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RFK Jr. and His Right-Wing Allies

He’s a pawn.
May 15, 2023
The RFK Campaign is a MAGA Ratfuck | Not My Party with Tim Miller

[Editor’s note: Watch Not My Party every week on Snapchat.]

Tim Miller: Now Biden has a challenger with a famous name. But is it actually just a right-wing troll?

Sterling Archer (from Archer): Actually, that would not surprise me.

Miller: This is “Not My Party,” brought to you by The Bulwark. Polls show that many in the Democratic party wish that someone—anyone—would challenge Joe Biden for the nomination, mostly because of his age.

News anchor (voiceover): Seventy percent of Americans believe he is too old.

Yoda (Frank Oz in Return of the Jedi): When 900 years old you reach, look as good, you will not.

Joe Biden: Give a break, man.

Miller: And yet, party poohbahs have all stood by their man. But now a challenger with a legit Democratic pedigree has decided to jump in the ring: Robert F. Kennedy Jr.—that’s right, JFK’s nephew.

Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler on Parks and Recreation): American royalty!

Miller: Now there’s plenty of Kennedy progeny in politics—they are Catholic after all—but Bobby Jr., he’s a little bit different than his kin. Here’s the backstory. The son of RFK and Ethel, he was in high school when his father was assassinated. A couple years later, he made news when he was tagged by the pigs for pot possession.

Dr. Brian (Jordan Peele on Childrens Hospital): Righteous.

Miller: After college, he became a lawyer and specialized in environmental issues, fighting to protect waterways and green energy and go after big polluters. So on the surface, a 69-year-old tree-hugging Kennedy might seem like a good fit for a primary.

Mazikeen (Lesley-Ann Brandt on Lucifer): Sounds too good to be true.

Miller: But in his golden years, RFK has taken an interesting turn. In 2016, he founded an anti-vaccine group that pushed the conspiracy that these injections are actually evil and lead to brain disorders.

Steve Smith (from American Dad): Um, what?

Miller: In 2017, he was named the head of a vaccine safety task force in the Trump administration. But it’s unclear what, if anything, that task force actually did besides spread misinformation.

Robert “Granddad” Freeman (from The Boondocks): Not a damn thing.

Miller: So when COVID hit, RFK was right in the eye of the culture-war storm over vaccines. He compared Biden’s vax support to Nazi Germany. And he claimed that the COVID vaccines were medical racism and the new apartheid—which delighted Trumpers.

Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini on The Sopranos): Well, naturally.

Miller: And RFK’s anti-vax craziness isn’t his only separation from Biden. On foreign policy, he has evolved from anti-war left to anti-Deep-State right. He’s gone on far-right MAGA news outlets to spread lies about the surveillance state and attack the Biden administration’s valiant assistance for Ukraine.

Raj Koothrappali (Kunal Nayyar on The Big Bang Theory): Seems a little paranoid.

Miller: And as part of that, he hasn’t been shy about advancing blatantly false Russian propaganda like this.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.: We should have listened to Putin over many years.

Miller: Throughout all this, RFK has become kind of a mythical figure on the online MAGA right. They love the chance to use a famous Democrat to trigger the libs and their Ukraine-flag-emoji and jab-taking nonsense.

Kyle Broflovski (from South Park): Such über pwnage.

Miller: As a result, he began to find himself in league with some of the right’s slimiest grifters. He was invited to make frequent appearances on Steve Bannon’s podcast, and he hung out with Roger Stone and Trump national security advisor–turned–coup-plotting lunatic Michael Flynn.

Peter Griffin (from Family Guy): Yuck.

Miller: Which explains how we really got to this primary. RFK is pretending like he’s offering a populist Bernie-style primary from the left, but really, it’s a Tulsi Gabbard drag-king act masterminded by the Bannon/Stone ratfuckers on the right. They see RFK not as a legitimate candidate but as a Trojan horse in their goal to damage Biden and get Trump back in the White House. To them, RFK is just a pawn. And in fact, it’s the exact same playbook as when they found Obama’s brother in Africa and paid him to support Trump in 2016 over Hillary Clinton.

Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool): Total dick move.

Miller: A left-wing campaign focusing on issues that Democrats actually care about rather than vaccine paranoia and Russophilia might be worth watching given Biden’s shaky poll state. But this ain’t that.

Alexandra Kirkman (Natascha McElhone on Designated Survivor): That’s just not who he is.

Miller: And if the Dems aren’t careful, these right-wing ratfuckers might bite off just enough to draw blood.

Chef Skinner (from Ratatouille): The whole thing is highly suspect!

Miller: We’ll see you next week for more “Not My Party.” Jokic forever.

Tim Miller

Tim Miller is The Bulwark’s writer-at-large and the author of the best-selling book Why We Did It: A Travelogue from the Republican Road to Hell. He was previously political director for Republican Voters Against Trump and communications director for Jeb Bush 2016.