Peter Flaherty, the conservative activist, sees another connection that l inks Kennedy's and Clinton's political prospects. "I think Ted's personal lifestyle difficulties have played into his reputation among conservatives," he says. "They see his lifestyle as something they don't like. It's the same thing with Clinton. If Al Gore were pushing those same policies, he wouldn't draw the same opposition."
Both Clinton and Kennedy, for example, have been branded immoral by the religious right for their sexual behavior. In effect, the right wing's personal attacks on Clinton and Kennedy are attacks on anyone who participated in the sexual revolution, or has a lifestyle that reflects a morality different from that of fundamentalist Christians. Clinton and Kennedy are bonded by more than mere policy: it's likely that Clinton, whose earliest hero was JFK, also feels an affinity with Kennedy because they are linked by their fiercest critics.
These factors, personal and policy, may explain the frequent campaign appearances by the president, his wife, the vice-president, and other administration officials in Massachusetts this year, and even before this campaign began. As Joe Moakley notes, "Ted's got the ear of the president. That's very important for Massachusetts. I think Clinton's spent more time in this state than he has in any other."
Just as Kennedy needs Clinton to win over younger voters who are unfamiliar with his history, Clinton needs Kennedy to enact his legislative priorities. Both of their political futures may thus be decided by Massachusetts voters on November 8.
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