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Ted Kennedy's Waning Influence

Last week, I expressed skepticism that Ted Kennedy's endorsement of Barack Obama (along with those of his son Patrick and niece Caroline) would actually matter in the one state where it had the most potential: Massachusetts. It's impossible to say what, exactly, caused Clinton's lead over Obama to fall from 37% two weeks before the primary to the 15% victory she scored yesterday. I imagine the endorsement had some role to play, but that the national momentum Obama had already gained from his South Carolina win played a more decisive role. I don't mean this as an endorsement of Clinton, but it's reassuring to know that Ted Kennedy does not hold the Massachusetts electorate in the thrall that he once did. The Boston Globe's Joan Venochi judged the Massachusetts primary not just a defeat for Obama, but perhaps more importantly "a loss for Kennedy" (not to mention for John Kerry and Deval Patrick, who had also endorsed Obama too).

There are certainly reasons to vote for Barack Obama. But the endorsement of Ted Kennedy and his dopey son is hardly one of them.

--James Kirchick