Do they make politicians like this any more?
by Jack Thurston
Last weekend I came across a second-hand vinyl record of Senator Bobby Kennedy interviewed by David Frost. The interview was conducted during RFK’s 1968 Presidential bid which was to end in his assassination in Los Angeles – just hours after winning the California Democratic primary. The record is a fascinating document of a remarkable man at a remarkable moment in American history (audio links below).
Over Christmas I enjoyed watching The Fog of War, a feature length documentary devoted to the life of Robert McNamara, who served as Defense Secretary alongside RFK during the 1960s. RFK comes across as a thoughtful, intelligent, compassionate man, dedicated to making the world a better and safer place for all humanity. He doesn’t exhibit McNamara’s jarring arrogance, although both men clearly possess first rate intellects.
What a difference between these two men and today’s timid, shallow and opinion poll-obsessed political ‘leaders’ who don’t draw breath without consulting an army of advisers and spin doctors. Contrast RFK’s nuanced and sophisticated views on Communism with President Bush’s willfully ignorant ‘War on Terror’. Note his emphasis on nuclear disarmament and increasing opportunities for the poor, both in America and the rest of the world. And which of the current crop of Presidential hopefuls would quote freely from Albert Camus and Aeschylus? Perhaps the question should not be, ‘Why don’t they make them like this anymore?’ but rather we should ask ourselves, ‘Why don’t we, the voters, elect politicians like this any more?’
Listen for yourself, it’ll make you think.