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Roger’s Rules

Some important lessons from Ted Kennedy

August 26th, 2009 - 4:53 am

Indeed, Kennedy was a veritable fount of enlightenment. A waddling argument for the wisdom of term limits, he showed the world how, provided you came from a rich and unscrupulous family, you can get caught cheating on a Spanish test at Harvard and still manage to graduate a few years later.

But of course, Ted Kennedy’s most important lesson for the world involved Mary Jo Kopechne, the secretary he let drown in 1969 when he drove his car off a bridge at Chappaquiddick Island late at night after a party. Kennedy said he endeavored to rescue the girl.  Maybe.  But what we know he did was contact several aides to work out a story. He waited until after the police discovered the car and Kopechne’s body the next morning before informing the police about the incident. He received a two-month suspended sentence for leaving the scene of an accident after causing an injury. Wikipedia calmly notes that “Questions remained about Kennedy’s time line of events that night, about his actions after the accident, and the quality of the investigation and whether official deference was given to a powerful politician and family.” Do you think, just possibly, that unusual deference was shown to Ted Kennedy?

The Kennedy family has issued a eulogistic statement about the death of the Senior Senator from Massachusetts. Right and proper, I suppose, but I couldn’t help recoiling from its lists: “Edward M. Kennedy — the husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle we loved so deeply — died late Tuesday night at home in Hyannis Port.”

“Edward M. Kennedy,” I heard echoing behind those words, “Liar, cheat, drunk, philanderer, and — let’s not forget — inadvertent murderer.”

The tsunami of sentimental pap about Kennedy is already churning, gushing, rushing to inundate the public with a nauseating and untruthful fairy tale about the “Lion of the Senate.” The Lyin’ in the Senate is more like it. Kennedy was 77 when he was taken off last night, Mary Jo Kopechne had just turned 29 when Kennedy’s car veered off the bridge in Chappaquiddick and he wriggled free and swam to shore, leaving the young woman trapped in the car to drown.

* * *  Update: In response to news of the death of Ted Kennedy, a friend did a little research into the Kennedy’s legislative history and concludes that “There is not one thing he proposed that deals with helping people who actually work for a living, or a business, or promoting capitalism. It is an absolute litany of destructive liberalism. He is the absolute worst.”

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