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    Kathleen Kennedy Townsend Is No Jack Kennedy

    Kathleen Kennedy Townsend Is No Jack Kennedy

    I’m trying really, really hard not to take the bait.  I promised you I would be better next time.

    At least I’ve recognized that I have a problem, which is the first step, right?

    You see, the thing is, I just enjoy it too much, so I can’t stay away.  So rather than fighting it anymore, I’m going to give in just this once…

    … and respond to the latest anti-Palin derangement.

    Kathleen Kennedy Townsend writing in The Washington Post proves that she is no Jack Kennedy by writing that Palin not only is no Jack Kennedy, but is trying to pick a fight with Jack.  

    The supposed fight picking is that Palin questioned in her latest book whether Jack should have “reconciled” his faith and public life rather than acting as if the two could be completely separated from each other.  (See Kennedy speech embedded below.) 

    Here is a clip of the speech at issue:


    As is often the case with Palin haters, Townsend uses extrapolation and exaggeration to create a strawman argument that Palin “seems to challenge a great American tradition, enshrined in the Constitution, stipulating that there be no religious test for public office.” 

    But nothing from Palin’s book as quoted by Townsend supports the conclusion that Palin was making such an argument, so Townsend is doing what Obama does so well, knocking down arguments which have not been made. 

    If Townsend disagreed with Palin’s point, then Townsend could have dealt with it on the merits, not by setting the issue up falsely as an attack by Palin on Jack, or as a demand by Palin that there be a “religious test” for public life.  These are just headline grabbing devices.

    As quoted by Townsend, Palin says that she at first agreed with the tenor of Jack’s speech, but has come to feel that perhaps it was too defensive.

    Palin simply is reflecting changes in our public life and attitudes towards religion.  The America of 2010 simply isn’t the same America as in 1960, when it was controversial that a Catholic run for President.  Our Supreme Court now doesn’t even have a Protestant on it.

    Palin is in the same place on this issue, in practice, as is Obama.  Obama during the 2008 campaign Obama went to Rick Warren’s church for an extensive interview about his faith. 


    To be willing to discuss and “reconcile” one’s faith with public service is not setting up a “religious test” as Townsend claims.  That dichotomy is intellectually simplistic.

    Perhaps Townsend should follow the lead of Charles Blow in The NY Times who insists that he never, ever is going to mention Palin’s name again unless and until she declares her candidacy for president.  Because Palin has this mesmerizing power over NY Times’ columnists, Blow needed to declare his boycott openly, perhaps so that external pressures and fear of humiliation will keep him from straying. 

    Good luck with that, Charlie.  And Kathy.

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