Kennedy - Libertarian

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F ormer MTV veejay and television talk show host Kennedy has always said she's a philosophical libertarian and a registered Republican. She even has a pink Republican elephant tattooed on her upper left thigh. But Kennedy's allegiance to the GOP may be fading somewhat, if her comments on MSNBC's Scarborough Country (November 17, 2004) are any indication.

In a discussion about the Federal Communication Commission's crackdown on "indecent" speech on radio and TV, Kennedy accused Republicans of restricting free speech and favoring "a moral dictatorship in this country." Specifically, she said she opposed the FCC's campaign against racy radio hosts like Howard Stern.

"You know what?" she said to several conservative panelists on the show. "You guys, you have become the humor police. And you're using the liberalization of governmental controls in broadcasting the way that liberals do with the war on terror and guns. And any other time the Left wants to squash liberties, you know, conservatives, they start barking up the tree of freedom. But all of a sudden, you know, you're doing the exact same thing. And it's very hypocritical. What happened to the libertarian bent in the Republican Party?"

No one has ever questioned Kennedy's libertarian bent; she talks openly and frequently about it. On ABC's Politically Incorrect (April 14, 2000), she said, "I'm a registered Republican; I'm an ideological libertarian." In TV Guide (April 12, 2003), she said, "I consider myself a Republitarian. A little bit Republican and a little bit Libertarian." And in Portland, Oregon's Willamette Weekly (November 10, 2004), she said although she's known as a conservative, she's actually more of a "small 'l' libertarian."

On most issues, Kennedy certainly sounds like a libertarian. According to Metropolitan Living magazine (September 1999), she "hates drugs but doesn't think they should be illegal, likes the Second Amendment but doesn't own a gun. She's big on personal freedoms that people take for granted." Kennedy also spoke out against high taxes on Scarborough Country. "I mean, I live in Seattle, where what we have to show for [our taxes] is a brand new $500 million baseball stadium. And, you know, potholes." She told the Penn State University Collegian (April 9, 1996) that her political beliefs are "somewhere between P.J. O'Rourke and Ayn Rand."

Kennedy (born Lisa Kennedy Montgomery) is perhaps best known for her four-year stint as host of MTV's Alternative Nation (1992-1996). Wearing her trademark funky horn-rimmed glasses, she introduced videos and interviewed a who's-who of actors and musicians, including Tom Cruise, Nine Inch Nails, Jodie Foster, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bill Murray, and others. Not everyone appreciated her quirky humor, offbeat fashion choices, and what one magazine called her "anti-glamour earthiness." In fact, Rolling Stone readers once voted her the music channel's "Most Hated" veejay.

After MTV, Kennedy went on to host the special Who Wants to Be Governor of California? and the show Friend or Foe? on the Game Show Network. She was a speaker at the 1996 Republican National Convention and a correspondent for CBS Sports at the 1998 Winter Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan, covering snowboarding. In 1999, she got her own radio show on KQBZ-FM in Seattle, Washington. That same year, she published a book, Hey Ladies: Tales and Tips for Curious Girls (Random House), which offered advice for teenage girls.

In 2004, she joined VH1's pop culture show, The Best Week Ever, as a panelist -- a gig which Willamette Week said "gives her a chance to rehash the older, more boisterous Kennedy."

Kennedy also continues to be boisterous about her opposition to what Metropolitan Living called "overzealous, socially conservative Christian citizens who give the Republicans a bad name" and who use the Bible to justify their brand of conservative politics. "That ain't what Jesus is all about," Kennedy said. "He'd have a big ol' sit down with a lot of these overly judgmental Christians and say, 'This is not what it's all about. You're [urinating] in the Jesus pool and I'd appreciate it if you'd get out. Thank you.' "

-- Bill Winter


"I'm a registered Republican; I'm an ideological libertarian." -- Kennedy on ABC's Politically Incorrect (April 14, 2000)

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