The JFK Card Gets Played in Massachusetts

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Oct. 18 2012 9:31 AM

The JFK Card Gets Played in Massachusetts

Sean Bielat is the Republican who gave Barney Frank a real race in 2010. In 2011, Frank announced his retirement; in 2012, Joe Kennedy III started running for the seat. Bielat's traded an erudite opponent with TARP baggage for a first time candidate with the most golden name in Massachusetts politics. When I was in Massachusetts this summer to cover the race, I fought for time with the New York Times magazine and Buzzfeed.

Bielat's tried to turn the hype against Kennedy. He's told any reporter who'll listen that the Democrat, who served in the Peace Corps and a DA's office, is simply unqualified -- the argument used unsuccessfully to stop former Sen. Ted Kennedy and former Rep. Patrick Kennedy. Now I see he's dropping the subtlety.

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I'm reminded of a much flashier ad that Scott Brown used in 2010.

Brown won. Bielat might win. As a pedant, though, I'm amazed that the "Kennedy favored tax cuts, too" is seen as such a humdinger, still. The main rate cut in the Kennedy tax package -- which was pushed through Congress by LBJ after Kennedy's death -- was a slash in the top income tax rate, from 91 to 70 percent. The fearsome socialistic Obama regime is punting on tax reform, absolutely, but its most punitive tax idea is a hike in the top rate from 35 to 39.6 percent.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.