The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

The Party of Ted Kennedy, Now and Forever


From the Morning Jolt for Wednesday of this convention week:

2. The Party of Ted Kennedy, Now and Forever

Perhaps there’s no better, or more symbolic choice, for the Democrats to honor on the first night of the convention than former Senator Edward M. Kennedy.

Here is what appears to be one of the defining differences between Republicans and Democrats: Republicans think the fact that Ted Kennedy killed a woman, or at the very least put her in circumstances that led to her drowning and took no action to save her or even report her death, is unforgivable and colors every action thereafter; Democrats feel like this is some obscure family tragedy where Kennedy is almost as much a victim as she is and everyone should just avert their eyes and hush up about it because it was a long time ago.

Guy Benson: “Dems: Romney killed a woman! (False). Dems: We love this guy who actually killed a woman! (True).”

Erick Erickson: “Democrats tonight: ‘FORWARD!! IN REVERSE!! OFF THE BRIDGE!! Let’s get William Kennedy Smith to do a live shot. Of liquor.’”

Andrea Chapman: “Apparently the right ‘NOT to be raped’ or the right ‘NOT to drown’ aren’t protected by @TheDemocrats.”

La Jolla Princess: “So the DNC really gets into gear lionizing the involuntary manslaughter hero of Massachusetts. That’s just about right.”

MitreBox: “The DNC cares about women, that can swim.”

John McCormick: “Shouldn’t Democrats have to choose between the ‘war on women’ theme and adoring a man who killed a woman?”

To quote a Dennis Miller classic, “Ted Kennedy is the distilled essence of the Democratic party. Operative word there being ‘distilled.’”

And now, just a few molecules of sympathy for Kennedy; to be born into that family, and have such enormous expectations thrust upon you, surrounded by so much tragedy and so many enablers willing to indulge, forgive, and cover up your worst acts and impulses, seems like a formula for personal corruption. It’s easy for us to exclaim in disgust, fury, and incredulousness at the perceived Kennedy attitude that the rules don’t apply to them. We react that way because almost all of us spent our lives being told that the rules applied to us. Imagine being told, from your earliest memories, that the rules didn’t apply to you and then seeing everyone — family members, family friends, party officials, elected officials, members of the media — all of them jump through hoops to reinforce the notion that you were special, that the rules didn’t apply to you.

Now check out this paragraph from Michael Kelly’s legendary profile of Ted Kennedy in GQ:

Biographers first note obvious public drunkenness in the terrible aftermath of Bobby’s murder. In April 1969, flying back from a congressional trip to inspect the living conditions of poor Indians in Alaska, a hard-drinking Kennedy pelted aides and reporters with pillows, ranged up and down the aisles chanting “Es-ki-mo power” and rambled incoherently about Bobby’s assassination, saying, “They’re going to shoot my ass off the way they shot Bobby . . .”

You may loathe Ted Kennedy, but I’ll bet you wouldn’t have traded lives with him, either.

Tags: Ted Kennedy


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