Thursday, August 27, 2009

I would've bet the farm...

...that the lionizing of Ted Kennedy would've happened. Really? Now look, I don't wish suffering on anyone, but am I in a state of mourning? Absolutely not. One only mourns what one misses. The fact that people want to cling so badly to some delusional notion that the Kennedy family is the paradigm of altruism, is itself ludicrous, but that Teddy was some kind of hero? Repugnant... Folks, we're talking about a man who:

1.) Honored politicians who threatened the poor, disabled, and marginalized. When George C. Wallace in February 1974 announced his candidacy for a third term as governor of Alabama, he noted that several prominent Northern politicians had flown to the state capitol of Birmingham to kiss his ring. One of those was Kennedy, who contemplated running for president in 1976, a time when the South was still up for grabs. All of those Northerners, Wallace told his followers at a morning press conference, had but one message: “How great thou art in Alabama!”

2.) Cheated on his first wife from the moment the two were married; in December 1985 grabbed a waitress at Washington’s La Brasserie restaurant, picked her up from the table and threw her into the lap of his oh so honorable friend Sen. Chris Dodd, whereupon he proceeded to rub his genital area against her; and in September 1987 screwed his blonde girlfriend on the floor of La Brasserie. (Class, Class, Class)

3.) In a little-noticed vote in April 1976, favored a joint Senate resolution to define personhood as beginning at conception. However, when it became politically expedient for him, he turned his back on this. Not only did Kennedy by the 1980s come out in support of Roe v. Wade; he also supported taxpayer funding of abortion. His most consequential pro-choice advocacy was the 1987 Supreme Court hearing of nominee Robert Bork. Standing on the Senate floor, Kennedy assailed Bork as a jurist whose rulings would force women to resort to “back-alley abortions.”

4.) Further, on the politically expedient "Teddy the Lion", in 2004 he was the driving force behind a law in Mass. (when Mitt Romney (R) was governor, and Sen. John Kerry (D) was running for Prez.) that essentially removed the right of the governor to appoint a potential successor for Kerry and instead left the decision to a special election. Ok, I guess... Though I found it laughable last week, when I read it was Kennedy himself who proposed the law be changed back, now that Mass. has a Democrat for governor and he needed to be assured that his soon to be vacant Senate seat would be filled by an appointed Democrat. Oh yes, what a "wonderful champion of law" was Teddy.

5.) Then there's the "booming-voiced lion of the Senate" who mysteriously was stricken dumb when his nephew William Kennedy Smith raped a girl at the Florida compound...Oh I know, Smith was acquitted, but then so was O.J., so don't give me that bullshit argument...

6.) In May 1951, anxious about maintaining his eligibility for athletics for the next year, he had a friend who was knowledgeable on the subject, take his Spanish language examination for him. The two were quickly caught and expelled, but in a standard Harvard treatment for cases of this kind, they were told they could apply for readmission in a year or two after demonstrating good behavior.

7.) On the night of July 18, 1969, Kennedy was on Martha's Vineyard's Chappaquiddick Island at a party for the "Boiler Room Girls", a group of young women who had worked on his brother Robert's presidential campaign the year before. Leaving the party, Kennedy was driving a 1967 Oldsmobile Delmont 88 with one of the women, 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne, as his passenger, when Kennedy drove off Dike Bridge into the Poucha Pond inlet. Kennedy escaped the overturned vehicle, swam to safety and left the scene. He did not call authorities until after Kopechne's body was discovered the following day.
On July 25, Kennedy pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and was given a sentence of two months in jail, suspended. (shocking, I know) That night, he gave a national broadcast in which he said, "I regard as indefensible the fact that I did not report the accident to the police immediately", but denied driving under the influence of alcohol and denied any immoral conduct between him and Kopechne. (Riiiiiight)
In January 1970, an inquest into Kopechne's death took place in Edgartown, Massachusetts. At the request of Kennedy's lawyers, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ordered the inquest be conducted in secret. (I wonder why?) The presiding judge, James A. Boyle, concluded that some aspects of Kennedy's story of that night were not true, and that "negligent driving appears to have contributed to the death of Mary Jo Kopechne." A grand jury on Martha's Vineyard staged a two-day investigation in April 1970 but issued no indictment, after which Boyle made his inquest report public. Kennedy deemed its conclusions "not justified."

So folks this is the man, who for all of his "successes" as a politician, had more than his share of a politician's failures...Honor him if you must, I'd prefer to honor true heroes that died this year. Men whose death, was merely mentioned in passing, if not altogether overlooked by the media at large. Men like Henry Allingham, Kenneth Reusser, Darrell "Shifty" Powers, George E. Wahlen, Robley Rex, Ray Nance, Russell E. Dunham, James E. Swett, Harry Kinnard and Robert Prince.


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