Patrick Kennedy abruptly announced tonight he would not be seeking re-election this fall.
An incumbent politician only withdraws from an election if a) he is in trouble (i.e. family, legal, etc) or b) if he is going to lose the election. Given Kennedy's public battles with alcoholism over the years one would have to conclude it is the latter rather than the former.
Of course, the AP dismissed the notion that Republican John Loughlin stood any chance of defeating Kennedy this fall. Their reasoning? Registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans in Rhode Island by a four to one margin. Yet a poll commissioned by WPRI-TV in Providence late last month indicated that six out of ten registered voters in Rhode Island would either vote for or consider voting for Loughlin.
How else does one explain Kennedy's animosity toward newly minted Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown? Last week, Kennedy called the candidacy of his father's successor "a joke." I'm sure the fact some of Brown's campaign personnel are now working for Loughlin contributed to that observation.
Kennedy's abrupt exit is also latest evidence the Kennedy name no longer possesses the reverence it once held. Lest we forget Caroline Kennedy's less than stellar performance during her short-lived bid to be appointed junior Senator from New York.