Thirty-two years and eight presidential campaigns after Robert Kennedy was killed, the what-ifs are still irresistible. If he’d won the 1968 campaign, we’d remember a Vice President Nixon sketchily from the 1950s and Watergate not at all. What if he’d really wanted to know, and tell the rest of us: “Who killed JFK?” What if he had lived to resolve the transition where his new biographer Evan Thomas puts him: “an unpromising boy who died as he was becoming a great man.”
At the close of a Bush-Gore race with no heroic pretensions about it, a new biography of Robert Kennedy revives the Rohrshach romance of a black-and-white figure into whom we could project almost anything: a man who “hates like me,” his father said, and who embraced the weak, who lionized warriors and turned against the Vietnam war, the chancellor to an empire who thought of himself as a child, a man who died mid-passage to maturity at 43. RFK reexamined is this hour on the Connection.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)
Evan Thomas, author of “Bobby Kennedy: A Life”