Visionary Leader

Especially interesting to American political history buffs like me is this interview of Robert Kennedy by the BBC’s David Frost in 1968, shortly before Kennedy was assassinated, posted by JackHurston under the headline, “Do they make politicians like this anymore?” Now on Youtube.com

Frost, you may remember, did the classic interview with Richard Nixon, which was made into the movie, “Frost/Nixon.”

After RFK’s death, this interview was often cited, poignantly, as an example of his vulnerability and depth. But listening to it now I am struck by how UNPRACTICED and VULNERABLE RFK seems with a member of the broadcast media, unrehearsed if not inarticulate. A political candidate today who seems so UNREHEARSED, so vulnerable, so untrained by media relations professionals, who doesn’t STICK TO TALKING POINTS and think in advance what the answers to reporters’ questions will be, and think in advance what the full consequences of his answers to his “image” would be hounded out of the race, indeed out of national politics. The fast-paced, too media-savvy, brutal political culture today simply does not have the time or the tolerance for a candidate like RFK who would evince such angst and vulnerability in public.

I’m afraid the answer to Thurston’s question is, “No, they don’t make politicians like RFK any more, but the fault, dear Brutus, is not so much in the stars as in ourselves.”

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