The good news is, the Kennedys aren’t running for office as much in Massachusetts anymore.

The bad news is, they’re running elsewhere.

In case you missed it, this week two more fiftysomething offspring of America’s most scandal-plagued political family are tossing or thinking of tossing their shot glasses into the ring.

In Illinois, Chris Kennedy, Bobby’s 53-year-old son, has announced he’s running for governor next year against the first-term Republican incumbent.

And in New York, Caroline Kennedy, who seems to have shed her husband’s Schlossberg surname, is being “urged” to run for something or other, most likely the Senate seat once held by Chris’s late father, Uncle Bobby.

That seat is currently occupied by a 50-year-old female, but what does that matter to Caroline? Doesn’t Sen. Kirsten Gillebrand know who Caroline is?

Caroline is 59, just back from a stint as Obama’s ambassador to Japan (To learn about her stellar career in Tokyo, just google “Caroline Kennedy” and “boss from hell” and you can read all about it.)

Last week on the Today Show Caroline said, “I’m looking around to figure out what I would do next.”

How charming! How Kennedy-esque! Somewhat reminiscent of Uncle Ted’s first Senate campaign here in Massachusetts back in 1962. One of his sisters was quoted as describing the rationale behind the 30-year-old juvenile delinquent’s campaign:

“Teddy has to do something.”

After all, he did have a lot of experience. According to a 1961 FBI report, during a tour of South America Teddy impressed State Department officials as “pompous and a spoiled brat.” One night in Lima he rented out an entire brothel for himself and his local limousine driver.

This New York Senate seat, which isn’t up until 2020, was first ticketed for Caroline back in 2009 when Hillary Clinton resigned to become secretary of state.

The thing about the Kennedys is, if they ever occupy any office, they assume it belongs to them permanently. JFK was the Congressman from Boston until 1952, then his nephew Joe grabbed the same seat back in 1986 after 34 years of place-holding by Tip O’Neill.

So when Caroline demanded her uncle’s old Senate seat in 2008, she figured she was merely reclaiming her family’s birthright. But she quickly faded out of the picture once she started giving incoherent interviews – a family tradition.

Her uncle Ted’s verbal tics were “uh” “um” and “er.”

Caroline’s is “you know.” In an interview with the NY Times in late 2008, she said “you know” 138 times. Speaking to the Daily News, she said it more than 200 times.

Asked about Teddy’s Senate career, she opined:

“It’s been, you know, the most, you know, rewarding life for him, you know.”

Yes, we know. But at least being a legislator is a career any Kennedy is well-qualified for. Ultimately, there is no responsibility. You run around bloviating, ordering Chivas after Chivas, grabbing underlings’ derrieres and shouting, “Do you know who I am?”

A most rewarding life for a Kennedy, you know.

Oddly, Chris Kennedy is running for a real job – governor of Illinois. Chris is described as a “businessman” which I guess is better than most of his buck-toothed kinsmen, who’ve spent their lives failing the bar exam, getting arrested and becoming, you know, “filmmakers” or “philanthropists.”

The problem for Chris is, governor of Illinois is a perilous damn job. In the last half-century, four Illinois governors (three Dems, one Republican) have ended up in prison. One of them is still in Club Fed, and will be until 2024.

As with the Boston City Council, there are two problems with running for governor of Illinois.

First problem, you could lose. Second problem, you could win.

Perhaps Chris believes that the family “curse” that Teddy talked about after Chappaquiddick has lifted. The century-long Kennedy crime spree does appear to be abating – after all, only two family members have been lugged in the last six weeks.

Conor Kennedy, Chris’s 22-year-old nephew, was arrested outside a barroom in Aspen for disorderly conduct. And Michael Skakel, Chris’ jailbird second cousin, just had his murder conviction reinstated in Connecticut. He bludgeoned a 15-year-old blonde neighbor girl to death with a golf club in 1975.

And then of course there was that drug raid at the family compound in Hyannis Port a couple of weeks back. But that was a caretaker, right?

Still, Chris probably has a decent shot of winning, because there is one great thing about elections in Illinois. You can steal them, at least if your name is Kennedy. It’s another family tradition.

Howie Carr is the New York Times best-selling author of The Brothers Bulger and Hitman, in addition to several other Boston organized-crime books and two novels. He is the host of a New England-wide radio talk-show syndicated to more than 20 stations, and is a member of the Radio Hall of Fame in Chicago.


  1. Hey Howie don’t forget that Ted’s monopod son is a state legislator for CT now. He has been fighting hard to ban plastic bags at retailers, and to build toll booths to get in, and out of our severely mismanaged sanctuary state of Connecticut.