Sponsored Content

So You Won’t Talk, Eh?

Jason Clarke as Ted Kennedy in Chappaquiddick (Claire Folger)

Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the August 26, 1969 issue of National Review.

The big gaps in Teddy Kennedy’s “explanation” of what happened that night on Chappaquiddick continue to be filled by rumor and, naturally, by speculation. Various scenarios are circulating, such as the one pieced together by Drew Pearson and Jack Anderson, which has Teddy concocting a plan to have his factotum Joseph Gargan take the rap, a plan abandoned by Teddy, Markham, and Gargan the next morning. Another scenario, outlined by Francis Russell in this issue, has Teddy taking Rosemary Keough to the beach, unaware of a sleeping Mary Jo in the back seat of the car.

Whatever their provenance these scenarios at least represent “working hypotheses” — there being something in the human mind that refuses to accept a sequence of events as, finally, unintelligible: which is what, in effect, Senator Kennedy asked his TV audience to do. The continuing refusal of those who were at the cottage to say anything at all about the evening’s events serves to generate further skepticism. If Teddy’s explanation is true, what motive would exist for the silence? If the guests could confirm his story, and fill in its gaps, why should they refuse to do so?

The continuing refusal of those who were at the cottage to say anything at all about the evening’s events serves to generate further skepticism. If Teddy’s explanation is true, what motive would exist for the silence? If the guests could confirm his story, and fill in its gaps, why should they refuse to do so?

As might have been expected, the European press is having a field day — according the case the same sort of intense examination earlier given the Oswald affair. No doubt we shall soon have the Chappaquiddick equivalents of the Grassy Knoll theorists, the two-three-and-four bullet men, and the double-Oswald sleuths. Perhaps we shall even have a book from Mark Lane. Yet amid all the speculation, some interesting thoughts turn up. The leading French newsweekly L’Express, for example, attributes the outpouring of sympathy for Teddy to the larger social phenomenon of increasing permissiveness, a nouvelle tolérance which is replacing the older demand for strict accountability. L’Express has also turned up this gem: “The parents of Mary Jo Kopechne have refused to take further action. Her father explains: ‘The Senator has telephoned me twice since the accident and each time he sobbed so hard that I couldn’t understand what he said. You can understand how moving this was.’ The mother was more detailed. ‘We received,’ she said, ‘a visit from two priests [let’s hope they weren’t Fathers Gargan and Markham] who have assured us that Mary Jo is in heaven and should not be disturbed. We have followed their advice.’ ” L’Express comments: “This extraordinary ecclesiastical intervention suggests that Edward Kennedy, to get himself out of this miserable business, is not relying solely on the sympathy he can arouse.”

The Editors comprise the senior editorial staff of the National Review magazine and website.

Most Popular

Film & TV

Knives Out Takes On the Anti-Immigration Crowd

Since the beginning of the Obama era, the Left has broadcast two contradictory messages on the subjects of race and immigration. The first is that a so-called Coalition of the Ascendant will inevitably displace white Americans as the dominant force in the country’s politics and culture. The second is that ... Read More
Film & TV

Knives Out Takes On the Anti-Immigration Crowd

Since the beginning of the Obama era, the Left has broadcast two contradictory messages on the subjects of race and immigration. The first is that a so-called Coalition of the Ascendant will inevitably displace white Americans as the dominant force in the country’s politics and culture. The second is that ... Read More
From left: Harvard University's Noah Feldman, Stanford University's Pamela Karlan, University of North Carolina's Michael Gerhardt, and George Washington University's Jonathan Turley testify before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, December 4, 2019.

The Impeachment Eye Test

To put it mildly, the 1960s were not notorious for juridical modesty. They might compare favorably, though, to Wednesday’s episode of “The Lawyer Left Does Impeachment” at the House Judiciary Committee. Oh, I have no doubt that the three progressive constitutional scholars spotlighted by Democrats yearn in ... Read More
From left: Harvard University's Noah Feldman, Stanford University's Pamela Karlan, University of North Carolina's Michael Gerhardt, and George Washington University's Jonathan Turley testify before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, December 4, 2019.

The Impeachment Eye Test

To put it mildly, the 1960s were not notorious for juridical modesty. They might compare favorably, though, to Wednesday’s episode of “The Lawyer Left Does Impeachment” at the House Judiciary Committee. Oh, I have no doubt that the three progressive constitutional scholars spotlighted by Democrats yearn in ... Read More
Culture

The Absurd Crusade against the Salvation Army

We all know some individuals who are so obviously good and kind that we are certain if anyone were to dislike them, that's all we would need to know about the person. We would immediately assume he or she is a bad person. To hate the manifestly good is a sure sign of being bad. Such is the case regarding the ... Read More
Culture

The Absurd Crusade against the Salvation Army

We all know some individuals who are so obviously good and kind that we are certain if anyone were to dislike them, that's all we would need to know about the person. We would immediately assume he or she is a bad person. To hate the manifestly good is a sure sign of being bad. Such is the case regarding the ... Read More
White House

Nancy Pelosi’s Case

Further to the post below, a couple of thoughts on Nancy Pelosi’s statement yesterday. She said this near the beginning: During the constitutional convention, James Madison, the architect of the Constitution, warned that a president might betray his trust to foreign powers which might prove fatal to the ... Read More
White House

Nancy Pelosi’s Case

Further to the post below, a couple of thoughts on Nancy Pelosi’s statement yesterday. She said this near the beginning: During the constitutional convention, James Madison, the architect of the Constitution, warned that a president might betray his trust to foreign powers which might prove fatal to the ... Read More