In a cycle with surprising retirements, maybe Rep. Patrick Kennedy’s will be the most unexpected. Yes, Republican John Loughlin had a shot of knocking him off, but even in a tough year for Democrats, it’s hard to see Patrick Kennedy’s chances at reelection being much less than 50-50. The last time Kennedy was held below 60 percent was 1994. In 2008, Obama carried his district nearly 2-to-1.
No, while it’s possible Patches is a fantastic actor, the tone of his video message is that he’s had enough. He was elected on his family name, and perhaps when you’re the son of Ted Kennedy, it’s impossible to live a life too far from the political arena. We’ve laughed at his numerous gaffes through much of his career, and he’s generated more than his share of embarrassments. Perhaps his problems with substance abuse were a reflection that he was in profession that just didn’t suit him.
Patrick Kennedy ran for reelection even with low approval ratings, while chairing the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and even after bouts in rehab and a guilty plea to DUI. What’s different this year is that Kennedy’s father is not there to urge him to stick around for one more cycle.