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Ted Kennedy: Life of the Party*

John on August 28, 2009 at 8:44 am

Carl Cannon has a nice wrap-up of Chappaquiddick:

Sometime late at night after an evening of drinking, Kennedy and Kopechne went for a drive in his 1967 Oldsmobile. Kennedy placed the time he left at 11:15 p.m. A local cop who believed he saw the car put the time at 12:40 a.m. – significant at the time because Kennedy testified that he was taking Kopechne to a ferry that ran to Edgartown, a ferry that stopped running at midnight. In any event, Kennedy wasn’t headed toward the ferry landing when his car careened off Dike Bridge and into the inlet known as Poucha Pond; they were heading toward the beach.

Kennedy got out of the car alive, Mary Jo Kopechne did not. He said he dived down several times to try and rescue her, before walking back to the cottage where his friends were staying. To do so, he passed at least four houses with working telephones, including one 150 yards from the accident with a porch light on – as well as a firehouse with a pay phone. When he got to the cottage, none of the women were told what happened. According to the 763-page coroner’s inquest, this was just the first of a series of appalling decisions Kennedy made that night, decisions that stretch credulity.

First of all, he and two of the men, a cousin named Joseph Gargan and a friend named Paul Markham say they returned to the bridge to try and rescue Mary Jo. (If the Edgartown constable who believes he saw Kennedy was accurate, this was impossible.) Next, the men claimed that they drove Kennedy to the Chappaquiddick ferry landing, where he told them not to tell the other women for fear that they would try to rescue Mary Jo – at great peril to themselves – and assured them that he would report the incident to authorities. Then, the men said, Kennedy dove into the water and swam across the sound to Edgartown himself.

Upon reaching Edgartown, Kennedy went to his room at a local inn – it was now 2:25 a.m., — where he spent the night, and the following morning engaged in small talk about sailing with a local yachter and agreed to have breakfast with the man when Gargan and Markham showed up about 7:30. They asked him who he’d called about the accident only to receive the astounding reply: no one. Kennedy explained it this way at the inquest: “I just couldn’t gain the strength within me, the moral strength, to call Mrs. Kopechne at 2 in the morning and tell her that her daughter was dead.” But he hadn’t called the cops, either, and wouldn’t until 9 a.m.

Not reporting a fatal traffic accident is a felony in most places. On Martha’s Vineyard, if the driver is a Kennedy, it’s not even a matter of official curiosity: The local police chief never even asked Kennedy why he waited nine hours to report what had happened. The state of Massachusetts, citing Kennedy’s excessive speed on the bridge, suspended his license for six months. That was it.

That should have been it for Kennedy’s entire career. He should have been sent to jail for manslaughter (at the least) for what he did in 1969. Instead, he got a pass and continues to get a pass from most on the left even now.

One particularly egregious example of the media double-standard comes from Huff Post in a post with the despicable title The Footnote Speaks (courtesy of Mark Hemingway at NRO):

We don’t know how much Kennedy was affected by her death, or what she’d have thought about arguably being a catalyst for the most successful Senate career in history. What we don’t know, as always, could fill a Metrodome.

Still, ignorance doesn’t preclude a right to wonder. So it doesn’t automatically make someone (aka, me) a Limbaugh-loving, aerial-wolf-hunting NRA troll for asking what Mary Jo Kopechne would have had to say about Ted’s death, and what she’d have thought of the life and career that are being (rightfully) heralded.

Who knows — maybe she’d feel it was worth it.

That’s the end of her post. What more is there to say?

As we debate the passage of what some are now calling KennedyCare, Americans would do well to remember how many on the left weigh the life of an actual young woman against the legislative victories of a beloved Democratic politician, i.e. as a footnote. Not just a footnote, but a grateful footnote. After all, what is death compared to a permanent association with the great man.

This attitude continues to drive the left forward despite increasingly clear evidence (from recent polling) that America does not support government takeover of health care. Because, in the end, we’re all just footnotes to their grand designs. Like Ted Kennedy, the Lion of the Senate and the Life of the Party, they’re going to make a big splash even if it kills us.

Related: There’s this too, courtesy of the Diane Rehm radio show (HT: Hot Air):

I don’t know if you know this or not, but one of his favorite topics of humor was indeed Chappaquiddick itself. And he would ask people, “have you heard any new jokes about Chappaquiddick?” That is just the most amazing thing. It’s not that he didn’t feel remorse about the death of Mary Jo Kopechne, but that he still always saw the other side of everything and the ridiculous side of things, too.

When life gave him lemons, Teddy made hard lemonade.

Related #2: More wondering aloud if Mary Jo’s death wasn’t worth it. Who was it that said, you have to break a few eggs…?

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