The RFK Jr. Tapes, by David Samuels

A long, but interesting and revealing look at RFK Jr. From David Samuels at

The Democratic presidential candidate and America’s most prominent ‘conspiracy theorist’ talks about his family, the military-pharmaceutical complex, and our new system of social control

I first met Bobby Kennedy Jr. when he showed up one summer afternoon in 1976 at the door of my ordinary suburban home in the company of a friend from Harvard named Peter Shapiro, who was running for a seat in the New Jersey State Assembly. I was 9 years old, and not particularly thrilled about our family’s recent move from Brooklyn to a street of empty suburban lawns whose nearest point of interest was a candy store a mile or so down a steep hill. The two polite, handsome young men in navy blazers, both in their 20s and well over 6 feet tall, promised a whiff of something different.

I don’t recall if I had any idea that the young Bobby Kennedy’s uncle had been president, or that his father had run for president; as a first-generation American, I knew that important people went to Harvard, and being a Kennedy was like being a movie star. The two young men on my doorstep, politely asking if my parents were home, immediately appealed to my i”magination as connections to a world that I hadn’t seen before, but which might be fun. So I gladly took them to Tory Corners, the Irish working-class district nearby, and spent the rest of the afternoon handing out buttons and leaflets for the Shapiro for Assembly campaign.

Peter won that race, and a year later, at the age of 26, he ran for the newly created job of Essex County Executive, and he won that race too, becoming something of a rising figure in national Democratic politics—a future Jewish president, even. In 1984, he won the Democratic nomination for governor before losing in a landslide to the popular Republican incumbent Tom Kean, effectively ending his political career. In between, though, I became something of an in-house mascot—the joke being that I was the only person involved in Peter’s campaigns who was younger than the candidate.

For his part, Peter graciously embraced his role as my patron, offering me summer jobs in the County Executive’s office, writing me a letter of recommendation to his alma mater, and hooking me up with a job in Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s office in Washington. The highlight of my employment there was the week I spent with my friend RJ, a sophomore at the University of Massachusetts, scrubbing the senator’s house in McLean, Virginia, from top to bottom—in preparation for what turned out to be a party celebrating the 20th anniversary of the John F. Kennedy Library. The guest list for the event consisted of the extended Kennedy family, including the late president’s widow, who was remarkably friendly and kind; a few of the senator’s drinking buddies, including Sens. John Tunney and Chris Dodd; House Speaker Tip O’Neill; President Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy; and me and RJ. Having acquainted ourselves with the lay of the land, RJ and I then returned to the senator’s house late one night with two fellow interns and some bottles of Andre sparkling wine and got drunk in his hot tub, an act that the senator would have no doubt got a kick out of. When I call myself a Kennedy Democrat, those are among my reasons.

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