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Ted Kennedy’s Legacy: He’s Not a Liberal?

The June issue of Vanity Fair features an excerpt from Edward Klein’s book Ted Kennedy: The Dream That Never Died. Right at the juncture where the excerpt jumped over 40 pages of pictures of beautiful people (including the Ralph Lauren ads), Klein oddly conflates Senator Kennedy’s scandals with his tax-and-spend liberalism, and tries to suggest that both charges are woefully out of date. There were still people who did not honor him:

They still viewed him as a relic of the past, a tax-and-spend liberal, an overweight, debauched politician who had left Mary Jo Kopechne for dead at Chappaquiddick; who had been caught making love to a beautiful luncheon companion on the floor of La Brasserie restaurant in Washington, D.C.; who had appeared as a prosecution witness in his nephew William Kennedy Smith’s lurid rape case, in Palm Beach—who, in short, was beyond hope of salvation.

However, this caricature was woefully out of date. It had been more than 15 years since his name had been linked with any scandal. And it had been even longer since he had given serious thought to running for the White House. As a result, he had ceased being a paramount threat to the Republicans.

Kennedy has cultivated a much more mature image since he married Victoria Reggie. But that has nothing do with his record of tax-and-spend liberalism, which is pretty much uninterrupted. Charging him with liberalism is not “woefully out of date.” It might seem rude in the current circumstances, but it’s not a “caricature.”  

Tim GrahamTim Graham is Director of Media Analysis at the Media Research Center, where he began in 1989, and has served there with the exception of 2001 and 2002, when served ...


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