Sen. John Kennedy, elected as a Republican from the state of Louisiana in 2016, appears on cable news a lot. Followers of the medium might have noticed his evolution from comically folksy truth-teller in the early years of his tenure to his recent emergence as an zealous pro-Trumper — with populist posturing and Russian conspiracies to boot.
Conservative columnist Quin Hillyer went to school with Sen. Kennedy. The pair were fellows in the same class at the Loyola University New Orleans Institute of Politics in 1990. In a new column for the Washington Examiner, Hillyer explains to those unfamiliar with Kennedy’s career that he is simply “a habitual shape-shifter.”
What’s more, that whimsical accent Kennedy uses to deploy metaphors that simply can’t exist? Hillyer says it’s made up:
Kennedy had a mild Southern accent but still sounded rather patrician, befitting his record both at Oxford and as former executive editor of the University of Virginia’s Law Review. His folksy, exaggerated Southern-cornpone accent now is an affectation, mere political theater to stand out among the Senate’s bevy of stuffed shirts. It’s about as authentic as a cow in a camel costume.
Our good Oxford boy has also shape-shifted his ideology, writes Hillyer. A political centrist at Loyola, he moved to the right as revenue commissioner for a conservative Louisiana governor. Then, he “swung hard left” to run as a liberal Democrat for Louisiana senate in 2004. He even endorsed John Kerry. Four years later, he was back on the right, “to challenge incumbent Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu’s reelection bid.” By 2016, he was “finally” elected to Senate as a moderate conservative. Now, he does this.
“It may be that the real Kennedy is nothing but a phony,” Hillyer concludes. Read the piece here.
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]