Joyce Carol Oates: How does one woman’s life compare to decades of awesome Senate service?

posted at 9:51 pm on August 28, 2009 by Allahpundit

Somehow, the fact that she recognizes Chappaquiddick as “unconscionable, despicable, unmanly and inexplicable” only makes it worse. It’s come to this:

Yet, ironically, following this nadir in his life/ career, Ted Kennedy seemed to have genuinely refashioned himself as a serious, idealistic, tirelessly energetic liberal Democrat in the mold of 1960s/1970s American liberalism, arguably the greatest Democratic senator of the 20th century. His tireless advocacy of civil rights, rights for disabled Americans, health care, voting reform, his courageous vote against the Iraq war (when numerous Democrats including Hillary Clinton voted for it) suggest that there are not only “second acts” in American lives, but that the Renaissance concept of the “fortunate fall” may be relevant here: one “falls” as Adam and Eve “fell”; one sins and repents and is forgiven, provided that one remakes one’s life…

Yet if one weighs the life of a single young woman against the accomplishments of the man President Obama has called the greatest Democratic senator in history, what is one to think?

The poet John Berryman once wondered: “Is wickedness soluble in art?”. One might rephrase, in a vocabulary more suitable for our politicized era: “Is wickedness soluble in good deeds?”

This paradox lies at the heart of so much of public life: individuals of dubious character and cruel deeds may redeem themselves in selfless actions. Fidelity to a personal code of morality would seem to fade in significance as the public sphere, like an enormous sun, blinds us to all else.

This reminds me of Elizabeth Wurtzel talking after 9/11 about how aesthetically beautiful the collapse of the Towers seemed to her. Anyone can have a monstrous thought, but it takes a special depravity to insist on publicizing it. And yet — Oates’s point here is the unstated reason why so many lefties look the other way at Teddy’s most obscene moment, isn’t it? When you come right down to it, they’ve made a moral calculus and decided in Kennedy’s favor. It’s really as simple as that.

Via Weasel Zippers, here’s Eric Zorn making the same point but viewed through a modern media lens:

If we’d had insatiable 24/7 cable news networks in July 1969, the accident on Chappaquiddick Island in which a passenger in a car driven by Sen. Edward Kennedy drowned would likely have dominated the national consciousness for months…

This thought experiment invites a question to which there is no nonpartisan answer: Was it just as well that we didn’t — couldn’t — have a media feeding frenzy over Chappaquiddick in 1969? Would the nation have been better off if Kennedy had been shamed into private life?

Or, as I believe, is the nation — particularly our disabled and disadvantaged residents — better off for the 40 years of service he was able to render after that terrible night?

Translation: It’s a good thing that Teddy never did time for leaving someone to die or else we would have been deprived of all sorts of sweet, sweet left-wing legislation. These cretins are actually willing to grant absolution for homicide to advance their policy agenda. And they say Glenn Beck’s crazy.

Related to Zorn’s piece, here’s CNN asserting that today’s media never would have let Teddy get away with Chappaquiddick. Isn’t that true, actually? Not only would you have Fox and talk radio driving the story, but the simple fact of having to fill airtime 24/7 on cable news would force the hands of outfits like CNN and MSNBC. And another point: For all the grief we give the media for their Kennedy love, Chappaquiddick was covered at the time. I’d bet well in excess of 90 percent of Massachusetts voters heard about it. And yet, a mere year after it happened, he still won reelection with over 60 percent of the vote. There was no media cover-up; Democrats simply don’t care, and never really have.

Update: A friend’s giving me a hard time on Twitter, insisting I was too tough on Oates. Probably true. The very last line is clearly critical of the importance placed on public virtue at the expense of personal morality. I do think she’s ultimately ambivalent on the key question, though, of whether Teddy’s Senate career “redeemed” him from his crime at Chappaquiddick. The fact that she’s even willing to consider it as a calculus — the public good balanced against the private evil, even in a case of homicide — is the moral error I was driving at in the post.


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I have a question that’s off subject. Why does this POS get full military honors?

Teddy served in the Army for two years. After getting kicked out of Harvard for cheating, he enlisted for four, but his Daddy got it changed to two, and saw that he served an easy tour in Paris during the Korean War, which Ted treated pretty much like a European vacation. Ted was ‘honorably discharged’ still a PFC.

Socratease on August 29, 2009 at 11:31 AM

Joyce Carol Oates, one of America’s leading novelists, is the author of Black Water, which was inspired by the Chappaquiddick incident – end note from the Guardian article by JCO

She damn well should have blamed Kennedy for his murder except for the fact that it gave her a “story idea.”

Ms. Oates, I have a great idea for another story. Have you ever been water boarded?

ExpressoBold on August 29, 2009 at 11:34 AM

It would be a much better world had Kennedy drowned and Mary Jo Kopechne survived in 1969.

bookman on August 29, 2009 at 11:44 AM

It is a sad some can actually rationalize murder in this way. Yes…he devoted his life to public service, but let’s be honest. Those that serve term, after term, as Kennedy did, did so because, in my opinion…1. He had nothing to go to, if he had stepped down, or not been re-elected, and 2. They LOVE the power. That goes for both sides.

Those, that can’t stomach the flagrant dishonesty, and corruption on the hill, are the true heros’. THey step down, because their conscience can’t live with it, and their ability to change it, is unlikely.

Kennedy will be judged by God now, but it saddens me to see this celebration of him, and his warped life. Especially within the church. My aunt was punished for the rest of her days for having gotten a divorce from an abusive husband. For the next 40 years, she was not allowed communion. My husband, and I gave every Sunday, but decided to forgo the envelopes, and gave in cash. Neither of us believed in giving, and having it registered for all to see. It was a personal thing for us. For that decision, we were not allowed to have our children baptized in this particular church.

So…that being said, it almost sickens me to see this mans life celebrated. I know it wasn’t all bad, but it wasn’t all good either, and to see this family be so favored in the church…bothers me, when others are punished for far less discretions in their lives.

capejasmine on August 29, 2009 at 11:48 AM

He’s a typical Liberal
Somewhat Chappaquiddickal
Kill the Babies
Save the Whales
Smoke, but don’t inhale

ronnyraygun on August 29, 2009 at 12:09 PM

Ted’s actions with Chappaquick indicate where the country was at the time regarding women.

That’s all.

What I disagree with Oates about isn’t that there’s a question about personal morality issues versus public good. That’s ongoing. Look at Sanford.

What I do think gets ignored is acknowledgment that she was just another woman who was killed under suspicious circumstances, and society covered it up.

This is still not truly gone away. You can see the same issue today.

AnninCA on August 29, 2009 at 12:15 PM

I have a hard time understanding how anyone can truly admire legislative service. Ted Kennedy showed up for 47 years to vote on spending other people’s money. How can anyone be impressed by that? Ted Kennedy was a man from a wealthy family who had privileges few people do. By all accounts he was a selfish, corrupt individual.

But because he voted the “right” way, that mitigates his complicity in killing a person? What utter rubbish.

Enrique on August 29, 2009 at 12:21 PM

Aside from Oates’s talentless scrawling, I suggest that a trade of Kopechne’s life for Teddy Kennedy’s and an America of the past 40 years freed from the blight of his political career is a trade that any clear-thinking person would make today.

Jaibones on August 29, 2009 at 12:21 PM

Aside from Oates’s talentless scrawling, I suggest that a trade of Kopechne’s life for Teddy Kennedy’s and an America of the past 40 years freed from the blight of his political career is a trade that any clear-thinking person would make today.

Talentless?

*wince*

She’s absolutley prolific and has won numerous awards.

AnninCA on August 29, 2009 at 12:23 PM

What utter rubbish.

Enrique on August 29, 2009 at 12:21 PM

Truly. In addition to the freedom of a life without financial burden of any kind, Ted Kennedy sought power and status in exploiting the name his betters created. That he only further stained it is remarkable.

Jaibones on August 29, 2009 at 12:23 PM

have a hard time understanding how anyone can truly admire legislative service. Ted Kennedy showed up for 47 years to vote on spending other people’s money. How can anyone be impressed by that? Ted Kennedy was a man from a wealthy family who had privileges few people do. By all accounts he was a selfish, corrupt individual.

From all accounts, he was excellent at compromise.

AnninCA on August 29, 2009 at 12:24 PM

BTW, Ted Kennedy Jr. really did do a nice and loving talk at the funeral.

nice job

AnninCA on August 29, 2009 at 12:26 PM

By now Mary Joe Kopechne has had the chance to ask Teddy “why did you leave me to die?”.

Rockygold on August 29, 2009 at 12:34 PM

I hope the demons in hell are causing terror to Teddy 100 times what Mary Jo went through those minutes or hours waiting for help and running out of air.

Jeff from WI on August 29, 2009 at 12:38 PM

Only the most miserable twit of a woman could shower compliments on a skirt chasing, sexual assaulting, killer of other women. I guess they’ll love any piece of scum that supports their rights to kill their own children.

Jeff from WI on August 29, 2009 at 12:41 PM

Only the most miserable twit of a woman could shower compliments on a skirt chasing, sexual assaulting, killer of other women. I guess they’ll love any piece of scum that supports their rights to kill their own children.

I don’t think any real feminist could ever back this family.

One positive outcome?

They have brought attention to the bigger issue about the male perogative and what kind of abuse that can support.

AnninCA on August 29, 2009 at 12:45 PM

Yes, let’s all have high praise for the TRAITOR that sought out working for the KGB in the 1980s simply for political gain over Reagan. Kennedy is the 20ths centuries Benedict Arnold.

Jeff from WI on August 29, 2009 at 12:45 PM

She’s absolutley prolific and has won numerous awards.

AnninCA on August 29, 2009 at 12:23 PM

Yes, she’s a gifted writer. Allah is off the mark here. It would be understandable to say that Chappaquiddick can’t be excused by any subsequent actions by the driver that night. But Oates is wrestling with the paradox, which is one that most people face–can our good deeds make amends for moments of bad judgment that reside in our past and can never be undone? Allah seems to be saying that the calculus shouldn’t even be considered. That seems unrealistic.

Also, comparing anything Oates writes to the vapid Elizabeth Wurtzel is a reach.

dedalus on August 29, 2009 at 12:47 PM

Now that Ted is gone, who will emerge to show us the perfectly wrong stance on the political issues? He’s left a hole you could drive a car through into.

ROCnPhilly on August 28, 2009 at 11:21 PM

“I’m John Kerry, and I’m reporting for duty!”

massrighty on August 29, 2009 at 12:50 PM

Let’s reverse the timeline, assume that someone after a period of heroic service to his country has a similar incident as Ted and Mary Jo did in ’69. Would that previous service give them a pass. Duke Cunningham certainly didn’t get a pass, and his flaws still make him a more admirable person than Ted “Waitress Sandwich” Kennedy.

Somehow Democratskis can literally get away with murder.

Holger on August 29, 2009 at 12:51 PM

From all accounts, he was excellent at compromise.

AnninCA on August 29, 2009 at 12:24 PM

Yes. Yes. Very good.

A young woman’s life for a political future, compromise par excellance.

Saltysam on August 29, 2009 at 12:53 PM

He’s left a hole you could drive a car 1968 Oldsmobile through.

Pelayo on August 29, 2009 at 12:55 PM

There are great scenes in the movie “Ghost”, where the shadows rise up from the pavement to become wraith-like shapes and drag away the bad guys, and then return as shadows.

I hope that Mary Jo had the satisfaction of watching Ted being dragged off, and that her soul is finally at peace.

Go to God, MJ.

grumpy_old_soldier on August 29, 2009 at 12:55 PM

“I’m John Kerry, and I’m reporting for duty!”

massrighty on August 29, 2009 at 12:50 PM

LOLOL

Jeff from WI on August 29, 2009 at 12:58 PM

I know Democrats don’t care about treason but I’d have to think a few, so called moderates would care besides the Republicans.

Jeff from WI on August 29, 2009 at 1:00 PM

God to Satan: “How’s Ted Kennedy doing?” Satan to God: ” Oh, about medium rare but he’s coming along nicely”.

Jeff from WI on August 29, 2009 at 1:02 PM

I assume they’ll use a casket for Ted. Most other like him are just run through the manure spreader.

Jeff from WI on August 29, 2009 at 1:05 PM

Grace_is_sufficient on August 29, 2009 at 8:20 AM

So, you’re off to a ‘diversity seminar,’ eh?

Remain calm, while they preach heresy; do not respond, with reason and logic.

Simply endure the politically correct attack on common sense that most of these things have become. Take notes, and parrot back their buzzwords.

Stay underground; we need you.

massrighty on August 29, 2009 at 1:07 PM

She’s absolutley prolific and has won numerous awards.

AnninCA on August 29, 2009 at 12:23 PM

Libs giving awards to other libs.

JellyToast on August 29, 2009 at 1:09 PM

From all accounts, he was excellent at compromise.

AnninCA on August 29, 2009 at 12:24 PM

You find a way to praise a murderer, having said reprehensible things about Reagan?

Your depravity is boundless.

massrighty on August 29, 2009 at 1:16 PM

By now Mary Joe Kopechne has had the chance to ask Teddy “why did you leave me to die?”.

Rockygold on August 29, 2009 at 12:34 PM

Trust me – they are in different realms.

massrighty on August 29, 2009 at 1:18 PM

Libs giving awards to other libs.

JellyToast on August 29, 2009 at 1:09 PM

Though not to all of them. Oates often writes about a physically rough world. Her “On Boxing” essays are highly regarded and add to the appreciation for what fighters go through.

dedalus on August 29, 2009 at 1:27 PM

Speaking of God, perhaps that’s the worst character of all. Not God of course, but the Catholic Church. While I could not stomach actually watching any of the fawning over this pile of pig dung, I’m sure that Teddy will be buried with a full Catholic funeral. The Catholic Church will show the world a “great Catholic” going home to his final resting place with a gracious priest spouting honors upon a killer, a supporter of infanticide, a supporter of destroying the “sacrament” of marriage with a new deviant twist. Spouting platitudes to a true moral reprobate, true scum. In that, the Catholic church cheapens itself to the level of the scum they honor.

Jeff from WI on August 29

I’m not a Catholic.
But,, it is a mistake to think that God will forgive a man who willfully squanders his life away on sin with a plan in the end,, at the last few moments, to confess his sin and ask for forgiveness.
That is not the Bible. It is not the Gospel. It is not Christianity.
God is not a fool.

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatever a man sows, that shall he also reap. Gal. 5:7

1 Corinthians 6:9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?

Job 13:9 “Will it be well when He examines you? Or will you deceive Him as one deceives a man?

I could give many more scriptures if it mattered. But know this,,, God knows a mans’ heart. To actually think that God would forgive a man who chose to ignore His offer of mercy,, who made a decision to ignore God and spend his whole life satisfying only his own evil desires and then at the very end,, when he as nothing left to give God except a few breaths before he dies,,, well, sorry. I wouldn’t take the chance.

JellyToast on August 29, 2009 at 1:39 PM

One last verse.

As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever. 1 Chron. 28:9

JellyToast on August 29, 2009 at 1:43 PM

Oates like Kennedy is vastly over-rated.

Disturb the Universe on August 29, 2009 at 1:44 PM

In that, the Catholic church cheapens itself to the level of the scum they honor.

Jeff from WI on August 29, 2009 at 10:53 AM

First off, it’s left totally in the hands of the bishop (Cardinal Archbishop in Boston) and that particular Cardinal Archbishop believes when it comes to celebrity Democrats’ brazen heresy, gentle remonstrance gets you farther blahblahblah etc. I hear there’s a tough sheriff in St Louis, but he’s in the minority of American bishops. So’s you know, they’re not globally well-regarded for it within the Church hierarchy.

Second the Catholic dogma of forgiveness is subtle, and is perhaps best explained by the thieves crucified on either side of Christ. Thief one mocks Jesus, bang goes to Hell. Thief two acknowledges his own sin and the supremacy of the Messiah- God does not interrupt the heathen torture, God just promises him a seat in Heaven and lets him die just like Thief One and Jesus. Which is understood to mean, the Church’s role is to have you repent sometime before you die, however you die, and celebrate your repentance with a sacramental burial. Accident victims, executed murderers, even Senators.

Chris_Balsz on August 29, 2009 at 2:03 PM

First off, it’s left totally in the hands of the bishop (Cardinal Archbishop in Boston) and that particular Cardinal Archbishop believes when it comes to celebrity Democrats’ brazen heresy, gentle remonstrance gets you farther blahblahblah etc. I hear there’s a tough sheriff in St Louis, but he’s in the minority of American bishops. So’s you know, they’re not globally well-regarded for it within the Church hierarchy.

Second the Catholic dogma of forgiveness is subtle, and is perhaps best explained by the thieves crucified on either side of Christ. Thief one mocks Jesus, bang goes to Hell. Thief two acknowledges his own sin and the supremacy of the Messiah- God does not interrupt the heathen torture, God just promises him a seat in Heaven and lets him die just like Thief One and Jesus. Which is understood to mean, the Church’s role is to have you repent sometime before you die, however you die, and celebrate your repentance with a sacramental burial. Accident victims, executed murderers, even Senators.

Chris_Balsz on August 29, 2009 at 2:03 PM

Chris,
Many speak and believe themselves to be devout members of their various religions. Certainly Ted spent a lifetime telling us all how devout a Catholic he, as well as his entire family has been. I doubt that we need to go over his various deeds throughout his life such as killing Mary Jo, or his “Dodd/Kennedy waitress sandwich”. Perhaps at some point he asked Jesus for forgiveness for those deeds, although it must of been very late in his life since he evidently loved hearing the latest Dead Mary Jo/Chappaquiddick joke. My problem with the Catholic Church is that at some point in the sixties, most assuredly in the seventies with his highest support for Roe V Wade, into his then unknown treason in the eighties, into the nineties and finally today, his “deeds of evil” may have been thwarted long ago if the Church had just stood up to him and told him his actions, especially his support of abortion, would get him excommunicated, along with Biden Pelosi, and every other pro-abortion Catholic, Roe V Wade might not be around in it’s current form right now.

Jeff from WI on August 29, 2009 at 2:20 PM

I do think she’s ultimately ambivalent

Indifferent, not ambivalent. She, and her peers, turned a blind eye for 40 years.

spmat on August 29, 2009 at 2:23 PM

20 million Soviet Citizens, 2.75 million Southeast Asians, unknown millions of Iraqis (if we had cut & run). All for the “good of the people” or the party.

Why should they care about the life of one young woman?

29Victor on August 29, 2009 at 2:41 PM

“Yet if one weighs the life of a single young woman against the accomplishments of the man President Obama has called the greatest Democratic senator in history, what is one to think?”

What is one to think?

That Joyce Carol Oates, Obama and Democrat’s in general believe in the concept of “Human sacrifice” To please the gods!

DSchoen on August 29, 2009 at 2:50 PM

What I do think gets ignored is acknowledgment that she was just another woman who was killed under suspicious circumstances, and society covered it up.
This is still not truly gone away. You can see the same issue today.
AnninCA on August 29, 2009

“Society” didn’t cover anything up. The sycophantic, Kennedy adoring pukes in Massachusetts gave the swimmer a pass on his act of homicide for the sake of Jack and Bobby and the Kennedy mystique/myth. Don’t blame society in general for the miserable failings of some.

SKYFOX on August 29, 2009 at 2:56 PM

Kennedy chose to flee the scene , leaving the young woman to die an agonising death not of drowning but of suffocation over a period of hours.
Joyce Carol Oates: The senator’s explanation for this unconscionable, despicable, unmanly and inexplicable behaviour was never convincing: he claimed that he’d struck his head and was “confused” and “exhausted” from diving and trying to rescue the young woman and had gone home to bed.

Kennedy’s statement broadcast nationally from Joseph P. Kennedy’s home on 25 July 1969

Kennedy:”On Chappaquiddick Island, off Martha’s Vineyard, I attended, on Friday evening, July 18, a cook-out, I had encouraged and helped sponsor for devoted group of Kennedy campaign secretaries. When I left the party, around 11:15 P.M., I was accompanied by one of these girls, Miss Mary Jo Kopechne.”

around 11:15 P.M.

Joyce Carol Oates: leaving the young woman to die an agonising death not of drowning but of suffocation over a period of hours.

Hours as in more than 2, yes?

Kennedy:

“Instead of looking directly for a telephone after lying exhausted in the grass for an undetermined time, I walked back to the cottage where the party was being held and requested the help of two friends, my cousin, Joseph Gargan and Phil Markham, and directed them to return immediately to the scene with me — this was sometime after midnight

Walked back to the party and got 3 other people took them back to the seen.

Note: Sometime after midnight, but before 2:00 am.

Miss Mary Jo Kopechne was STILL ALIVE AT THIS TIME!

Accident around 11:15 P.M., Ted Kennedy was back in his hotel room about 2 A.M.

Joyce Carol Oates:

“death not of drowning but of suffocation over a period of hours.”

2 hours after the Accident would be 1:15 am, Miss Mary Jo Kopechne was STILL ALIVE, and Teddy “poor thing” was exhausted and heading for The ferry, that was shut down for the night.

Guess Teddy and his friends must have gone back to the bridge, the one where Mary Jo Kopechne, still alive, but running out of air, crossed it in order to get to the mainland where Teddy’s hotel room was located, about 2 A.M.

Joyce Carol Oates:“death not of drowning but of suffocation over a period of hours.”

It’s fair to conclude Mary Jo was still alive as “Teddy” passed out in his hotel room.
Teddy, what a guy!

DSchoen on August 29, 2009 at 3:06 PM

But Oates is wrestling with the paradox, which is one that most people face–can our good deeds make amends for moments of bad judgment that reside in our past and can never be undone? -dedalus

No she isn’t. She’s rationalizing, not wrestling. Where are Teddy’s “good deeds”? I mean at a direct personal level. I think the problem is one of definitions. Progressives think that “public service”, i.e. being a senator, constitute “good deeds.” I do not. Teddy didn’t have a come to Damascus moment. He went on from Chappaquiddick unchanged. He was already a senator, so that was the same. He continued to exploit and sexually assault young women. He was worth $30 million and spent zippo on anyone personally. (It is not generous to advocate large expenditures from the public purse.) From personal experience, I can say that he was famous for being personally ungenerous on Cape Cod — notoriously bad tipper.

For his “public service” he was supplied mostly at public expense an unending supply of courtesans, high quality booze, flights from Washington to Boston, drugs, lackeys to write whatever legislation would be credited to him, power, and whatever else he wanted. He lived like a king, rivaled in decadence only by perhaps Kim Jong Il. He was a lout before, and he was a lout after.

So, I’m failing to see where his “good deeds” penance was. Or have we defined suffering down to the point where “not getting your party’s nomination for president” is now a form of hardship?

shazbat on August 29, 2009 at 3:15 PM

Liberal depravity is boundless.

Roy Rogers on August 29, 2009 at 3:16 PM

If we’d had insatiable 24/7 cable news networks in July 1969, the accident on Chappaquiddick Island in which a passenger in a car driven by Sen. Edward Kennedy drowned would likely have dominated the national consciousness for months

No. It would not have dominated the national consciousness.

Want proof?

John Edwards.

pabarge on August 29, 2009 at 3:19 PM

shazbat on August 29, 2009 at 3:15 PM

I agree with you on two points:
1.) Kennedy did little to alter his career because of Chappaquiddick. He would have continued to be a liberal senator regardless.
2.) I view his legislative contribution as being a detriment to the country, so I don’t give him points for improving the lives of millions as a counterweight to his crime.

My point was more general. Allah seems to recoil at the calculus being applied at all. I think Oates asks a good question. My calculus on Teddy is different than hers.

dedalus on August 29, 2009 at 3:51 PM

After reading this outrageous, leftist rationale for the life of a young woman, I wondered: How come the left cannot use the same rationale for Enhanced Interrogation to save lives? Oh yeah….that’s right….it doesn’t match their agenda……

Opposite Day on August 29, 2009 at 4:46 PM

It’s okay to drown young American women in Oldsmobiles but you can’t water board terrorists… Good thing the left cleared that up.

Roy Rogers on August 29, 2009 at 9:16 PM

… I don’t give him points for improving the lives of millions as a counterweight to his crime….

dedalus on August 29, 2009 at 3:51 PM

I am convinced that the viciousness of Ted Kennedy towards his opponents almost rises to the depraved indifference with regard to Mary Jo. His negligent act was ignored, in fact it was viewed as nothing more than a prank that went wrong and he couldn’t be held to the same standard as normal folk.

Only one other politician in US history has been a greater detriment to the country than Ted Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Teddy picked up where Johnson left off. Where would Teddy be if he didn’t have daddy to fix things. I am always in wonder when I hear the likes of Ted Kennedy rail against rich, greedy _______, you fill in the blank.

Liberals, like the Kennedys, tend to want to pull up the ladder after they make it, so no one else can be in the same arena. Ted Kennedy was that type in public and as such he was the public persona of the Kennedy family. I hope that no more Kennedys inflict damage on the country.

belad on August 29, 2009 at 9:25 PM

I just saw on Fox that Kennedy had sent a letter to the Pope asking for a blessing, and the Pope gave it to him.

SouperConservative on August 29, 2009 at 10:23 PM

if one weighs the life of a single young woman against the accomplishments of the man President Obama has called the greatest Democratic senator in history, what is one to think?

Unless Ted can wave his pen and make that young woman come back to life, unless he can give her her life back, redemption is impossible. Ted lived the years she never got to, every experience he lived she spent in a cold grave. No words or deeds can excuse, redeem, make good, or pay back a young woman who was denied the gift of life. When I weigh an innocent life against anyone’s accomplishments, particularly those of the person who killed her, the scale moves massively in favor of the innocent life.

Dollayo on August 29, 2009 at 10:26 PM

Had Oates been the filling of a Kennedy/Dodd waitress sandwich, I’m sure she would have written about it fondly as the greatest love affair that she had ever experienced. You know, because of his selfless public service…….

cjmangum on August 30, 2009 at 9:20 AM

Had Oates been the filling of a Kennedy/Dodd waitress sandwich, I’m sure she would have written about it fondly as the greatest love affair that she had ever experienced. You know, because of his selfless public service…….

cjmangum on August 30, 2009 at 9:20 AM

I hate to say it but sometime women are so gullible and easily impressed it’s actually hilarious.

Jeff from WI on August 30, 2009 at 9:25 AM

Oates is rotten with a mold called Leftism.

Like ergot on rye it causes hallucinations.

And mutating into despicable anti-moral weasels.

profitsbeard on August 30, 2009 at 10:10 AM

Once the liquor wears off he’s food for the worms now. Lets move on.

bluegrass on August 30, 2009 at 11:00 AM

Update: A friend’s giving me a hard time on Twitter, insisting I was too tough on Oates. Probably true. The very last line is clearly critical of the importance placed on public virtue at the expense of personal morality. I do think she’s ultimately ambivalent on the key question, though, of whether Teddy’s Senate career “redeemed” him from his crime at Chappaquiddick. The fact that she’s even willing to consider it as a calculus — the public good balanced against the private evil, even in a case of homicide — is the moral error I was driving at in the post.

With all due respect, you’re the one who’s exactly right here, and Hall (or whoever your Twitter buddy is) needs to get a f’in clue before giving you or anyone the first word about it.

The first issue is, how anyone can presume to characterize Teddy’s actions as inherently good or selfless, when he’s doing all of it with OPM. (And besides, without the consent of those “OP” upon whose rights or property he’s infringing.) Even if you were going to concede to the moral calculus they postulate — which is so monstrous and creepy that the stain of it can hardly be removed once it’s been spoken — it’s not as if Teddy cured cancer or donated his own fortune to help those in need. He robbed Peter to pay Paul. Even those who like to play moral calculus games with their favorite heroes are usually careful enough to place “accomplishments” that are highly subjectively determined (such as those based in politics) off-limits.

Also, all of the so-called precious time he spent on the Hill accrued to *his* magnificence and glory, not those of the people he claimed to “represent”. And all of that time was *borrowed* time, time he stole from someone else, in order to stay on the run from his own horrible crime(s), maybe in order to manufacture precisely the ex post facto alibi he needed (of “I can’t go to jail, I’m a powerful public official, I’m doing important business and can’t be interrupted”) to stay free. It wasn’t quality time he spent on our behalf, it was frantic time, the time of a guilty man, who spends his entire life listening for that knock on the door.

He sought to postpone his Judgment in this life, by conducting business that was only “selfless” in the most tendentious and transparent sense, while the Oateses of the world sought to flatter him (and perhaps to assuage pangs of their own guilt by complicity) by conflating judgment in this life with judgment in the next, through faux equivalences such as the “fortunate fall”. Pathetic. Oates has nary a skeptical note about any of this except in the most abstract and perfunctory terms imaginable.

RD on August 30, 2009 at 12:37 PM

Mary Jo Kopechne was a leftist. She pushed the leftist theme. She was, after all ,a boiler room girl. SHE was an expendible asset.TO the leftest we are all expendable. The pictures of her hanging with Teddy showed her in her happy place,screwing the rest of America.Remember , hang out with SCUM and you might end up at the bottom of the POND.

huckelberry on August 30, 2009 at 2:45 PM

Oates has nary a skeptical note about any of this except in the most abstract and perfunctory terms imaginable.

RD on August 30, 2009 at 12:37 PM

Just start with this gem of an opener. All of the floozie’s doozies are highlighted:

Yet, ironically, following this nadir in his life/ career, Ted Kennedy seemed to have genuinely refashioned himself as a serious, idealistic, tirelessly energetic [read: frantic] liberal Democrat in the mold of 1960s/1970s American liberalism

Reaction:
. Killing an innocent person is a “career nadir”? WTF? (Yeah teddy, “bad career move” killing someone. On the other hand, good career move weaseling out of taking the rap for it. Suspended sentence?)

. WTH is remotely “ironic” about pressing your advantage after escaping a homicide rap to do all the things you were going to do anyway? Lady, this ain’t Hollywood where all villains come with their own theme music and fleet of henchmen; this is the way many normal, run-of-the-mill crooks behave after a rape/torture/murder/death/kill: business as usual, and a life spent helping little orphan children.

. More puffery about his “genuine refashioning” following the personal growth experience of killing a woman. No credible source has ever asserted that Ted’s personality or ideology shifted radically after 1969, so one wonders what he was supposed to have “refashioned”. His work ethic perhaps? I suppose he never got caught killing anyone we know again, so maybe be refashioned himself into a less prolific (or more careful) killer.

. And the trope makes yet another attempt to pass off leftism as JFK-style liberalism.

RD on August 30, 2009 at 3:12 PM

Ted Kennedy… The Original O.J. Simpson… I’m surprised he didn’t move to Florida and rome the golf courses, searching for the guy who was really driving that car.

Griz on August 31, 2009 at 2:51 AM

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