Bloggers on the Kennedys' endorsements of Obama.

Bloggers on the Kennedys' endorsements of Obama.

Bloggers on the Kennedys' endorsements of Obama.

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
Jan. 28 2008 6:21 PM

Heir Apparent

Bloggers ponder the bevy of endorsements Barack Obama has garnered since winning the South Carolina primary and note the passing of the head of the Mormon church.

Kennedy's approval: Two Kennedys and Toni Morrison have announced their support of Barack Obama since his victory Saturday in South Caroline. Caroline Kennedy's endorsement in the Sunday op-ed pages of the New York Times was particularly glowing: "I have never had a president who inspired me the way people tell me that my father inspired them. But for the first time, I believe I have found the man who could be that president — not just for me, but for a new generation of Americans," she writes.

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At the Huffington Post, David Kuo raves: "After all these years and all the tragedy and all the scandal, the Kennedy's have found their heir and he is an African-American man named Barack Hussein Obama. It is a satisfying, beautiful, appropriate culmination of the Kennedy story. But it is fitting because, ultimately, Sen. Obama is the embodiment of the social justice and civil rights that the Kennedy family fought for."

At the Carpetbagger Report, liberal Steve Benen opines that the endorsement may signal a shift at the party's base: "There may have been an impression among some that Obama was the choice of young people and some movie stars. Slowly but surely, it appears the party establishment is suddenly up for grabs, as well." And at the American Prospect, liberal Ezra Klein thinks the endorsement signals that leading Democrats aren't afraid of the Clintons. "Obama isn't even the frontrunner, and they're endorsing at the most critical, contentious, controversial time, the sort of moment when Clinton would beg them to keep quiet, offer them anything in exchange for support or even neutrality. The Clinton machine like so many machines, is more myth than fact."

At RedState, conservative Pejman Yousefzadeh ganders that the Clinton campaign is smarting from Ted's snub. "The Obama campaign has gotten itself a big-time endorsement from Senator Edward Kennedy, an endorsement that constitutes a huge blow to the Clinton campaign, especially given the fact that the Clintons positioned themselves as the inheritors of the Kennedy legacy back in the 1990s." After realizing they lost Ted and Caroline Kennedy, the Clintons managed to dredge up "a whole slew of lesser Kennedys," libertarian Reihan Salam points out at culture and politics blog the American Scene. These included "a former lieutenant governor of Maryland who lost a gubernatorial race in an overwhelmingly Democratic state by spurning black voters and choosing a white ex-Republican as her running mate (foreshadowing?), and Robert F. Kennedy Jr."

At the Fix, the Washington Post's Chris Cilliza explains the hierarchy of the various types of endorsements: "Kennedy coming out for Obama falls into the category of 'symbolic endorsement,' the most coveted of all because it is not simply the typical pat on the back and photo-op, but rather it signifies something larger about a candidate. Kennedy, after all, is not simply the senior senator from Massachusetts," he writes. "For people of a certain vintage, Ted Kennedy serves as the embodiment of what it means to be a Democrat."

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At Radar's Fresh Intelligence, Megan Carpentier parses why Ted Kennedy's endorsement matters to Republicans. "Kennedy remains incredibly popular with Democratic primary voters, while his name alone inspires legions of Republicans to loosen the death grips on their calfskin wallets and donate generously to the GOP. In fact, the only politician less popular with Republican voters is Hillary Clinton, which totally annoys Ted, who has spent decades vying for the most hated slot."

Liberal D-Day sees Kennedy's endorsement as a reproach to Bill Clinton for his recent behavior on the trail: "It was said that Ted Kennedy would stay out of this race in order to bring the party together and heal it after a bitter primary fight. Actually, I think he's ENTERING the race to do the same thing. By taking aside against the tactics of former President Clinton and his wife, he's directing where he would like the Democratic Party to go. ... This is more of a rebuke than an endorsement. And it's one that is well-deserved."

Read more about Obama's endorsements. Slate's "Trailhead" bloggers weigh in here and here.

Mormons lose president: The president of the Mormon church, Gordon Hinckley, died in his Utah apartment Sunday at age 97.

"We bloggers have lost our prophet," writes  Seth Rogers at Mormon blog Nine Moons. "I don't think there has ever been a moment in the brief history of internet Mormonism where Gordon B. Hinckley was not an unspoken fact of life. Now that he is gone, it just won't be the same. … From a sentimental mortal perspective, it almost seems as if God's voice has changed, though I know this is not the case."

The National Journal's Hotline reports that presidential candidate and Mormon Mitt Romney spoke with Hinckley about his presidential bid. "Romney said he would try to attend Hinckley's funeral, if it meshes with his schedule. He said he spoke with Hinckley when he was thinking about a White House bid, and 'he smiled and said it would be great experience if you won and a great experience if you lost.' "

The ex-Mormon at Exposing Mormonism reminds readers of Hinckey's anti-homosexual stance. Hinckley maintained in an interview with Larry King that he was not "anti-gay" but "pro-family." "The LDS church has meddled in US politics, supporting bills (politically and financially) that ban gay marriage and equal-rights for homosexuals. Hinckley doesn't mention the at least 40 or more documented gay & lesbian suicides in the LDS church since 1984. … He also of course, doesn't mention BYU's history of shock therapy and pornography "treatments" for gays, and other things."

Read more on Hinckley. Mormon blog a Soft Answer enumerates Hinckley's accomplishments, including tripling the number of Mormon temples worldwide. Mormon reactions are rounded up at Mormon Archipelago.

Sonia Smith is an associate editor at Texas Monthly.