SEVERE WX : Wind Advisory View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Black Lives Matter. #MeToo. Joe Kennedy III?

Outraged by President Donald Trump's action in office and fueled by the #metoo and Black Lives Matters movements, De...

Posted: Jan 31, 2018 9:43 AM
Updated: Jan 31, 2018 9:43 AM

Outraged by President Donald Trump's action in office and fueled by the #metoo and Black Lives Matters movements, Democrats' liberal base is hugely engaged and activated.

What better time than the Democratic response to Trump's first State of the Union speech on Tuesday night to capitalize on that momentum with a voice from and of those twin movements, right?

Or pick Joe Kennedy III, a white male Massachusetts Democrat and scion to one of the most famous families in American politics.

That's not to say Kennedy wasn't good; "Droolgate" aside, he delivered a solid rebuttal to Trump and cast Democrats as a credible alternative. And it's not to say Kennedy isn't a voice for the future of the party; at 37, he is widely regarded as a rising star who might someday run for president.

It's just to say that, at first glance, he seemed like a somewhat odd pick for this moment.

But, there are lots of extenuating circumstances that went into the Kennedy selection that show just how hard it is to find exactly the right person to deliver the SOTU response. Among them:

1. 2020 politics: The most prominent names within the Democratic party -- Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris etc. -- are all actively thinking about running against Trump. They represent the diverse face that the party wants to put forward. But, to choose any one of them to deliver this very high profile address would look like that person was getting favorable treatment -- and a leg up in the 2020 jockeying. You can be sure that if, say, Gillibrand was chosen to give the Democratic Response, the political operations for Booker, Warren and Sanders would be up in arms. So, none of them wind up even getting considered.

2. Fundraising: A big part of the calculation when choosing who will give the response to President's State of the union speech is how the party's donor base will respond. You need someone people know -- or someone whose name they recognize. You need to turn their frustration in watching Trump's speech into actual dollar contributed to Democratic causes and committee. Whether or not donors know the specifics of Joe Kennedy III's life, they know his last name and like it. That makes it more likely they decide to part ways with their cash.

3. Proven performer: People, most of whom are sitting on their couch in sweats, are convinced that doing this sort of public speaking is easy. All you have to do is read the teleprompter! As we've seen in the recent past -- Marco Rubio's water grab, Bobby Jindal's unwitting "Kenneth the Page" impersonation -- it's a lot harder than it looks, even for people who make a living speaking in front of large numbers of people. Neither party wants to run the risk of a total PR disaster by plucking someone who isn't used to the bright lights of a national address. They want a proven performer; a safe pick is always better than a sorry pick.

When you run all of the prospective Democratic response deliverers through that gauntlet, the number of choices is much more limited. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has an interesting profile but is largely unknown nationally. Ditto Rhode Island's Gina Raimondo, who, nonetheless, would have been an intriguing pick. Virtually every Senate Democrat under 65 is running for -- or thinking about running for -- president. Aside from Nancy Pelosi, who is too divisive a figure to put in the response speaking slot, there just aren't any House members with national profiles.

And so, the duty fell to Joe Kennedy III. He wasn't the perfect pick. But that''s because a perfect pick almost certainly didn't exist.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 74119

Reported Deaths: 905
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah17242236
Washington10347101
Marion9207140
Clackamas616077
Umatilla434349
Lane430942
Jackson382531
Malheur240644
Deschutes236815
Yamhill172916
Linn142423
Polk125016
Douglas93018
Klamath8724
Jefferson83411
Benton7917
Union7826
Morrow6587
Lincoln62215
Josephine5374
Wasco53019
Columbia5063
Coos4253
Hood River4011
Clatsop3600
Baker2813
Crook2296
Curry1352
Grant1341
Lake1321
Tillamook1310
Harney991
Wallowa713
Gilliam230
Sherman230
Wheeler30
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1215455

Reported Deaths: 19151
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles3958437639
San Bernardino930191129
Riverside868541437
San Diego81084997
Orange778191577
Kern41328448
Fresno38288481
Sacramento36905576
Santa Clara34292476
Alameda29476512
San Joaquin25742502
Contra Costa23895261
Stanislaus21714424
Tulare20701308
Ventura19510175
Imperial16019356
San Francisco15450160
Monterey15328121
San Mateo14148170
Sonoma12198157
Merced11688179
Santa Barbara11481135
Kings1109387
Solano1025281
Marin7755129
Placer649768
San Luis Obispo612936
Madera611985
Shasta488247
Yolo482776
Santa Cruz442628
Butte389459
Sutter333216
Napa303317
El Dorado24154
Yuba203610
San Benito188016
Lassen17733
Tehama167825
Mendocino145823
Nevada12729
Tuolumne9818
Glenn9258
Lake92019
Humboldt8509
Colusa7116
Siskiyou6242
Amador56316
Mono5483
Calaveras47822
Del Norte3281
Inyo29016
Plumas2150
Trinity1580
Mariposa1312
Modoc1310
Alpine500
Sierra190
Unassigned00
Medford
Overcast
32° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 27°
Brookings
Overcast
45° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 42°
Crater Lake
Clear
18° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 18°
Grants Pass
Overcast
34° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 34°
Klamath Falls
Clear
18° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 19°
Feels Like: 18°
Few showers on Monday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events