America's two modern political clans, the Bush and Kennedy dynasties, have always eyed each other with a mixture of jealousy and awe. On the surface, they are as similar in some ways as Hyannis and Kennebunkport. But privately, and sometimes not so privately, the Bushes have been repelled by Kennedy excesses. Snarky references to Ted Kennedy are sprinkled through the autobiographies of Barbara and George Bush. During his four years in the White House, Bush Sr. had no bigger nemesis than the Massachusetts Senator.
But a cease-fire may be at hand. George W. will sign an Executive Order this week naming the huge Department of Justice building in Washington after Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who was Attorney General under his brother Jack, thus tossing a large, shiny bone to R.F.K.'s younger brother Ted. Bush has been wooing him all year, inviting him over for movies and putting J.F.K.'s desk in the Oval Office, all in hopes of getting an agreement on an education bill. Bush hasn't won Ted over yet, but throw in the Washington Monument, and they might just get a deal.
--By Michael Duffy