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Conservative Political Commentary

Quote of the Day

Lady Liberty

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

"We'll cross that bridge when we come to it, Mary Jo."
posted by Tom

The title is the punchline to one of the first Chappaquiddick jokes to appear after the “accident” in July of 1969 that pretty much put the kibosh on Ted Kennedy’s dreams of becoming president. I don’t even think the Massachusetts DA and coroner had deposited Ted’s checks before this one made the rounds. The set-up finds Ted and Mary Jo Kopechne driving along in his car after leaving the party on Martha's Vineyard the night of July 19. She turns to him and says, "Ted, I think I'm pregnant. What will we do?"

Not high on the yuk meter now, but back in my South Philadelphia neighborhood that summer 35 years ago, conservative Italian-Americans who heaved their gnocchi at the mere mention of the Kennedy name (and still do) soiled themselves over it. Sure, it was in poor taste. That's what made it funny.

As an aside, South Philly Italians have a great sense of humor when it comes to current events. For instance, the political correctness that appears to guide U.S. strategy in the War on Terror has convinced them that if Mafiosi convert to Islam and change their names to Mohammed Gambone or Usama Bin Collucci or Moustafa DelGiorno, the FBI (Forever Bothering Italians, as it’s known among my paisans) is sure to leave them alone. Conversely, rumor has it that the FBI was investigating Mohammed Atta, but broke it off when they realized he wasn’t Italian.

But speaking of Chappaquiddick humor, in the 70s National Lampoon parodied the floating Volkswagen Beetle ad with the caption: "If Ted Kennedy owned one of these, he would be president today." The editors ran an apology the following month. Yes, those iconoclastic, cutting-edge satirists, those challengers of the status quo and bourgeois values, apologized for their own poor taste re Chappaquiddick. Readers were left to wonder just who it was they regretted offending: the Kopechnes, the Kennedys, or liberal Democrats in general.

I bring this up because in that same decade they ran a Nazi-Holocaust parody in the form of a comic strip. One panel depicted Hitler advertising Nazi soap with the catch-line, “It’s concentrated.” There were no apologies to Jews the following month. At first, I figured the editors might have been Jews themselves and they believed this gave them special dispensation (so to speak) to joke about the Holocaust. Except they were liberals, too. Logic tells us they were free to unapologetically poke fun at Kennedy and Chappaquiddick. But whoever accused liberals of being logical, especially when it comes to offensive humor? They deify a Lenny Bruce, yet vilify an Andrew Dice Clay.

One may wonder how it is that Italians, who count La Cosa Nostra among the more shall we say shady aspects of their heritage, have the nerve to mock and criticize the descendants of Rum Runner Joe Kennedy. No mystery there. First and foremost, Mafiosi, unlike Kennedys, admit they’re power hungry criminals with little or no regard for anyone or anything outside la famiglia and are up front about whacking anyone who gets in the way of their ambition. Along with good pasta, good vino, and good Godfather movies (which eliminates Godfather III), Italians appreciate honesty. And they are averse to limo liberal poseurs who engage in that self-righteous share the wealth bullshit so long as it's everyone else's wealth being shared. In all of those John Gotti tapes made by the FBI, did anyone ever hear him lecture the American people on the need to “sacrifice”? Did he ever scream about our moral duty to "tax the rich” while tooling around in his limo? Every other sentence out of a Kennedy’s mouth has to do with what everyone else must give up for a “better” – i.e., more left-wing – America while they frolic in their Hyannisport compound, hog the waterways with their yachts, fly (sometimes successfully, sometimes not) from one cocktail party to another in their private aircraft, rape and/or drown women, etc. Maybe if Ted and his weasely nephews were as forthcoming about their sleaze as your average Mafioso, they’d be more likeable, and not merely a clan of boorish hypocrites devoid of any sense of humor or irony. This is bad enough, but did they have to spawn an entire class of imitators among the Democrats? We have the Kennedys and their left-wing media enablers to thank for two-faced, multi-millionaire limo-liberal gas bags like Kerry, Edwards, and Corzine.

Anyway, Ted's dream of following in his brother's footsteps and turning The White House into a brothel with a perpetual open bar went off the Dike Bridge and sank with his sedan that night in '69, which was an appropriate year for a Kennedy sex scandal. True, a decade later he mounted a serious challenge against Jimmy Carter in the presidential primaries. It was a close race and as such probably fueled a hope in both him and his lefty followers that his abandoning Kopechne to protect his political viability had finally paid off. But Carter won the day, and Ted made no attempt to mask his bitterness at the Democratic National Convention ("Congratulations, Jimmy. How about taking a ride with me to Martha's Vineyard to celebrate?"), where he refused to endorse Carter's victory with the perfunctory hug and arm raising. It was from Ted's disdain for Carter at the convention that liberal pundits concocted the comforting myth of a shattered Democratic Party and Kennedy denying Carter the liberal base he needed to defeat Reagan.

What a crock. Kennedy challenged Carter because he perceived the latter as not liberal enough. Reagan trounced Carter after exposing him for the liberal blowhard everyone with at least two synapses firing knew him to be. The same conservative Democrats that Reagan successfully turned against the PLO representative from Georgia already hated Kennedy’s left-wing guts as vehemently as did Republicans. In other words, Ted Kennedy could have kissed Carter at the convention, even going so far as slipping him some tongue, and it would have done nothing to help him. It might even have hurt him (worse than Carter's own record hurt him, and that's some serious pain). The other fact to consider is media coverage of the Kennedy run raised the "judgment" question in voters' minds from the beginning. Despite their Kennedy fetish, most liberal media reminded everyone of Chappaquiddick before the words “I announce my candidacy for the Presidency of the United States” left Ted’s mouth. A Kennedy candidacy was (pun intended) dead in the water.

Or maybe it was because of their fetish that liberal media hung Chappaquiddick around his neck as a reminder to him that he was not the stuff of which their Kennedy fantasies were made.

Kennedy family ass kissers in the press have always been legion, but when Ted ran against Carter they implicitly yet unmistakably threatened him with the ghost of Mary Jo in every press conference. Chappaquiddick would seal his fate with so-called independents, as well as with conservative Republicans who despised him for being a Kennedy in the first place, let alone one with a yellow streak a mile long. Now, I think I speak for all compassionate conservatives when I say that it's a shame a young woman had to drown to save America from Edward M. Barfly's presidency, which would have made the Carter years look like the Eisenhower years. Still, in the words of the King of Siam, ’tis a puzzlement, or 'twas 25 years ago, that Ted was denied the media love and - more important - protection bestowed upon his brothers when they ran for the coveted office.

On the one hand, I suppose no matter how far to port the Kennedy media yacht listed, the circulation/ratings to be had from all things Chappaquiddick - the carousing, illicit sex, drowning, and cover-up - just couldn’t be passed up. And liberal media (except for the aforementioned true believers) were savvy enough to acknowledge Reagan's better than even chance of beating Carter, who hid his left-wing, Jew-hating, welfare state politics in the pockets of his Cardigan sweater while campaigning. It stood to reason he would have even less of a problem with Kennedy’s overt “I’m-rich-enough-to-be-Socialist” view of the world. And even if the media had tried to dismiss Chappaquiddick as an (ahem) dead issue, Reagan’s campaign would have kept it alive, forcing liberal reporters to cover it. In other words, the whole prospect of supporting Ted was a royal pain in the ass. And it was his own fault.

But something else about poor Ted compelled the otherwise craven media to keep this Kennedy son/brother at arm’s length politically, meaning in the Senate, where they could patronize him for his “unapologetic liberalism“, but out of the White House one martyred brother stole from Richard Nixon in 1960 and the other martyred brother was poised to take from Nixon before he was cruelly cut down in '68. Ted just wasn’t, and could never be, JFK, or even RFK. Even his initials, EMK, didn't have a ring to them. And once they acknowledged that Bobby, the heir-apparent to JFK in 1968, was merely a facsimile of John that the brain dead 60s generation latched onto out of necessity, they had to admit Ted was but a facsimile of a facsimile. Those of us who work in offices today know how shoddy a fax of a fax is.

So, poor Ted was a poor copy of a mediocre copy of the original King of Camelot. And if the Kennedy media always suspected he wasn’t JFK before Chappaquiddick, then the “accident” settled the question once and for all. It would at first appear that Ted's car going into the drink with a young woman on board was an opportunity handed to him on a silver platter. Here was his chance to live up to the image of his sainted older brother, the hero of the capsized PT 109 who swam two miles to an island with a wounded crewman on his bad back (if I remember the movie correctly). “Ted Kennedy Saves Young Woman From Drowning," The New York Times headline would have read. "The Legacy Continues, Thanks Be To God.” Granted, it was a lesser opportunity compared to John's WWII exploits, but then he was a lesser Kennedy. He just happened to be the only one left for the media to idolize. He had the entire stage to himself, but what did he do? He ran, then added the insult of an outrageous explanation to the injury of his cowardice. He dropped the silver platter carrying the second Kennedy White House that the gods handed to him. The media that were so forgiving of his brothers' shortcomings handed him another platter, this one carrying his head.

Chappaquiddick may have denied Ted the presidency and condemned him to a life in the Senate, but make no mistake, he’s still advanced the left-wing agenda and destroyed this country to the delight of The New York Times. It's just not enough for a Kennedy, who knows the real power and glory reside in the Oval Office. It's there the myths are made. The damage Kennedys can do in the legislature is nothing compared to what they can do in The White House. This is their obsession, and who can blame them? Where else can mediocrities devoid of substance like themselves wreak havoc on the entire world? John proved it. His father steals the 1960 election for him and gets the "best and brightest" into the Oval Office and what are some of their more notable accomplishments? For one, as Ann Coulter points out in her book "Slander", nearly getting everybody killed during the Cuban Missile Crisis. They begin the Viet Nam debacle that LBJ would continue for them. Oh, and they sit back and watch the Soviets construct the Berlin Wall. Beyond the first Kennedy administration so mythologized by the media, all one need do is remember Lyndon Johnson, Carter, and Clinton and he realizes the Kennedys aren't off base in believing there are more than enough fools in the country willing to hand the presidency over to clowns.

But Ted was always the victim of a double irony. Or to put it in terms a Kennedy would appreciate, Ted was screwed coming and going. A different outcome at Chappaquiddick wouldn't have resulted in much more than a pat on the head from the media sycophants who groveled before his brother. Had he managed to win the presidency, EMK (?) wouldn't have even qualified as Camelot Lite. He would have been endlessly compared and contrasted with JFK and found wanting - in glamor, if not in substance. Given the media's canonization of John, one can imagine them taking Ted to task for not getting himself assassinated in his first term like his brother:

“Among his many shortcomings in office” a caveat-ridden New York Times editorial endorsing his bid for a second term might have read, “the president has denied his liberal supporters the pleasure of another murdered Kennedy fetish. Perhaps he will correct this sometime within the next four years.”

But that's all water under the bridge. (You knew I had to say it once.)

We're approaching the 35th anniversary of Chappaquiddick, and what's Ted Kennedy doing? Lecturing George W. Bush on those Kennedy virtues of honesty and integrity, berating him for sending young men and women to their deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq in a war against the nation's enemies. And the liberal media faithfully and uncritically report every word. Of course, Ted's anger toward Bush is understandable. A Kennedy sends people to their deaths to protect himself, not the country. Bush throws the Kennedy family's view of the world into total chaos.

Even if the other brothers were the saints the liberal media pretend they are, not the self-serving narcissists everyone, even that rare phenomenon known as the thinking liberal Democrat, knew them to be (you can bet Eugene McCarthy has no soft spot in his heart for Bobby), Ted’s reprehensible behavior back in 1969 would be enough to stain the Kennedy name. But Chappaquiddick goes beyond reflecting the corruption of one bloated politician and his family. It reflects the mockery liberals have made of American journalism. The left wing media judged Ted unworthy of his brother's White House not because he left a young woman to suffocate in his car, but because he lacked that Kennedy style, that Kennedy grace, and that Kennedy knack for covering one's tracks that they had come to know and admire. Chappaquiddick was, when you think about it, one of the sloppier Kennedy crimes and coverups. After all, the media will protect anyone for the good of the Socialist order, but they need something to work with. Rose Kennedy was probably the only person in the country who believed her son's explanation of his cowardice.

Still, as the liberal media's useful idiot in the Senate, especially on the judiciary committee, Ted's singularly odious brand of Kennedy self-righteousness and hypocrisy are particularly effective. Keep those conservative judges off the Supreme Court, Ted, and the media will continue to watch your back. For John's sake.

posted by Tom | 7/06/2004 07:54:00 AM
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