Back in March MSNBC “Hardball” host and shrewd Kennedy observer, Chris Matthews suggested Nancy Pelosi might turn her leadership over to Rep Joe Kennedy III.
"Somebody hit me with the rumor last night that Nancy Pelosi is going to turn it over to Joey the third," the host divulged.
That looked unlikely with Congressman Joe Crowley sitting in pole position in the No. 4 leadership job. He was at least 20 years younger than the three in front of him.
That, of course, has all come crashing down with Crowley's shocking defeat in his New York primary.
Now with a leadership vacuum as wide as Massachusetts Bay, Kennedy is suddenly in the limelight again.
He is among the Young Turks mentioned as a successor to Crowley and even as speaker if they choose to replace Pelosi in November and the Dems win back the House.
The fact that so many Democratic House members have refused to say they will vote for Pelosi if the Dems win is extraordinary.
If a Pelosi blockade were to come to pass Kennedy would be one of the very few contenders with name recognition and widespread popularity named to replace her.
Crowley’s defeat could send Kennedy’s career in a completely different direction.
The general consensus was his next step would be a Senate race in Massachusetts if either Senator Edward Markey or Senator Elizabeth Warren, 71 and 69 respectively, either retired or, in the case of Warren, ran for the presidency.
Under that scenario, as a Massachusetts senator, Kennedy would have become a natural White House potential contender for 2024 or 2028.
But the Crowley crash may send Kennedy to the Speaker’s office, a completely different route.
Running for president as speaker would be a quite different scenario, one that would prove difficult.
But if his party calls, Kennedy, who has reached across the aisle and made deep friendships with Republicans as well as inside his own caucus, might find it hard to refuse.
He has been an impassioned critic of Trump, his gutting of the Affordable Care Act and his treatment of migrant children, both issues very much on the front burner now.
We can welcome the tired, the poor, the yearning to be free – and still be free ourselves. If America can’t figure out how to amass the resources, courage, & political will to ensure NO child suffers on our shores – who will? pic.twitter.com/cFB0sJtGGc— Rep. Joe Kennedy III (@RepJoeKennedy) June 22, 2018
The Kennedy name certainly helps within a Democratic caucus and he is already one of the most requested speakers for others on the campaign trail.
Pelosi clearly likes him as evidenced by her giving him the plum role of responding to the Trump State of the Union. If she installs him in the No 4 spot behind three aged veterans including herself, she is sending a clear signal as to who her successor should be.
A Kennedy as Speaker would certainly be something different but whether it would jibe with a run for the White House is something else to consider.
The Crowley loss has utterly changed the dynamic for Democrats in the House and Kennedy is the name on many lips. But would he want it, given that it could cloud a presidential run later in his career?