Robert Kennedy, Bobby and Martin Luther King discussed on Diane Rehm: On My Mind


Hi coach to here. I hope you enjoying on my mind and I also hope you checking out the co. Joel numb de show connect the dots between events happening in Washington, Maryland, and Virginia, through conversations with politicians artists chefs the list goes on. You can listen to our podcast on demand by subscribing on your favorite podcast app. So you never miss an episode and we're back. Doubts I spoke with journalists can alter Evan Thomas about his book, Robert Kennedy, his life Kennedy was known as a champion at simple rights. And one of the stories people can tell is about how in nineteen sixty. He got Martin Luther King released from prison. Good morning, Evan. It's good to see you a dime. Tom is story is a bit more complicated than people think and helps us to better understand Kennedy. This is very interesting story is whole legend that grew up that this is terribly important by by letting Martin Luther by getting Martin Luther King released from Cheo in the fall of nineteen sixty. The Kennedys won the black vote and change politics forever. The block vote had been Republican and by winning the black vote. Arguably the Kennedys won the nineteen sixty election and they did. It it by getting king out jail with a myth was Bobby Kennedy. King had been held on some minor frivolous ridiculous charge. And the legend was that Bobby a moment of moral impetuosity picked up the phone call the judge and said release them. Well, body was morally impetuous, but that's not all that was going on by any means. It turns out that he called the governor of Georgia, Jack, and bobby's spoke to the governor of Georgia and fix the deal to get out and the governor of Georgia who was a governor Vancouver who was a segregationist, didn't want anybody to know that he was doing this. He just wanted to make the embarrassment go away. Didn't wanna have a fractious seen. So he play ball with the Kennedys and it was the governor who told the judge to let to let king out. So it wasn't just this sudden moment of picking up the phone and saying, you know you doing the wrong thing. Judge it was much more politically connived than done through a Pakistani. Well, but are you saying that Bobby. He felt it would be politically expedient, yes, for him for his brother for the election. I think the real point is that he felt both things Bobby. The key to understanding Bobby Kennedy is that it's possible for human beings to be good and bad, to be honest and devious all at once. You don't have to be all of one thing and Bobby was particularly a mixed bag. Ultimately, I think for the better this is a sympathetic Bogra fee. I think Bobby Kennedy was in many ways. A great man who kept on trying and and did a lot of good things, but he had a pretty rough side to them. And this is an illustration of he. He thought it was politically expedient to get king out of jail, partly so they wouldn't just have some awful showdown, which Nixon would come down at posture and Kennedy's would be seen to be siding with a segregationist, keeping him in jail. It was a political side to that. And at the same time, there was just a moral feeling that king was getting a bad deal and that that wasn't fair. But you know, as you say that, it seems to me. Me that every single important decision that an elected official makes were candidate makes is performance based on that kind of, you know, Marl decision on the one side, political decision, whatever works. Let's do suppose that's true. One thing about the Kennedys is everything they do is slightly larger than life. Yeah, it is June while you're saying generally true the Kennedys on such a grain scale. Now, what kind of a campaign do you think Bobby, right? A fascinating. Wonderful campaign, especially compared to today's rather over polled overcautious. I am part of the problem presses part of the problem, but Bobby ran a very kind of emotional l. mellow campaign. In fact, this is interesting the head to toe it down. Bobby was so effective at getting people to go crazy in the streets that they, they wrote intentionally dull speeches for him so that he wouldn't make the crowd go to nuts. I mean, Hugh matching today politician having to tone down is because the crowd was too and Theakston. I mean, this seem so like an antithesis to his own personnel to, but people sensed in Bobby vulnerability. We talked about often Tissot again, they could people could feel in Bobby Kennedy that he had a genuine empathy for the even though. But they could sense in his halting manner in his quavering voice, and it's kind of mournful countenance and in the kind of fire that you could sort of feel within that he was the real thing that he really did care about him. And that was true that he did. I mean, they, they weren't imagining something.

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