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Max Kennedy goes on somewhat bizarre rant against JB Pritzker during “unity” event

Monday, Feb 26, 2018

* From last September

The son of Robert F. Kennedy has had a criminal charge dismissed after agreeing to pay a small $150 fine.

Max Kennedy, 52, was arrested for disorderly conduct last month when police were called to an early morning party near the political family’s Cape Cod compound in Hyannis Port, Mass.

When confronted about the noise, the lawyer began “screaming incoherently and throwing himself at the wall” before he smashed a cabinet of glass, according to a report from the Barnstable Police.

* Chris Kennedy’s brother Max disputed that police report, but he had a bit of an issue at yesterday’s Kane County Democrats Harry S. Truman Dinner. If you go to about the 1:22-minute mark of this tracker video, you’ll see Kennedy’s relevant remarks partially aimed at fellow attendee JB Pritzker accompanied by some loud booing

* Transcript

My father said, ‘The easiest thing to do would be to get elected President of the United States, you know how you do it? You just, uh, apply directly to peoples’ fears about people who are different. And if you look at the people who voted for George Wallace in 1972, they’re the exact same people in the state of Illinois who were RFK supporters four years earlier. So, that darkness is inside all of us and we’re capable of bringing it out.

When, when JB, when he was running for Congress and he started losing that race, he started losing the race, and he started talking about the Muslims*. That’s the kind of thing I’m talking about. I don’t want to have a negative campaign. But I’ll tell you, absolutely, JB, you’re shaking your hands like it didn’t happen, so that’s a direct answer, yes or no?

So, when you come up here, I want you to say whether or not you’ll support Joe Berrios after he has been convicted, he has been found to have been in violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act**. Will you just answer without doing the Irish jig? [Dances on stage.] Tell us the direct answer to the question. [Booing begins.] Will you support Joe Berrios? [More booing.] It’s an important question to ask. [Someone shouts “Not here!”] Alright, we’ll answer it, we’ll ask it another time.

[Long pause.] So, I’ll tell you what, I’ll tell you just one quick story about my dad. [Another long pause.] You know, I know you guys don’t really want to talk about the difficult things in the Democratic Party. And I know this is a dinner for unity. And I guarantee you, all of us will be back together, all of us will be back together on the 21st no matter who wins this primary. And I’ll be happy to work for the Democrat who wins.

I hope that you will not vote for someone who uses coded language to talk about minorities and that you will not, and you will vote for someone who will stand for what the Democrats believe in. For giving the child a coat***, not for the kinds of corruption and, you know, all the money, all of the money that Joe Berrios is taking, that’s coming out of his, they’re taking almost a million dollars per ward****. That’s a playground for every ward. [One person heard clapping.]

You may not like it, but try to answer the question without dancing, JB. [Some clapping and some booing can be heard as Kennedy leaves the stage.]

After the speech, you can hear Kane County Democratic Party Chairman Mark Guethle start to say: “Alright, first of all, I just want to say this isn’t Chicago, Illinois. This is Kane County, we’re in Aurora, Illinois,” followed by cheering. Guethle, keep in mind, has endorsed Pritzker.

* From the Beacon-News

When he stepped to the stage, Pritzker had something to say to Kennedy.

“Max you may have forgotten your glasses. Are these yours? I am running a positive campaign*****,” Pritzker said to applause. […]

As he was leaving the facility after the event, Pritzker called the incident “unfortunate.”

“I think they are seeing that their campaign isn’t running well so they are attacking,” he said. “That’s what that is about. I am sorry to see that. It’s politics. Hopefully they will come together. We all need to come together to beat Bruce Rauner after March 20th.”

* Footnotes…

*Background is here.

**Chris Kennedy has claimed that the Cook County property tax assessment system violates the Civil Rights Act, but that hasn’t yet been adjudicated.

***A quote from Max Kennedy’s grandmother earlier in the speech: “The essence of the Democratic Party is when we see a child without a coat, we give him a coat.”

****I have no idea what that means. ADDING: With thanks to a couple of commenters, click here for background.

*****Pritzker is not running a positive campaign when it comes to Sen. Daniel Biss.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

29 Comments
  1. - MissingG - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 3:25 pm:

    Rich, I loved the footnotes. I wish you’d do it more often. And to be clear, this is not snark at all


  2. - Soothsayer - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 3:29 pm:

    I was there and to say that Max Kennedy bombed would be a tremendous understatement. Several months ago I was at an event when Emil Jones appeared for Chris Kennedy. Emil Jones, while not as abrasive as Max Kennedy, was also a bust. Chris Kennedy would be wise to stop sending people in his stead. He surely lost votes at both events I attended.


  3. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 3:32 pm:

    The seed weakens.


  4. - 47th Ward - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 3:36 pm:

    I think the “somewhat” in the headline is superfluous.


  5. - vaguely - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 3:36 pm:

    As bad as Max was, he is far better than Chris!


  6. - Century Club - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 3:41 pm:

    I loved the footnotes, too. I wish most political speeches had them.

    I think the million dollars per ward is Pritzker’s spending (roughly $50 million) divided by Chicago’s 50 wards.


  7. - LXB - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 3:41 pm:

    Those last three grafs are, ah, not a story about his dad.


  8. - Anon - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 3:43 pm:

    I think the **** is a reference to the bit of Kennedy’s stump speech about how the difference between the assessed value of the Sears Tower and 800 Lasalle place and the sale price translates to about 50 million extra dollars in property taxes to the city which translates to about 1 million per ward. no idea if its true but I heard Kennedy say it at a 43rd ward town hall-esqu event.


  9. - justAnothergal - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 3:44 pm:

    That quote is rather simple, not sure what’s so difficult to understand.
    “You see someone in need, you help them.”

    Not that Chicago Dems are into that.

    For a billionaire, Pritzker is curiously subservient. First that mess with Blagojevich and now he won’t dare oppose Madison. Not even a teensy bit. Dude, you’re a billionaire. They need your cash more than you need them.

    As for Kennedy’s brother, go back where you came from if you want your brother to win. You don’t have your father’s charisma that was needed to sweeten that speech.


  10. - Fax Machine - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 3:44 pm:

    Chris will never say a bad word about a family member. Remember, he was genuinely disgusted that JB made fun of his sister’s Superior Bank going under on one of the Blago tapes.


  11. - FocusedDem - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 3:46 pm:

    Max did over 200 events around the country for Obama and was one of the first in his family to endorse Obama. He doesn’t need lessons on how to be a democrat.


  12. - Anonymous - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 3:48 pm:

    Chris: “Well tanks a lot for nuttin, MAX”


  13. - Century Club - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 3:48 pm:

    Anon, good catch.

    From NBC…

    Kennedy cited a pair of buildings in Chicago that he says have been fraudulently assessed: the Willis Tower, located in the South Loop, and 300 North LaSalle, located along the Chicago River.

    “(Those) two are so fraudulently under-assessed that a full $50 million a year in tax revenue has gone missing,” he said.


  14. - HyperFocusedDem - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 3:49 pm:

    I have a ton of respect towards the Kennedy brothers for constantly seeing J.B. in public and just going off on him. The Democratic party in this state need reform from top to bottom and they get it.


  15. - justAnothergal - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 3:52 pm:

    P.s - “That quote is rather simple, not sure what’s so difficult to understand.;)

    “It means I’ve bought everyone who was for sale and now I can afford to run a campaign with nothing but sunshine and smiles. And if anyone dares to criticize me, they will boo the guy off the stage.”

    I just wish Kennedy wasn’t so misguided in his campaign and would actually start using his head and find a way to defeat Pritzker. Even Biss is acceptable even though his voting record worries me a tad too much. He’s not as much of a progressive as he pretends to be.


  16. - Anon - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 3:59 pm:

    Thanks Century Club


  17. - wordslinger - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 4:01 pm:

    –And if you look at the people who voted for George Wallace in 1972, they’re the exact same people in the state of Illinois who were RFK supporters four years earlier. –

    RFK was murdered 6/6/1968.

    The 1968 Illinois Dem primary was 6/11/1968 and was won by Gene McCarthy. Sen. Ted Kennedy finished second. George Wallace finished fourth.

    In 1972, Muskie won the Illinois primary, George Wallace was not on the ballot.

    Wallace also was not on the general election ballot.

    https://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=36016

    chrome-extension://bpmcpldpdmajfigpchkicefoigmkfalc/views/app.html


  18. - TKMH - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 4:07 pm:

    ==I have a ton of respect towards the Kennedy brothers for constantly seeing J.B. in public and just going off on him.==

    Let’s be clear here, they’re “going off” on JB because he’s running the campaign they wanted to with the money they wish they raised. A healthy dose of old-money entitlement is also a contributing factor.


  19. - FocusedDem - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 4:08 pm:

    Amazing how many people defend racist behavior when their jobs are perceived to be on the line. Expected better from our own party.


  20. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 4:25 pm:

    Thanks, word, for beating me to the Google. I knew that quote made no sense.


  21. - 44th - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 4:29 pm:

    Can you get JB’s recordings with Blago out of your mind though?, sort of funny him acting like a king maker and worrying about patronage jobs in the sec of states’ office. I have met him a few times, great guy, very engaged, just don’t get the end game for these guys.


  22. - old time golfer - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 4:48 pm:

    For a unity event it didnt seem to be unifying to me.


  23. - Red fish blue fish - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 4:54 pm:

    I appreciate Kennedy’s love and support for his siblings, but come on— Max isn’t doing any favors for Chris.

    For a man with such an appreciation for Illinois’ nuances, it’s amazing that Chris thinks Max could be an appropriate messenger.


  24. - Shytown - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 5:02 pm:

    I guess Chris isn’t the only one in the family who goes off script. Yikes!


  25. - Not the real Joe Maddon - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 5:18 pm:

    Brings back memories of Billy Carter talking on behalf of President Jimmy Carter


  26. - Arsenal - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 5:20 pm:

    ==The Democratic party in this state need reform from top to bottom and they get it.==

    Nothing says “reform” like the campaign using Emil Jones as a surrogate and Bill Daley for fundraising.


  27. - Keyrock - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 6:11 pm:

    Arsenal for the winning three-pointer.
    Exactly right.


  28. - wordslinger - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 6:21 pm:

    –Brings back memories of Billy Carter talking on behalf of President Jimmy Carter–

    You really have to go back in the past for dim-witted family members of presidents? You’ve got the jackpot right now.


  29. - Doris - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 8:08 pm:

    He did more harm than good and embarrassed himself and his brother. And, yes, I was there.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* Reader comments closed until Tuesday
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Tribune asked 16 mayoral candidates to release tax returns, 6 complied
* A rough idea of what they're looking at
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* Rauner was wrong about "record levels" of unionization
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY: Stava-Murray updates
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* Rauner claims he's been too busy to reflect on his term
* Pritzker's day in DC
* *** UPDATED x3 - Morrison wants emergency meeting of ILGOP - McConnaughay explains - Schneider responds *** Rauner says he tried to drop out of race after primary
* Feds re-raid Ald. Burke's office
* *** LIVE COVERAGE ***
* Yesterday's stories

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