The Inheritor: Patrick Kennedy -- HE RAISES BIG BUCKS THANKS TO HIS NAME--AND THAT MAKES HIM LEADERSHIP MATERIAL
Dreyfuss, Robert, The Nation
Nine years ago the National Enquirer broke the news that Patrick Kennedy, then 24 and a Rhode Island state legislator, had been a habitual user of cocaine. For the Enquirer, that was business as usual: The weekly had milked Kennedy-family scandals and peccadilloes for decades. So there was an element of irony last year when Kennedy--now a Rhode Island Congressman who, as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, is charged with the responsibility of overseeing the party's drive to retake control of the House of Representatives--jetted down to Palm Beach to solicit a $100,000 contribution from Enquirer heiress Lois Pope. "One of the great joys of my life is meeting people who inspire me," Kennedy said.
For Kennedy, Pope's check was just a drop in a very large bucket. Since the beginning of 1999, Kennedy has led the campaign committee to a record-setting take of $60 million (based on reports through June), mixing an unprecedented flood of soft-money donations from labor with a seemingly endless stream of corporate backers placing bets that the Democrats will recapture the House. And, with $37 million of that total unspent, the DCCC's war chest exceeds that of its Republican counterpart by more than half. Thanks in part to Kennedy's frenetic fundraising pace, the House Democrats' cash on hand is ten times their 1998 total.
Politically savvy but rarely accused of intellectual heft, his speech often tongue-tied and mystified by syntax, his political life succored by unlimited campaign cash and ready access to what he calls "my father's Rolodex," Kennedy would, under other circumstances, be a virtually unknown backbencher. And indeed, he has so far remained mostly invisible to the public at large.
But that could soon change. Should the Democrats win this year, Kennedy will garner much of the credit, and he will take his place in the House on a trajectory that could …
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: The Inheritor: Patrick Kennedy -- HE RAISES BIG BUCKS THANKS TO HIS NAME--AND THAT MAKES HIM LEADERSHIP MATERIAL. Contributors: Dreyfuss, Robert - Author. Magazine title: The Nation. Volume: 271. Issue: 8 Publication date: September 18, 2000. Page number: 18. © 1999 The Nation Company L.P. COPYRIGHT 2000 Gale Group.
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