“Senator, You’re No Jack Kennedy”

“Senator, You’re No Jack Kennedy”


Leonard Zwelling

“Senator, I
served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of
mine. Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy”….But On the Other Hand You Do Remind of
Another President…

first part of this is a quote from the late, great Texas senator, statesman and
candidate for Vice President in 1988, Lloyd Bentsen. The senator to whom he was
referring was Dan Quayle, his Vice Presidential opponent and running mate of
the soon-to-be President George H. W. Bush. It came during the Vice
Presidential debate in October of 1988 after Quayle had repeatedly compared his
experience for high office to that of the young Jack Kennedy in 1960 whose
Senate service was about the same as Quayle’s had been in 1988.

phrase has now passed into common use as a putdown of a political opponent as
not measuring up.

came to me when I was thinking about how Dr. DePInho so loves to compare his
daring objectives for a cancer cure to those espoused by the young President
Kennedy during a speech at Rice University that marked the beginning of his
race to the moon with the Soviet Union. In this regard, as Bentsen pointed out,
DePInho too is no Jack Kennedy.

Kennedy was mostly interested in the race to the moon as a competition with the
Soviet Union. He realized shortly before his death that it was unlikely the US
could triumph during his years in office.


In truth,
the moon shot was an extension of foreign policy, international competition and
was well within the reach of the country willing to spend enough to get it

is completely unlike the cancer problem.

now, with all the sequencing on God’s green Earth, it is unclear where the
answer to cancer lies. That is quite different than the moon race where the
moon was always in sight every evening, even during an eclipse. The principles
governing space travel had been pretty well worked out by Isaac Newton. The
same cannot be said for the cancer problem where a new “–omics” every month is the
“answer” and the basic characteristics of neoplasia, genetic instability and
cellular heterogeneity, make the pursuit of an actionable signature of an
established human carcinoma a research question. Genomics is not really ready
for wide spread applicability or even prime time quite yet despite the many
myriad of companies willing to take the money to do the work.

I have to say that like Lloyd Bentsen’s comments about Dan Quayle, Dr. DePinho,
you too are no Jack Kennedy and it probably would be a good idea to stop using
him in your videos.

if you want a role model who seems best to resemble you and the way in which
you managed your Presidency, you might think of that other guy who ran in 1960
and won in 1968 and 1972. You know the guy. The one needing the shave. Hmmm—-

famous line was “I am not a crook.” 
Unfortunately, he was!

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