Posted by PrestoPundit on 05/27/2008

recounted in Vanity Fair:

As Kennedy began [to speak at Kansas State U.), his voice cracked, and those near the stage noticed his hands trembling and his right leg shaking.

After praising [Al] Landon’s distinguished career, he said, “I am also
glad to come to the home state of another great Kansan, who wrote, ‘If
our colleges and universities do not breed men who riot, who rebel, who
attack life with all their youthful vision and vigor then there is
something wrong with our colleges. The more riots that come on college
campuses, the better the world for tomorrow.
‘?” ..

At first he seemed tentative and wooden, stammering and repeating
himself, too nervous to punctuate his sentences with gestures. But with
each round of applause he became more animated. Soon he was pounding
the lectern with his right fist, and shouting out his words.

Rene Carpenter watched the students in the front rows. Their faces
shone, and they opened their mouths in unison, shouting, “Yeah! Yeah!

Hays Gorey, of Time, called the electricity between Kennedy
and the K.S.U. students “real and rare” and said that ” .. John Kennedy … himself couldn’t
be so passionate, and couldn’t set off such sparks.”

Kevin Rochat was close to weeping because Kennedy was so direct and honest. He kept telling himself, My God! He’s saying exactly what I’ve been thinking! ..

Kennedy concluded by saying, “Our country is in danger: not just
from foreign enemies; but above all, from our own misguided
policies–and what they can do to the nation that Thomas Jefferson once
said was the last, great hope of mankind. There is a contest on, not
for the rule of America but for the heart of America. In these next
eight months we are going to decide what this country will stand
for–and what kind of men we are.”

He raised his fist in the air so it resembled the revolutionary
symbol on posters
hanging in student rooms that year, promised “a new
America,” and the hall erupted in cheers and thunderous applause.

As he started to leave, waves of students rushed the platform,
knocking over chairs and raising more dust. They grabbed at him,
stroking his hair and ripping his shirtsleeves. Herb Schmertz was left
with a lifelong phobia of crowds. University officials opened a path to
a rear exit, but Kennedy waved them off and waded into the crowd ..



  1. Bobby Kennedy’s Fascist Moment

    Found via Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism blog, PrestoPundit quotes this excerpt from Vanity Fair’s recent cover story on RFK:As Kennedy began [to speak at Kansas State U.], his voice cracked, and those near the stage noticed his hands trembling and…

  2. daninkansas said

    Dear Mr. PP,

    What I remember (from reading) RFK’s 1968 Landon lecture at Kansas State University is the perennial liberal notion that our enemies are reasonable people like us. In an echo of today’s left, he assured the audience that we could successfully negotiate an end to the war with the North Vietnamese.

    Dan Schnittker
    Manhattan, Kansas

    • jim roberts said

      After reading the comment from Dan Schnittker, I believe he has has spent waaaay too much time fishing for monster catfish in Kansas to leave such a ludicrous statement about RFK.

  3. M Ryan said

    It made me think about how easy it is to lead young people who are still in rebel mode into a frenzy over a concept when it is stated with enough enthusiam.

  4. Bonnie And Clyde Was The Most Important Text Of The New Left”

    Or, maybe they just thought Faye Dunaway looked smokin’ hot brandishing a .38 snubnose in her cashmere sweater and beret. Making the rounds to promote his new book Nixonland, Rick Perlstein tells Reason:reason: You like to mix cultural history with…

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