In the American Spectator, Daniel J. Flynn explores a religion unto itself, “Kennedy Catholicism:”
Though Ted Kennedy never won the role his supporters had scripted for him, those emotionally invested in “President Ted Kennedy” acted as though he had. Massachusetts’s senior senator often played along, compiling a staff that dwarfed those of his colleagues and acting as a shadow president for various liberal constituencies outside of power in a conservative age. The prolonged made-for-TV funeral, which traveled from Hyannis to Boston and then from Capitol Hill to Arlington National Cemetery, was a mourning event fit for a president. But Ted Kennedy was a senator, not a president.
That fact alone, leaving aside Kennedy’s friction with the church over abortion, gay marriage, and other hot-button issues, should explain why the pope added no further fuel to the public relations juggernaut that has dominated the American news cycle for almost a week. Those generationally, geographically, or politically tethered to Camelot mythology are befuddled why others, particularly the pope, haven’t embraced their delusion that the man whom they had wished to be president should be mourned as a president — rather than a parochial figure infused with special meaning to baby boomers, New Englanders, and the Democratic Party’s left wing.
“Here in Rome, Ted Kennedy is nobody,” a Vatican official bluntly told Time. “He’s a legend with his own constituency. If he had influence in the past, it was only with the Archdiocese of Boston, and that eventually disappeared too.”
“Running against a Kennedy is almost like running against the church,” one Massachusetts pol observed during Ted Kennedy’s initial run for Senate in 1962. But after Ted Kennedy enlisted as a combatant in the culture wars against his church, few conflate Kennedyism with Catholicism as they did a half century ago.
With the exception of Teddy’s myth-builders in the liberal media, of course. As we noted on Saturday, MSNBC’s Craig Crawford (co-author of Listen Up, Mr. President with Helen Thomas) was, shall we say, curious about the Vatican maintaining radio silence on the day of Teddy’s funeral (you, known the day “the Heavens were weeping”, according to another MSNBC correspondent). Crawford was Tweeting the following coolly dispassionate objective non-biased missives, and more:
My guess is that in 50 years more people will visit Ted Kennedy’s grave than Pope Benedict’s, and for good reason. The Vatican just blew it.
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How could the Pope not personally respond to Ted’s amazing letter? What a jerk! Ted wins the moment. He’s the one in God’s hands now.
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Ted Kennedy turned out to be a bigger man than the Pope.
The next day, Crawford Tweeted, “Guess i was too hard on the Pope (this time), Will take religion writer David Gibson’s word for it.” And then, somehow, several of his Tweets from Saturday on the topic vanished. Fortunately, we took a screen capture before they were permanently dispatched to Twitter Heaven.