Jack Worthington is a wealthy New York–based investment banker, a managing director of the Arundel Group who appears to be super into networking, a former college basketball player, and now, a wannabe presidential candidate for Americans Elect, the group that seeks to bring a viable third-party option into the race. Which is all pretty easy to shrug off — who’s this guy? — but for a 2008 Vanity Fair article investigating the possibility that Worthington just might be John F. Kennedy’s illegitimate son.
In 2006, Jack’s mother, a former Texas beauty queen whose family had ties to Lyndon Johnson, dropped a bombshell on her son: His true father was John F. Kennedy. Worthington’s lawyer wrote to Vanity Fair (the nation’s leading hotbed of Kennedy interest) asking if they were interested in investigating the claim. The magazine’s 2008 investigation ultimately ended with a giant question mark, but the piece cemented him as a definite Person of Interest for the Kennedy-obsessed.
Perhaps it was all the thinking he’s done on his possibly presidential roots, or perhaps it’s something more issue-driven, but Worthington has now thrown his hat in the ring to secure the Americans Elect presidential nomination. The third party group, as John Heilemann explained in New York recently, is an attempt to woo third party voters from the center, and has spent gobs of money making sure its candidate will be on the ballot in all fifty states. By June, after various rounds of voting, Americans Elect will settle on a “unity ticket,” with representatives of both parties.
In an emailed message to friends and possible supporters announcing his candidacy, Worthington writes, “These almost unprecedented challenges require specific, perhaps unpopular crisis management solutions, not sound bites of political dogma, Candyland strategies, and ‘reality TV gotcha reporting.’ Our mainstream media are not facilitating the serious dialogue we need. Unfortunately, they make money by creating controversy, which is incompatible with the boring work of unbiased journalism in the public’s best interest.” Of course, Worthington isn’t a stranger to press-created controversy, and if his Vanity Fair experience is any indication, he seems to have already embraced the art of both cooperating with and denouncing the journalists who cover him.
Whether Worthington is in fact the actual biological son of JFK is effectively beside the point. Why bother with a DNA test showing that you’re a Kennedy when you are so plausibly Kennedy-esque: The bone structure, the fancy pedigree (including an MBA from Columbia), and looking most at home while riding a horse. Besides, there is enough lingering Kennedy love in America that even the merest association — however questionable — probably would be largely in Worthington’s favor.
As for Worthington’s actual political experience, it is scant, to say the least — he doesn’t appear to have made any major political contributions to either party, though he’s been blogging up a storm on WordPress, with a focus on global economic policy. Worthington, who was not immediately available for comment, has an obsession with the Eurozone crisis, a deep concern for the future of capitalism and what appears to be a marked
neoconservative bent sharp interest in “radical Islam.” He also has a fifteen-minute YouTube video up laying out his positions, in which he touts his business experience and investment success and displays mastery of the political art of punctuating points with a hand gesture, as well as those possibly-familiar cheekbones.
Of course, just because Worthington wants to be the Americans Elect candidate doesn’t mean he will be. He writes in his message to supporters that he was “drafted” to do so; as of this writing, there are exactly three people who have signed up to support him, compared with nearly 2,000 for Buddy Roemer. The group only stands to make any sort of real impact if they get a household name to run on their platform. Worthington’s name — even if the Jack-maybe-Jr. part of it stirs the right associations — simply isn’t one.