corps, was working a patronage job. I’d be a cop at night, with a uniform and a gun, the whole works. Harry Reed had one of these jobs. Then, in the daytime, I worked for a senator from Utah, the last liberal, Frank Moss.
I got to tell you, I hung out with a cop, actually a building engineer. He said that the only liberal democratic senator, a lot of them could be pretty snooty, that always said hello to the cops, was Bobby. That always stuck with me, that he was the guy who was truly democratic.
Also, didn’t think of himself as better than somebody having a basic, $8,000 a year job, like a cop. He didn’t think himself superior to those people. He called his staff people, they called him Bob, not Bobby. He hung out with his staff. Jack never did that. Jack never had staff people around him, socially.
Bobby did. Bobby was, as Ethel told me, when I interviewed her. She said Mike, she said, “Bobby was born a democrat.” And she meant lowercase d.
Jeff Schechtman: How much of that came from this kind of moral clarity, that he seemed to have?
Chris Matthews: Well, I grew up with it, so I know what he meant. I was 20 years younger than him, and I know the same catechism we were taught, it’s says …The nuns would show us three milk bottles, in the textbook. One milk bottle was white, that meant you were without sin. One was like a black and white milkshake, you know, it was darker than white, but it wasn’t black. That was, you had venial sin. The dark one was mortal sin, you’re going to hell.
I’m telling you, if you want to know what good and evil are taught, they taught it pretty strictly. Now, Bobby rebelled against that. Early on, when he was at Harvard, there was a priest there. We knew him, in school, because he was a poet. He was preaching, no salvation outside the church.
Bobby went crazy over that. You can’t say that the people aren’t Catholic, like the Protestant or Jewish, you can’t say they’re not going to heaven. He wrote a letter to the paper. He railed against the Cardinal. His mother, Rose Kennedy, thought he was really in trouble with the church.
But, he just thought that was totally unfair. It was so Bobby, that at that age, he was just declaring war on people that were being unfair.
Jeff Schechtman: There was this sense, that he brings to that. As I talked a little bit about, in the introduction, this ability to be a street fighter for moral Justice. That’s how he seemed to reconcile that.
Chris Matthews: Yeah. Well, I guess, growing up, I would say, he was Michael the Archangel. He was the angel with the sword. You know? Don’t mess with this guy. He was tough.
I mean, he would get in fights, with Roy Cohn, for example, who worked with him on the … Was superior to him, on the McCarthy Committee. They were close to fist fights. Roy was one tough customer. That, it really came to the fists. He was fearless. I think that was part of it, too.
I think he just was the little kid …I went to school with guys like this. Some kid, named Flanagan, always got beat up in school, every single day. It was just part of who he was. He didn’t mind fighting for what he believed in and for just his family. He did it. It’s tough.
You said, in the beginning, it would be good to have people who believed in right and wrong, and would fight for the right. Bobby was the guy who believed in law and order, but also believed in compassion for people in trouble. He would never take sides in a black lives issue versus cops. He would say the law should be for justice.
If he saw somebody abusing their power, he went crazy about it, whether it was a southern governor, or anybody. He believed law should be just, but you need law to have justice. That’s why the justice department building is named after him. He really did believe that law could bring justice.
Jeff Schechtman: It’s interesting about Roy Cohn and his whole relationship with Bobby. In many ways, Bobby is the good son, and the current President is the bad, the evil son of Roy Cohn?
Chris Matthews: Isn’t that funny? Here’s a great one, if you’re into Eastern ethnic social politics. There’s a scene, that I got from Kenny O’Donnell, who was Jack’s close friend, even closer to Bobby. They were on the football team together, at Harvard.
And he talked about a place, one time, during the Army–McCarthy hearings, in 1954, when McCarthy finally had his fall. There’s this fight going on, that people can actually see on television, between Roy Cohn, who is McCarthy’s favorite really, and Bobby. Roy Cohn is the real tough anti-communist. Bobby is seen as somewhat more moderate, more liberal.
All the Irish guys, in the bar, are all rooting for Roy Cohn, not Bobby. A lot of these guys had some anti-Semitism in them, this is back in the early 50s. Yet, they thought Bobby was their enemy, but Roy Cohn was their hero, because he was a vicious anti-communist. But, that’s the kind of weird socio, whatever, overlays, that were going on at the time.
Everything was about the Cold War and getting the Communists and nobody was more vicious or ruthless than Roy Cohn. Bobby loved McCarthy, but he thought McCarthy was going way too far, destroying himself, and he blamed Cohn. He just did.
Jeff Schechtman: Talk about his decision to get in the race, in ’68. It’s the one area that there’s often so much criticism.
Chris Matthews: Sure.
Jeff Schechtman: That he waited so long. That he was this Johnny come lately, after McCarthy had laid the groundwork.
Chris Matthews: Well, I was with McCarthy back then and I shared that sentiment, I can tell you, as a grad student. We were all rooting for McCarthy, in the beginning. Then, I ended up praying for Bobby, because Bobby was the only one that could beat Humphrey.
McCarthy, I never felt could take on the establishment. He was not as strong a figure. He didn’t have that history with so many ethnic and other groups. He didn’t have that compelling ability to draw on all that strength, that the Kennedy brothers had together, to beat someone as awesome as Humphrey, who had all the backing of the big city politicians, and the president.
Lyndon was pushing Humphrey like mad. I think what happened was this, and I’ve had some revisionism in all the digging I’ve done. We all thought that McCarthy had the guts to run. He did, but McCarthy was sort of ambivalent about his career. He ended up quitting it, in 1970, just two years later, giving up the Senate. He didn’t really like being a senator.
Bobby, on the other hand, had a lot to give up. Because Bobby had a plan to become president, in 1972. It was about to be handed to him. All the party regulars were with him. If he just waited his turn, he would be able to revive, bring back the new frontier, which is what his number one goal in life was in those days was to bring back what Jack had built.
When he finally brought himself to run, when he sort of said, “I have to do it now,” he really struggled not to do it. He went to see Clark Clifford, the Secretary of Defense for Johnson. He and Ted Sorensen, the speech writer and ally of the Kennedy’s, they went to see him, over at the Pentagon. They tried to cut a deal whereby Johnson would agree to create a commission, to look at US/Vietnam policy, and review the whole thing, and change it.
Bobby said, “If you do that, if you create a commission like this, that really is even-handed, and looks at this war honestly, I won’t run.” So even up until Thursday, before he announced on Saturday, that day, he was still trying to cut a deal to stay out of the fight.
He did not want to divide the Democratic party, as he put it, three ways. Among him, McCarthy, and the Humphrey people. Or, at the time, Johnson’s people, he was still in the race. He really didn’t want to disrupt the party and he really thought he would be destroying his political chances.
His brother Ted was against him running. Theodore Sorensen was against him running. The young red hots, like Wilensky, and others on the committee, were for it, and his wife was for it, Ethel was for it, but it was really divided. I call the last chapter sacrifice, because he basically decides to sacrifice the sure thing, for the way outside chance of winning in ’68.
Jeff Schechtman: You talk about the fact that he wanted to restore the new frontier. What did that mean to him, in real politic terms?
Chris Matthews: Well, I think all the liberal things we think of, civil rights, I think, up front. I think these, sort of, looking forward, the Peace Corps, the positive attitude towards the Cold War. That we can, maybe, if we’re lucky, get around it, avoid a nuclear war with the Soviets, find a way to win the war on the ground in the third world with an economic development and showing that we have a better system.
All that. I guess, trying to find peace, ultimately, with Khrushchev, through back channels. He was always working that through his friend, Georgi Bolshakov. Always trying to find some way to avoid a war with the Soviets.
I think, at home, it was civil rights, it was economic development, it was growth. You know, it was that sort of center-left, Kennedy program, which were up against the hard conservative, or Johnson. He thought Johnson was just kind of gross. He just didn’t …He thought Johnson just threw money at welfare, and things like that, and really didn’t understand how to bring people up.
On his own, by the way, he thought that welfare was debilitating. He thought it wasn’t helping people develop for themselves. He had, sort of a, I would call it a neoliberal, you know what I mean?
Jeff Schechtman: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Chris Matthews: A neoliberal approach, which was a refined new deal-ism.
Jeff Schechtman: With civil rights, it was complicated though, because of what Jack didn’t do and what Johnson was able to accomplish?
Chris Matthews: Yeah. I think Johnson was able to accomplish it in a way, to some large extent, because of Jack’s martyrdom. I think, the atmosphere in the late … When Jack died, he was working with the Senate, actually the House Judiciary Committee. He was working with Richard Daley, of Chicago.
I remember, The Brigham Board, one of the guys was trying to go too far. Some of the liberals, on the Judiciary Committee, were trying to go further, then, on civil rights, than could have ever gotten through the Congress. He was trying to keep them in line, working, strong-arming people on that committee from Chicago. One guy, in particular.
Then, he was working through the Cardinal, the Cardinal in Philadelphia, to get somebody else on that committee, to get in line with him. So he was trying to push it through, to get the thread through the needle. But at the same time, they faced, as you suggested, the southern guys that controlled the Rules Committee, who were going to stop it. No matter how far they got, they were, at some point, going to kill the bill.
Johnson, because he was a southerner and pretty much a tough guy, he was able to use the martyrdom of Kennedy, the let-us-continue theme and spirit of the country, to get it done. But there’s no doubt, Johnson’s greatest moment was the Civil Rights bill. It’s been celebrated ever since and rightfully so. In those months, early months of ’64, he accomplished something that no president had ever been able to do.
Jeff Schechtman: So much of the divide, that we see in the country today, has its antecedents, or a lot of antecedents, in the ’60s, in the Vietnam era, in this division that we’ve been talking about, that was going on at that time. What is your sense of what Bobby could have brought to that and how things might be fundamentally different today?
Chris Matthews: Well, we know, if you just look at the Donald Trump constituency. It’s basically drawn the rural white people, non-college, it’s always done as non-college or college educated. The rural, non-college people are country folk, who have a keen support for things like guns and coal. It’s cultural and it’s economic, mixed together, and it’s real.
I think some racism at the edges. I wouldn’t say that was the main part, but a piece of that. They don’t like the white, the black advance, in this country. I understand that piece of it, but there’s no sense arguing with people about it. people like that are not going to change. You’ve got to work with the other people, who are not driven by that, who are worried about economic change.
Then you take the people I grew up, I came from, really, the white ethnic, if you will, the non-college. Like, my cousins, living in New Jersey. They’re for Trump. I think that has to do with maybe they didn’t get educational breaks. They have a sense that they’re being pushed out of their old neighborhoods, by the moving in of African Americans and Hispanics.
I mean, there’s that thing, we’re all very familiar with. I think Bobby would have made a real effort, and probably succeeded, at keeping the trust of what he called the cops, the waitresses, and the firefighters. The whites, if you will. Keeping them, at the same time, he was advancing the cause and justice for the others, for the minority people, ethnic minority people.
I think that is a really tough thing to pull off. I think Johnson did it, for a while, in the first term, when he got elected the first time, in his own right. But, by ’68, it was coming apart. The hard hats were fighting with the long hairs. The people who were for the war, the hard hats, the construction workers, most emblematically, against the college kids, the privileged college kids, in some cases.
I think he could have fought that by simply ending the war. I think you were right, that was when the war, the war really started that class struggle between working-class people and the better-off middle-class, or upper-middle-class, in terms of educational potential, and the advantages they had. I think he would have, I think you’re right, I think that war really triggered that.
That animosity, that’s still there. I mean, it was there when Nixon got in trouble. The people that were sticking with him.
Jeff Schechtman: Well it was-
Chris Matthews: It was on a class line.
Jeff Schechtman: Yeah, Reagan picked them off, at first, as the Reagan Democrats, as they were called.
Chris Matthews: Right.
Jeff Schechtman: Then, Nixon picked them off, a larger segment, as the Silent Majority.
Chris Matthews: Well, one thing is, and this is just me, I don’t expect everybody to agree with me about this. I think Bobby, and the Kennedy’s, like a lot of ethnic people, second or third generation, have a gut patriotism. Not some ethereal thing, but some feeling, in the gut, and the stomach, and the heart, when the flag goes up.
They think about America in a very strong and visceral way. It isn’t something aloof. I mean, Obama would be more of an aloof patriot. But a more gut kind of patriotism, the Kennedy’s were a part of. the people felt that was the way they were.
All the kids, they all fought in World War II. They all went off. They didn’t have to take these dangerous assignments. One of them got killed. One almost got killed. The other did his best to get out of officer training, so he could get into active duty. That was Bobby.
They just were patriotic kids, and gung ho, gut, pro-American people. I think that was something they identified, they connected with working white people about. I mean, when I was a cop, somebody said to me on the hill, a working guy, from West Virginia. He called me aside, because I was a college kid.
He goes, “You know what? You know why the little man loves this country Chris?” I said, “I don’t know.” He says, “Because it’s always God.” Understanding that, about poor white people, especially their love of country, is so unitary. It’s who they are, because they’ve been in the military, have been enlisted guys, draftees probably. The one thing that they really have is that sense of having served and the love they have for the country they served.
I think that the Kennedy’s had that. I think a lot of liberals today, who are good people, don’t have that gut feeling and experience that goes with it. I think that’s what people on the white side of this racial, and ethnic, and class divide in this country, saw in the Kennedy’s.
Jeff Schechtman: Chris Matthews, the book is Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit. Chris, I thank you so much for spending time with us today, here on Radio WhoWhatWhy.
Chris Matthews: Jeff, you know your stuff. I really appreciate it. I think people my age, and a bit younger, hunger for this, what I’m talking about, this empathy for people, but also a really tough love of country.
Jeff Schechtman: Chris Matthews, thanks so much.
Chris Matthews: Hey, thanks Jeff.
Jeff Schechtman: Thank you for listening and for joining us, here on Radio WhoWhatWhy. I hope you join us next week for another Radio WhoWhatWhy podcast. I’m Jeff Schechtman.
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