Liberal historian Douglas Brinkley sang the praises of the Kennedy family on Monday's CBS This Morning, spotlighting the apparently "very important public service work" of Robert F. Kennedy's children: "It's just remarkable to me how Bobby Kennedy's kids keep making public policy influences." Brinkley also claimed that "the Kennedy name is still very popular, and....we're endlessly fascinated by the family."
The author also played up the Democratic family's Catholic background, without mentioning how several prominent members have dissented from the Church's teachings on abortion and sexuality.
The morning show brought on the presidential historian to discuss two recent developments related to the Kennedys: an internal family dispute over their former compound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, and how boxes of files from Robert Kennedy's tenure as attorney general in the 1960s are currently off limits, due to the intervention of widow Ethel Kennedy. Near the end of the segment, anchor Gayle King asked, "Ted Kennedy certainly became the patriarch of the Kennedy family...Who do you see, Doug, as the leader of the Kennedy family now?"
Brinkley replied with his effusive language about the politically-active family:
BRINKLEY: I don't think there – there is no more. There – a void was left by Ted Kennedy. I mean, he was – when he would show up at Hyannis Port or in Washington, all of the rest of the Kennedy family would, kind of, galvanize around him, and he would tell them what was going on in Washington or the inside scoop on things. That doesn't exist anymore, and it's a lot of, just, different people trying to make it through life.
It's just remarkable to me how Bobby Kennedy's kids keep making public policy influences. I mean, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is an environmentalist, and Kerry Kennedy in human rights, or Rory Kennedy making documentary films. So, they're always, kind of, in the limelight, but doing very important public service work.
So, the Kennedy name is still very popular, and, remember: one out of every four Americans is Catholic, and this was the Catholic American president – JFK – and the Catholics of the world look up to the Kennedys. They like the lore. If you're a Kennedy and you go to Italy or you go to Argentina, you're treated as royalty. And in the United States, we're endlessly fascinated by the family.
Despite mentioning Kerry Kennedy, the guest didn't mention that the ex-wife of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo crashed her car in July 2012 after taking a prescription sedative.
After Ted Kennedy died in August 2009, the presidential historian gushed about the longtime senator's legacy on CBS: "He's going to be a – a martyr because of all that he's done and he very well might help, in death, Obama get his health care plan." Brinkley later boasted on CNN that Kennedy "did a kind of a redemptive work throughout his whole career. He would fall off the wagon....But he constantly said, I can do better."