A Comment On An Anniversary

I think LawDog put it best, and I can’t add much to what he said, but the event whose anniversary he was noting — the infamous Chappaquiddick incident — did make me think of something the great Mark Steyn wrote a few years ago:

In 1999, Dan Rather, choking up over the “irony” of JFK Jr. dying on the anniversary of Chappaquiddick, couldn’t even remember Mary Jo Kopechne’s name, or, at any rate, deemed it unworthy of mention. But the advanced-model Kennedy flack disdains such squeamishness: Yeah, so he killed someone. This was the line taken by The New York Times’ Adam Clymer in his definitive hagiography of “the leading senator of our time.” If the name seems vaguely familiar, it may be because you’re sitting on it. Two years ago then candidate George W. Bush caused something of a stir by referring to Mr Clymer as a “major-league a–hole” — or, according to which paper you read, “assh—.” My own view of him was formed by this line from his Kennedy book:
Edward Kennedy’s “achievements as a senator have towered over his time, changing the lives of far more Americans than remember the name Mary Jo Kopechne.”
As I wrote two years ago, “I don’t know how many lives the Senator’s changed — he certainly changed Mary Jo’s — but I’m struck less by the precise arithmetic than by the curious equation: How many changed lives justify leaving Miss Kopechne struggling for breath for hours pressed up against the window in a small, shrinking air pocket in Teddy’s car? If the Senator had managed to change the lives of even more Americans, would it have been okay to leave a couple more broads down there? Such a comparison doesn’t automatically make its writer an a——, but it certainly gives one a commanding lead in the preliminary qualifying round.”

Steyn has always had a way with words, and while some might think that over the top, it really does make one wonder if the voters of Massachusetts apply that same moral calculus when they go to the voting booth every six years and vote him back in. I just find it so hard to believe that the Camelot “mystique” is really that strong. But then, I could be wrong, or maybe Mass. voters really do delude themselves into thinking Teddy Kennedy is the last link to his long-dead brother, though all they really share is the name. Perhaps more than that, as of course JFK’s escapades are legion once you get below the image that’s been made of him since his death, but apart from that, I can’t help but think that Teddy and Jack Kennedy really were far apart ideologically, even though they were both Democrats. Maybe that shows how much the Democratic Party has changed in the last 45 years or so, but still, it just boggles the mind…

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