Forty years ago, John F. Kennedy stood at the podium of a Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles and summoned a new generation to the forefront of American politics. His symbol was his old Navy patrol boat, PT-109, and the enlisted men and young officers of the Good War, flush with the confidence earned in their victory overseas and the prosperity of the 1950s, were aiming to take over at home. Eleanor Roosevelt represented the old guard that year, leading a nostalgic fight to bring back Adlai Stevenson for one last presidential run. Chicago's Mayor Richard J. Daley also came and placed his bet on Kennedy, the alliance that would ultimately swing the election to JFK.
This week the Democrats are back in Los Angeles for the first time since 1960, and they will issue their claim on the future with a self-conscious homage to the glorious past. Los Angeles itself was chosen for the coming-out ceremony as an act of historical symmetry. Al Gore will check in to the Biltmore, where Kennedy stayed. JFK's baby-boomer daughter, Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, will deliver a key speech linking past with present.
Other Kennedys will be everywhere--from elder statesman Ted to his son U.S. Rep. Patrick; from Maryland's rising star Kathleen Kennedy Townsend to young Max, who is getting his feet wet by managing Uncle Ted's re-election campaign.
The generational echoes don't stop there. Gore's campaign chairman is none other than Bill Daley, son of The Mayor. Lady Bird Johnson still evokes the ambitions of the Great Society, Jesse Jackson the passions of the '60s civil-rights movement. And like the Kennedys, they have sons and daughters ready to define the next generation.
William Daley and William Daley Jr. :Campaign Gurus
The Daleys of Chicago know how to play politics. Former Commerce secretary William has been behind several winning campaigns: brother Richard M.'s 1989 bid to reclaim his legendary father's mayoralty, Clinton's 1992 Illinois effort and the NAFTA vote. This summer he's been reviving the vice president's campaign. And look out for the next generation. William Jr., 28, helped Patrick Kennedy get elected. This fall he's planning to take a leave of absence from Fannie Mae to volunteer for Gore.
Walter and Ted Mondale: Former VP and Minnesota politician
Walter Mondale's career took him far from Minnesota: the Senate, the vice president's mansion, the ambassador's home in Japan. Son Ted decided to stay in the Gopher State. The ex-state senator lost a 1998 primary (to Hubert Humphrey's son), but Jesse Ventura asked Mondale to head a key regional …