Vice Presidential Buzz: Will Kennedy Choose Jesse Ventura, Aaron Rodgers, or Someone Else?

Vice Presidential Buzz: Will Kennedy Choose Jesse Ventura, Aaron Rodgers, or Someone Else?
The Kennedy Beacon | March 13, 2024

Note: A month ago, we

Jesse then went into a two-party tirade. “One of the people I brought into my campaign was the late great Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead, who said: ‘If you’re made to pick the lesser of two evils, it still means you’re picking evil.’ Think about it. My friend Ralph Nader put it best: ‘the two-party dictatorship.’ That’s what the country has turned into, and remember what John Adams warned us – when the parties take over the government, that’ll be the end of America.’” He went on to reflect on the congressional stalemate over a bill to alleviate the border crisis, “where they put their party ahead of their country.”

As Bobby showed up at the door, Jesse continued: “I get to introduce somebody now, haven’t done that probably since the WWF [World Wrestling Federation]. Anyway, here’s a man I hope can pull off an upset, and help destroy the two-party dictatorship that we live under, and bring us into a new era of politics in America.”

After Bobby and the donors lined up for selfies, he went back downstairs to speak privately with Jesse. About forty-five minutes later, a few staffers were allowed into the room. The two had already covered considerable common ground – including their meetings with Fidel Castro and their friendships with the writer Hunter Thompson.

Now Jesse returned to the pivotal topic of ballot access. “We’re going to be able to make it, we’ve got a plan,” Bobby assured him. Jesse then raised the specter of Donald Trump. “I despise Trump,” he said. “Let me put it to you this way, Bobby. The Republicans kicked George Santos out of Congress, right? You’re telling me that, in deceiving his voters, Santos committed more egregious crimes than Trump has? General Kelly, former head of the Marine Corps, wrote at the end of his book, if we re-elect this man, God help us.”

Yet, in one of political history’s great ironies, he added: “Trump followed me to a T. I didn’t do fundraisers, I did rallies. That’s what he did.”

“How did you raise money?” Bobby asked.

“I didn’t. First let me categorize – the Democrats and Republicans combined spent $12 million in Minnesota in 1998. I raised and spent $300,000.”

“Wow, how did you do that?” Bobby persisted.

“The press flocks to me. And I had a statewide radio show. What did Trump do? National TV show. He copied me right down the line.”

He was still fuming over what happened on January 6, ”when the Republicans allowed the Confederate flag to be carried through my capitol. They haven’t apologized for it, barely even acknowledged it. Good thing I wasn’t security that day, I hate to tell you what would have happened to that Confederate flag guy.”

Jesse was rolling now. “Where do I stand on wars? I’m against all of ‘em! Every war in my lifetime has accomplished nothing – except to make people rich.”

Bobby nodded fervently in agreement. Jesse described his father’s six Bronze battle stars from World War II, but his later opposition to the Vietnam War at a time when his son was still gung-ho. “I told him about the domino effect of communism that I’d learned in school. My dad said, ‘Is that what they’re teaching you? That’s the biggest bunch of bullshit I’ve ever heard in my life. You want to know why we’re fighting the Vietnam War? Because somebody’s making big money!’”

“That’s right,” Bobby said.

“I was fortunate enough to go over there and come back. I said, ‘Dad, you were right.’ He said, ‘I knew I was right, the problem is sometimes as a young person you’re not gonna listen and have to learn it the hard way.’”

The theater was almost full. As Jesse prepared to enter the auditorium, he spoke about another matter close to his heart. A decade ago, his wife had been stricken with a seizure disorder and none of the prescribed medications worked. “We were beside ourselves,” he recalled. They drove to Colorado, where medical marijuana had become legalized. The cannabis drops did the trick. “From that day forward, she never had a seizure since. It pissed me off that health care would pay for all these drugs that don’t work, but not cannabis, which does.” Today, in Minnesota, where adults are now legally allowed to possess and use marijuana, Jesse and his son Tyrel have entered the cannabis business.

Standing before a packed house, Jesse told the people: “I’m here in support of Robert F. Kennedy’s bid for President of the United States…. He will make it on ideas. That’s what I ran on in Minnesota and the people responded, the voter turnout went sky high. Bobby can do the same thing nationally.” He asked the crowd to “imagine the world we would live in today if the two Kennedy brothers had lived. There would have been no Vietnam, no Cold War. We’d be friends with Cuba…. Maybe it’s time to reelect another Kennedy.”

To chants of “Bobby, Bobby, Bobby” and “USA USA USA,” RFK Jr. walked onstage. He began by paying tribute to the man who preceded him. “When we met for the first time, my kids were ecstatic about the idea of going scuba diving with Jesse. We spent the day on the boat and did a bunch of dives. Jesse enthralled the kids with stories about his life as a Navy SEAL and diver during the Vietnam War, and being the governor – and Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant. It was a high point of their lives. And we’ve remained friends ever since.”

As he went on to address the crucial issues of our time – the chronic disease epidemic, the crisis at the border, the takeover of housing by the big corporations – and what he would do to make a difference, Governor Ventura stood watching from backstage, nodding his head, rocking back and forth … and smiling.

Dick Russell is an award-winning environmental journalist and the author of several books on climate change and nature, as well as a biographical portrait of The Real RFK Jr.

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