Why Obama Is No JFK

Comparisons fail to note fellow senator's experience on world stage
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 8, 2008 5:10 PM CST
Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., accompanied by Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill, left, and Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., talk with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington in this Feb. 1, 2007 file photo. (AP Photo/Manuel...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The election of a charismatic 43-year-old president nearly a half-century ago may indeed represent a precedent for Barack Obama's upstart candidacy, but Ted Widmer notes in Washington Monthly that JFK had something Barack can’t boast: a substantial foreign policy record. Born into world affairs, Kennedy was in the room when the Munich Agreement was debated and when the United Nations was formed.

Obama is in charge of the Senate’s Europe subcommittee but hasn’t held a single policy-oriented hearing or been to the Continent since his political career began. A Boston Globe editorial credited him with an “intuitive sense of the wider world” from his years as a child in Indonesia, but, Widmer notes, George Bush's "intuition" has led to some of the worst foreign policy disasters of his administration.