RFK Jr. speaks on climate without pontificating

“Truly appeals to the American political middle”

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speaks at Ethan Allen Institute dinner last night. John Klar photo

by John Klar

The 2023 summer solstice was marked in the Green Mountains of Vermont by a somewhat incongruous visit by Democrat Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Addressing an audience of some 200 enthusiastic supporters on June 21 in Burlington, Mr. Kennedy’s subject for the evening centered on industrial pollution and his plans to improve energy efficiency through free markets. But Vermont’s hills did not reverberate with approving liberal cheers for these sensible policy proposals: nary a Democrat was in attendance.

Bernie Sanders did not introduce the fast-rising Dem hopeful from Camelot; Peter Welch did not extend a red carpet. The event that platformed Kennedy was organized and hosted by the rather libertarian-leaning Ethan Allen Institute, an educational think tank focusing on free markets, individual liberty, and constitutional integrity. Kennedy’s unconventional 2024 Presidential campaign thus found a Vermont welcome in an unexpected forum.

Ethan Allen Institute has maintained its non-partisan posture throughout three decades of policy analysis and research. A recent EAI event featured famed columnist George F. Will, and was largely attended by conservatives. A different cross-section of Vermonters gathered for RFK’s visit, hinting at the possibility of a growing alliance of populist support for an authentic maverick.

Speaking energetically in the low-ceilinged event room, Mr. Kennedy engaged the smilingly attentive crowd with a history of his legal battles against large industrial polluters challenging PCBs that tainted the Hudson River, and coal-burning plants that polluted the country with mercury. Mr. Kennedy’s passion and confident optimism held the room even for those who might disagree: there was no doubting the intensity of his sincerity.

Tellingly, RFK, Jr. did not pontificate about greenhouse gasses, or condemn Republicans for climate change. He instead focused on the nonpartisan consensus that toxic chemicals are destroying the ecosystem, and the free market forces that must be harnessed to compel polluters to internalize the true environmental costs of their products. Kennedy made an accurate case that protecting environmental resources can be accomplished without sacrificing economic growth. The standing ovation that followed suggested his closing argument hit home.

The salient appeal of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is that he truly appeals to an American political middle. He calls out the woke totalitarianism that has infested culture and government, ensuring he is anathema to the Far Left. Yet he adheres to traditional liberal positions such as renewable energy manufacturing, and appeals to conservatives disenchanted with Donald Trump (and his infamous tweets!). And juxtaposed with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, Kennedy highlights the corrupt incompetence of the bumbling incumbents.

Kennedy is making the podcast rounds to outflank the efforts of MSM to deplatform and cancel him, and he is winning that battle. Demonstrating himself to be an artful, passionate and eminently qualified candidate, his visit to Vermont portends a riveting 2024 election season for Americans. Traveling to deep-Blue Green Mountain country, hosted by libertarians, discussing climate in ways that woo even conservatives: that’s an odd duck in any pond.

Democrats are deer-in-Vermont-headlights dumbfounded about how to silence this guy from exposing their perfidy. Efforts to slander him over his vaccine record invite platforms to ….discuss vaccines—not at all what Biden and Democrats wish to do, as recent exchanges between Joe Rogan and Dr. Peter Hotez demonstrate.

Fact is, Kennedy is a hard man for Dems to discredit. No Chappaquiddick; no crotch-grabbing videos; decades of virtuous environmental battles; he wears the Kennedy family martyr mantle—John F Kennedy remains an American icon even among conservatives. Efforts by liberal pundits to discredit Kennedy are circus-like, even laughable. The corrupt Left has no credibility trying to blemish a traditional Democrat. And, their usual playbook is bereft of options—they can’t simply call him a racist or homophobe, as they do with conservatives.

The eclectic Vermont crowd at Wednesday’s Ethan Allen Institute dinner reflects a centrist mass of awakening voters, fed up with betrayals by the absentee Dem elites; eager for a moderate with brains and mettle; rebelling against extremist agitation on both the far left and right. RFK, Jr. has a low bar to clear in competence and integrity, to rally Americans from all walks of life like a snowball gathering tonnage as it crashes down a Vermont mountainside in January.

That’s some political climate change that everyone can believe in.

Republished from American Thinker and the author’s Substack column, Small Farm Republic.

Categories: Commentary

10 replies »

  1. If Mr. Klar’s description is indeed accurate — then RFK Jr. has absolutely no chance of becoming president. He wouldn’t even be able to snag a seat in the Vermont legislature.

  2. It is note worthy that there was political variation in the room. From the back of the room, RFKJr’s remarks were eliciting contrasting bursts of applause from different tables. I’d infer that the fan girl commotion to get pictures with the star suggests there were re-awakening democrats in the mix. The Ethan Allen Institute has again been a service to the community. (minor quibble Mr. Klar: there were significantly more than 200 folks in the room.)

  3. Put Hillary in charge of ” never RFK Jr.”, tell the FBI that Russia is behind the plot to dump Sleepy Joe and it’s a lock that RFK Jr. will fold like a wet noodle

  4. Interesting. I’ve read some stuff on FPF and the haters are out for blood. While one dismissed him because he’s a straight white dude, others are incensed over his stand on vaxes, particularly COVID. People were posting their fealty to the Covid vax, all ten or however many shots they’ve gotten. So I doubt very much that there will be enough Democrats willing to vote for someone who dared tell the truth about Fauci, Pharma and Covid. True, this is VT but a quick check of the insanity in other blue states shows the same pattern.

  5. Let’s face it, RFK Jr is, as were his father (RFK) and uncle (JFK) more of a 1960s democrat than a 2024 demonrat. Were JFK and RFK around today, their views would be referred to as Republican. My, how times change.

    Someone had the absolutely brilliant idea of a Trump-RFK Jr ticket for 2024. That would absolutely bring the republican centrists to vote for them, as well as a good chunk of democrats disillusioned with today’s demonrat party and those old enough to remember JFK and RFK.

    Preposterous? I think not. After all, Trump and JFK Jr were the best of friends. Trump’s and RFK Jr’s views are in fact very similar. Plus, one’s weak points are the other’s strong points.

    I would venture to say that such a “bi-partisan” ticket would win in such a landslide that the 2024 election couldn’t possibly be rigged as much as 2020.

    But try they will. You and I both know that.

    • I’ve thought of the same possibility of what would be a dream ticket: Trump and Kennedy! Is it too good to be true?
      Could they save us from this nightmarish turn our culture has taken?
      Maybe something hopeful?
      Hope so.

      Kudos to John Klar on a great article

    • I like how you think. Beat ’em at their own game is a good part of that strategy as well.

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