Sean Bielat, a former Marine with a business background, is running for Congress in Massachusetts’ fourth district against a novice Democrat with less than three years of experience in the real world.
If the Democrat’s last name were not “Kennedy,” Bielat, the Republican, would be close to victory in the final stages of the race. Despite all of the advantages Joe Kennedy III, has received because of his last name, a Kennedy victory is far from assured. The Massachusetts Democratic Party has put in resources into the race to help Kennedy during a time when Democrat Elizabeth Warren needs every bit of help she can get against Republican Sen. Scott Brown. The Bielat/Kennedy race may be closer than people think.
But the mainstream media — and especially those in Washington, D.C. — has been giddy about Joe Kennedy, and are assuming Kennedy will cruise to victory and have been making plans to anoint him as the next leader of their fable Camelot.
“Now is the time to nip it in the bud,” Bielat told Breitbart News. “If Kennedy gets elected to Congress, we are going to see a couple decades of someone voting and acting like Kennedys have and that’s to everyone’s detriment not just in Massachusetts but across the United States.”
But a Kennedy victory is far from assured, as the entitled candidate has largely avoided public events in the district so that his lack of knowledge about current affairs and qualifications are not exposed.
During their final debate, an audience questioner asked Kennedy: “If your name were Joseph Patrick, Mr. Kennedy, and not Joseph Patrick Kennedy, based on your life experiences, would not your campaign be a joke?”
Bielat was just as blunt when he said directly to Kennedy during their second debate: “I don’t think in any other state, in any other district in the country, people would consider you qualified for this office.”
Bielat, with his national security and business background, is as qualified to lead on economic and foreign policy issues as Kennedy is not.
Bielat has a Masters of Public Policy in International Security from Harvard and a degree from the Wharton School of Business. He says voters are most concerned about jobs and the economy but, with more attention on the Middle East, it is also important to have people in Washington who have experience in foreign affairs and Bielat, a former Marine who is now in the Reserves, has extensive experience on that front as well.
When voters hear about Bielat’s background and how attentive he has been to the concerns of voters he has met on the trail (Bielat has talked about how voters in the district have brought up student loan debt as a big issue), Bielat says voters who had not heard of him tend to start trending toward him. His campaign is better organized than Kennedy’s and the race is a “dead heat” among undecided voters in the district.
Bielat said the district has changed “substantially” since 2010 and the generic registration gap between the two parties has closed by 6 points while the number of independents has gone up by two points. In 2010, Bielat gave then-incumbent Rep. Barney Frank one of the toughest challenges of his political career, which set Bielat up to be just or even more competitive in 2012 against Kennedy.
Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown is also from Bielat’s district as are nearly a fifth of all of the Republicans elected to the Massachusetts House. In addition, there is less enthusiasm for Obama in Massachusetts in 2012 than there was in 2008, and voters who are familiar with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, whose candidacy is a net positive for Bielat in the polls, do not reflexively hate the Republican presidential candiate. This means if the race is close, Kennedy will not benefit voters who turn out to enthusiastically vote for or against the top of the ticket, which advantages Bielat.
And while the press is fascinated with the Kennedy name, it is actually a non-factor among voters in the district. In fact, the Kennedy name is a slight detriment, perhaps because Kennedy moved into the district weeks before he announced his candidacy. Bielat said roughly five percent of voters in the district say they are voting for Kennedy based on his last name and 10% say they are voting against the Kennedy name.
Kennedy’s last name has helped him nationally, as he has been able to raise money because the fawning out-of-state media has given him more coverage than his resume warrants. But even with his family’s vast network of fundraisers and political connections, Bielat says Kennedy hasn’t moved in the polls.
And this is why Kennedy has deliberately avoided public forums, events and even radio shows that would make him susceptible to unscripted moments even though he has found the time to fundraise for national Democrats like Nancy Pelosi, the ultra-liberal San Francisco Democrat who is the House Minority Leader. The more people in the district interact with Kennedy the more they seem to dislike him.
Bielat said voters in the district “don’t know much about” Kennedy, and that has been a “deliberate” tactic by Kennedy’s campaign to hide his lack of knowledge and lack of qualifications from voters.
“He’s keeping a low profile and hoping nobody pushes back,” Bielat said.
Kennedy’s biggest blunders have occurred when he has tried to talk about foreign policy without canned talking points in front of him.
He said at one debate that Tel Aviv — and not Jerusalem — was the capital of Israel, in direct contradiction to position papers on his website. Kennedy walked back those comments two weeks later.
“He is simply uninformed when he steps out and talks about foreign policy,” Bielat said of Kennedy. “We can’t afford national security novices.”
Bielat said Kennedy “bungles” questions when “he’s not in a contained or scripted environment” but Kennedy has even made gaffes in more-scripted moments.
In an online chat, for instance, Kennedy said he would cut defense programs that are not even currently operational. And when Kennedy makes nebulous comments, the press automatically gives him the benefit of the doubt, such as when Kennedy could have implied a drone strike killed Osama bin Laden. The press would have at least followed up for a clarification with other candidates, but they gave Kennedy a pass, assuming he was knowledgeable about foreign policy despite evidence that has clearly pointed to the contrary.
“He has no insight of his own,” Bielat said.
Unlike Kennedy, Bielat’s strengths are in national security issues. He has thought considerably about foreign policy issues and is most concerned with restoring “the balance of power on national security issues” because he feels Congress has ceded too much authority to the president, for which Bielat blames both parties.
Bielat said the “voting public is not directly represented,” and that is why Americans are sent to places like Libya that serves no national security interests, where Americans cannot tell the difference between friend and foe.
Should he get to Congress, Bielat wants to also focus on policies promoting economic growth, reducing the debt and deficit, and comprehensive tax reform.
He said he is glad these topics are being discussed more and is excited to work on legislation that could actually reform the country’s tax code.
He said Kennedy is “not prepared for the job” to tackle such issues in Congress and someone with under three years of real-life work experience who just moved to the district a week before he entered the race should not be taken “seriously.” But because of his last name, Kennedy feels entitled to the seat and the mainstream media fawns over him.
Bielat said the mainstream media has an “absurd” fascination with the race because they want to desperately write stories about the “next member of Camelot.”
“We need to have the mainstream media to stop chiming in,” Bielat said. “He’s not a serious candidate.”
Bielat praised the conservative media, social media networks, and conservative blogs as “great leveling” forces against the mainstream media, and he said if Kennedy gets to Washington, he will get even more of a free pass from the media and feel entitled and emboldened to ignore his constituents and support “liberal ideas that don’t bear much resemblance to reality.”
One example of Kennedy’s entitled mentality was when Kennedy went into a deli around the corner from Bielat’s campaign headquarters for a photo-op and did not even buy a sandwich. Kennedy then had the gall to reference the sandwich shop and the owner of the deli at a debate when discussing his knowledge of how small businesses work.
On the campaign trail, as NBC’s “Today” even documented, Kennedy name-drops his last name even when voters are asking him policy questions because, being ignorant of the issues, his last name is his only selling point.
Bielat said it would be one thing if Kennedy ran on his merit and took questions and gave speeches, but Kennedy is just an “empty suit” running on and hiding behind his name.
“This is America,” Bielat said. “Nobody should be born into power or office.”