RFK Jr.: For They That Sow the Whirlwind Shall Reap the Wind

Now I am going to admit this freely: I respect Robert and Jack Kennedy. Not just a little, but a lot. In fact, if one were to ask me my favorite book on political character, I would respond Profiles in Courage without hesitation. JFK understood what character was and how doing what is right and what is popular are not always the same thing.

RFK Jr. on the other hand seems not to understand either one:

“On March 13, Bush reversed his previous position, announcing he would not back a CO2 restriction using the language and rationale provided by Barbour. Echoing Barbour’s memo, Bush said he opposed mandatory CO2 caps, due to “the incomplete state of scientific knowledge” about global climate change.

Well, the science is clear. This month, a study published in the journal Nature by a renowned MIT climatologist linked the increasing prevalence of destructive hurricanes to human-induced global warming.

Now we are all learning what it’s like to reap the whirlwind of fossil fuel dependence which Barbour and his cronies have encouraged. Our destructive addiction has given us a catastrophic war in the Middle East and–now–Katrina is giving our nation a glimpse of the climate chaos we are bequeathing our children.

In 1998, Republican icon Pat Robertson warned that hurricanes were likely to hit communities that offended God. Perhaps it was Barbour’s memo that caused Katrina, at the last moment, to spare New Orleans and save its worst flailings for the Mississippi coast.

Some might argue this is a case of “too soon,” and I might be willing to grant it. However, facts as they are, this is not only an unfactual opinion piece, it is highly uncharacteristic of the idea I ever held RFK up to.

To reach out and blame Haley Barbour for political gain smacks of the partisanship and boorishness that reminds people of RFK Jr. uncle Ted Kennedy, rather than the statesman-like qualities we remember in JFK and RFK. A very poor way to re-introduce yourself in a time of crisis. I would like to think that RFK Sr. would be on the ground working in Mississippi and Louisiana, or co-ordinating a massive relief effort. That’s what statesmen and leaders of character do.

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