Kennedy: Chappaquiddick “haunted” him

posted at 2:15 pm on September 3, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

The New York Times has its hands on Ted Kennedy’s posthumous memoirs, and they report on Kennedy’s first significant statement on the Chappaquiddick accident that took the life of Mary Jo Kopechne when Kennedy failed to report the sinking of his car for several hours.  In the book, due out in two weeks, Kennedy claims that the death of Kopechne and his “terrible decisions” haunted him for the rest of his life:

In a memoir being published this month, Senator Edward M. Kennedy called his behavior after the 1969 car accident that killed Mary Jo Kopechne “inexcusable” and said the events might have shortened the life of his ailing father, Joseph P. Kennedy.

In that book, “True Compass,” Mr. Kennedy said he was dazed, afraid and panicked in the minutes and hours after he drove off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island with Ms. Kopechne as his passenger.

The senator, who left the scene and did not report the accident to the police until after her body was found the next day, admitted in the memoir that he had “made terrible decisions” at Chappaquiddick. He also said that he had hardly known Ms. Kopechne, a young woman who had been an aide to his late brother Robert, and that he had had no romantic relationship with her.

The account by Mr. Kennedy, who died on Aug. 25 at age 77, adds little to what is known about the accident and its aftermath but recounts how they weighed on him and his family. The book does not shy from the accident, or from some other less savory aspects of the senator’s life, including a notorious 1991 drinking episode in Palm Beach, Fla., or the years of heavy drinking and women-chasing that followed his 1982 divorce from his first wife, Joan.

Somehow, this self-serving gloss doesn’t quite jibe with the reminiscences of his friend Ed Klein, who describe a man hardly “haunted” by his actions:

I don’t know if you know this or not, but one of his favorite topics of humor was indeed Chappaquiddick itself. And he would ask people, “have you heard any new jokes about Chappaquiddick?” That is just the most amazing thing. It’s not that he didn’t feel remorse about the death of Mary Jo Kopechne, but that he still always saw the other side of everything and the ridiculous side of things, too.

Does that sound like a man “haunted” by the death he caused, and the cowardly actions he took to avoid responsibility for it? Read Senatorial Privilege: The Chappaquiddick Cover-Up for a better perspective on Kennedy’s actions at the time, which will give some perspective on this lame valediction on the subject.

In another passage, it sounds as though Ronald Reagan not only outfoxed him on policy, but that he did it so well that twenty years later, Kennedy still didn’t realize he’d been played:

While Mr. Kennedy had little patience for the president’s piety and punctiliousness, he found the disengagement of Mr. Carter’s successor, Ronald Reagan, at times oddly charming, though at other times frustrating. The senator said it had been difficult to get Reagan to focus on policy matters. He described a meeting with him that he and other senators had sought to press for shoe and textile import limits.

The senators were told that they would have just 30 minutes with the president. Reagan began the meeting, the book said, commenting on Mr. Kennedy’s shoes — asking if they were Bostonians — and then talking for 20 minutes about shoes and his experience selling shoes for his father. “Several of us began conspicuously to glance at our watches.” But to no avail. “And it was over!” Mr. Kennedy said. “No one got a word in about shoe or textile quota legislation.”

It sounds as though that’s exactly what Reagan — a free-trade advocate — wanted.  They wanted face time with the President, which would be difficult to reject out of hand, so Reagan made sure they didn’t get a chance to use it.  In 20 years, Kennedy couldn’t figure that out?

I’m sure Kennedy’s book will sell plenty of copies, but I doubt it will help enhance his reputation.


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This POS still keeps painting himself as the victim, even from his grave. And not a word of apology to Mary Jo and her family. What a scumbag. A true Kennedy . Why don’t his ghost writers correct the text of his memoirs and just say what he wanted to say all the time :

It was Mary Jo’s Fault

What a parasite

macncheez on September 3, 2009 at 3:35 PM

We have a new verb to add to the American lexicon.

Thanks, JD!

UltimateBob on September 3, 2009 at 2:30 PM

It was completely intentional, and designed to make sure that the name live on and his legacy is correctly established. I tell my kids to never lie, cheat, steal, needlessly harm, or tedkennedy another person.

JiangxiDad on September 3, 2009 at 3:37 PM

When Ted Kennedy is the best you have to offer, you ain’t got chit! I’m sick of hearing liberals talking about this old coot as if he was some type of God. The old drunk was a POS with a loud mouth.

joedoe on September 3, 2009 at 3:38 PM

Perhaps Kennedy tried to do his penance there, where he championed historic legislation on civil rights, immigration, education, and health care. If so, Mary Jo Kopechne inspired those achievements, because her death forced Ted Kennedy to strive for a higher standard.
Gag.

Nice of him to do his “penance” with other people’s money. He supported all sorts of Liberal wet dreams (welfare, Head Start, food stamps, legal aid, CRA, S-CHIP, unfettered immigration, etc.) that took a huge bite out of the wallets of middle-class taxpayers, all while Teddy and the other “charitable” Kennedys sheltered their ill-gotten hundred$ of million$ in off-shore trusts to make sure their money wouldn’t take a big hit from the increased taxes that Teddy so willingly imposed on everybody else.

AZCoyote on September 3, 2009 at 3:39 PM

In that book, “True Compass,” Mr. Kennedy said he Mary Jo Kopechne was dazed, afraid and panicked in the minutes and hours after he drove off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island with Ms. Kopechne Mr. Kennedy as his passenger scrambling to save his political career

tatersalad on September 3, 2009 at 3:46 PM

Old Joe Kennedy: ” I’m proud of you boy,you drowned the b#@^&*.
You should always wear protection.

Jeff from WI on September 3, 2009 at 3:55 PM

Dead chicks tell no tales…

yubley on September 3, 2009 at 3:55 PM

Best damn men’s shoe on the market, traditionally stylish, comfortable and durable. Paid around $250 for mine and they’ve lasted well over six years and two resoles, still shine up nice.

Alden Pyle on September 3, 2009 at 3:22 PM

Wow, that’s one expensive shoe. I wear Johnston & Murphys and they cost about half that. Very light, comfortable, stylish, and long lasting. Plus, they’re re-solable, if that’s a word.

See… we could easily take up 20 minutes talking about our shoes!

UltimateBob on September 3, 2009 at 3:59 PM

We have a new verb to add to the American lexicon.

Thanks, JD!

UltimateBob on September 3, 2009 at 2:30 PM
It was completely intentional, and designed to make sure that the name live on and his legacy is correctly established. I tell my kids to never lie, cheat, steal, needlessly harm, or tedkennedy another person.

JiangxiDad on September 3, 2009 at 3:37 PM

I have submitted your new verb to urbandictionary.com for approval. I hope like h*ll they accept it for the very reason you mention – perpetuity. Should have an answer soon.

meoky on September 3, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Nothing Kennedy says about the accident makes sense. Only a Kennedy could get away with this in Massachusetts at that time in history. He was drunk, rolled off the bridge, saved his hide, went home and probably was so wasted from drinking that he forgot a woman was in the car with him. He had no guilt since he had no memory. His crooked family pulled strings, and he walked.

He is now past our judgement and has to answer for this to God. Good luck with that, and all the others you’ve served to destroy, Ted. May God show more mercy to you than you have in your life to the helpless unborn and in your car.

Hening on September 3, 2009 at 4:01 PM

…the years of heavy drinking and women-chasing that followed , predated, and precipitated his 1982 divorce from his first wife, Joan.

Fixed it

DamnCat on September 3, 2009 at 4:02 PM

Did killing Mary Jo haunt him the day he assaulted another woman and made a waitress sandwich with Dodd?

Jeff from WI on September 3, 2009 at 4:03 PM

(God judging Ted a few days ago)

God: “Ted, tell me is there anyone on earth that will vouch for you being a great guy so I can absolve you from your many sins?”

Ted: “Sure God, (starting to feel relieved), there are millions of Americans that think I’m a great guy.”

God: “I mean people on earth that won’t be going to hell.”

Ted: “er, ah, well God…nope”

Jeff from WI on September 3, 2009 at 4:07 PM

More self-serving Kennedy BS.

Who were you when the cameras weren’t rolling, Senator Kennedy? I think Ed Klein gave us a glimpse into your character, and very few are surprised.

capitalist piglet on September 3, 2009 at 4:07 PM

Dear Real Americans,

Ted Kennedy is dead. This is old news. Meanwhile other noted car-killer Laura Bush walks free.

Think about it.

Simon

simplesimon on September 3, 2009 at 4:20 PM

See… we could easily take up 20 minutes talking about our shoes!

UltimateBob on September 3, 2009 at 3:59 PM

Hah! Reagan was no fool and he damn sure knew his shoes.

Alden Pyle on September 3, 2009 at 4:26 PM

Dear Real Americans,

Ted Kennedy is dead. This is old news. Meanwhile other noted car-killer Laura Bush walks free.

Think about it.

Simon

simplesimon on September 3, 2009 at 4:20 PM

Laura Bush did not run and hide as a natural reflex like that POS Teddy.

saiga on September 3, 2009 at 4:26 PM

Dear Real Americans,

Ted Kennedy is dead. This is old news. Meanwhile other noted car-killer Laura Bush walks free.

Think about it.

Simon

simplesimon on September 3, 2009 at 4:20 PM

You know, Columbo, there’s no statute of limitations on death cases. So you can just hop on a jet down to D-FW and toddle on over to Highland Park and arrest Ms. Bush yourself for vehicular manslaughter, if you really believe your own tripe.

jon1979 on September 3, 2009 at 4:36 PM

The fact that a book by Ted Kennedy has the word “true” on the cover is a little absurd.
What’s next?
“The High Morals and Ethics of Chicago Politics” by Barack Obama?
“Innocence on Trial” by Charles Rangel?
“The Frig is Safer Than Real Estate” by William Jefferson?
“Sex Has No Place in the Workplace” by William Jefferson Clinton?
More like “True Stuck Compass”.
Give me a break.

JeffinOrlando on September 3, 2009 at 4:36 PM

You know, Columbo, there’s no statute of limitations on death cases. So you can just hop on a jet down to D-FW and toddle on over to Highland Park and arrest Ms. Bush yourself for vehicular manslaughter, if you really believe your own tripe.

jon1979 on September 3, 2009 at 4:36 PM

She is too far gone to be ruled competent to stand trial.

simplesimon on September 3, 2009 at 4:42 PM

She is too far gone to be ruled competent to stand trial.

simplesimon on September 3, 2009 at 4:42 PM

And your too far gone to be taken seriously.

You are the weakest link. Goodbye.

Phil-351 on September 3, 2009 at 4:48 PM

At least he didn’t, “personally rape, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephone to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country”

nothing is too over-the-top for Massachusetts.

Alden Pyle on September 3, 2009 at 4:49 PM

It haunted the f*cking pig all right. Every time he laughed himself pukinsick at one of the jokes.

Mr. Grump on September 3, 2009 at 4:53 PM

Senator Edward M. Kennedy called his behavior after the 1969 car accident that killed Mary Jo Kopechne “inexcusable”

It was “inexcusable” but Teddy, his family, his friends, and his voters decided to go ahead and “excuse” them anyway… Very big of them.

I guess the fact that he realizes the thing that he fought so hard to be excused for was in fact “inexcusable” makes him…. excused?

Ampersand on September 3, 2009 at 4:54 PM

Alden Pyle on September 3, 2009 at 4:49 PM

that’s ‘jinjiss kahn” in the MA toff dialect.

JiangxiDad on September 3, 2009 at 4:54 PM

Think about it.

Simple

simple243 on September 3, 2009 at 4:20 PM

LOL, you don’t even know the meaning of thw word “think”.

Hijacking a thread can get you banned. This is the second thread you’ve done this on today here. Ed?

Del Dolemonte on September 3, 2009 at 4:55 PM

He was drunk, rolled off the bridge, saved his hide, went home and probably was so wasted from drinking that he forgot a woman was in the car with him. He had no guilt since he had no memory. His crooked family pulled strings, and he walked.

Hening on September 3, 2009 at 4:01 PM

The damn thing is that your theory is the LEAST-damning explanation of the event!

PackerBronco on September 3, 2009 at 4:55 PM

I have submitted your new verb to urbandictionary.com for approval. I hope like h*ll they accept it for the very reason you mention – perpetuity. Should have an answer soon.

meoky on September 3, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Thank you. You are a gentleman, and a scholar.

JiangxiDad on September 3, 2009 at 4:56 PM

Hijacking a thread can get you banned. This is the second thread you’ve done this on today here. Ed?

Del Dolemonte on September 3, 2009 at 4:55 PM

You’re a child.

simplesimon on September 3, 2009 at 4:57 PM

Chappaquiddick haunted him? Which part–killing Mary Jo or the jokes he reportedly loves so much weren’t funny enough?

Which is the propaganda? (rhetorical question–it’s surely the Treason Times in my view)

Liam on September 3, 2009 at 4:57 PM

Meanwhile other noted car-killer Laura Bush walks free.

simpletonsimon on September 3, 2009 at 4:20 PM

The only noted car-killer that I’m aware of is the cash-for-clunkers program.

Go away little troll.

PackerBronco on September 3, 2009 at 4:57 PM

Dear Real Americans,

Ted Kennedy is dead. This is old news. Meanwhile other noted car-killer Laura Bush walks free.

Think about it.

Simon

simplesimon on September 3, 2009 at 4:20 PM

ahh. witness the moral equivalence of the left. Thanks simpleton. You pretty much fight the fight FOR the right. Useful idiot is the term that comes to mind…

I’m betting you like this line of thinking because it goes over big with your fellow “deep thinkers” who are too “learning disabled” to actually look up the facts of these cases. To bad for you the people here are smart enough to look at the choices that led to these two accidents. And the choices made after the accidents.

But don’t get me wrong. You argument works… when you disregard the actual facts.

Ampersand on September 3, 2009 at 5:06 PM

[T]he events might have shortened the life of his ailing father, Joseph P. Kennedy.

As James Taranto notes, the events may have shortened Mary Jo’s life, too.

HowardPortnoy on September 3, 2009 at 5:08 PM

She is too far gone to be ruled competent to stand trial.

simplesimon on September 3, 2009 at 4:42 PM

Source? Quotes? HTML links?

(C’mon — you know you could have come up with a more nuanced reply than that if you had put a few more minutes into it.)

jon1979 on September 3, 2009 at 5:17 PM

Dear Real Americans,

Ted Kennedy is dead. This is old news. Meanwhile other noted car-killer Laura Bush walks free.

Think about it.

Simon

simplesimon on September 3, 2009 at 4:20 PM

Still loving that Kennedy death aren’t cha? You must just be giddy that you get to exercise your pathetic little troll mind on a different subject other than Ochimpy.

By the way, we’re still waiting for the link that shows Laura cracked jokes about her accident or how she left the scene, or any abhorrent behavior since the accident. And tat is what is was….an accident.

Your hero never convinced anyone, except you deranged liberals, that Mary Jo’s death was an accident. There are lots of statements that contradict that liars version of what happened and it is very possible that he murdered her beforehand and this “accident” was actually an attempt to cover it up. Given his penchant for attacking and abusing women, it certainly is suspicious that he claimed his behavior that killed Mary Jo was an anomaly. The slimbag was abusive and a misogynist, and he NEVER changed his behavior toward women his entire life.

Considering that behavior toward women, here is the more likely scenario the night……He was exercising his manliness over her when he killed her. He wasn’t thinking about his political career. He simply had to have her and she resisted. Only after he murdered her did he think about his political career and decided to cover it up with a BS story about an “accident”.

Watching you deflect that murderers sin disgusts me.

csdeven on September 3, 2009 at 5:25 PM

Thank you. You are a gentleman, and a scholar.

JiangxiDad on September 3, 2009 at 4:56 PM

SWEET. You’ve been published.

Urban Dictionary – TedKennedy was published‏
From: noreply@urbandictionary.com
Sent: Thu 9/03/09 4:41 PM
To:
Thanks for your definition of TedKennedy! Editors reviewed your entry and have decided to publish it on urbandictionary.com. It should appear on this page in the next few days:
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=TedKennedy

Urban Dictionary —– TedKennedy A drowning death, usually involving foul play.
I saw this movie where this guy tried to tedkennedy this girl, but she managed to find an air pocket in the boat and she ultimately escaped and put him in prison.

meoky on September 3, 2009 at 5:49 PM

Someone needs to squeeze simplepimple’s head.

McBride on September 3, 2009 at 6:09 PM

You’re I’m a child Democrat troll.

simple343 on September 3, 2009 at 4:57 PM

FIFY

Del Dolemonte on September 3, 2009 at 6:31 PM

If there’s a God, then Ted Kennedy is trapped in a sinking car, trying to get air from a diminishing bubble and clawing pathetically at the upholstered flooring.

alliebobbitt on September 3, 2009 at 7:17 PM

In the immortal words of my British husband’s grandfather –
Ted Kennedy is a sh**house.

gopmom on September 3, 2009 at 7:25 PM

She is too far gone to be ruled competent to stand trial.

simple343 on September 3, 2009 at 4:42 PM

Laura Bush’s final poll numbers (Favorable VS Unfavorable)

Clintoon News Network/Vinod Gupta

Favorable 67%
Unfavorable 20%

USA Today/Gallup Poll

Favorable 76%
Unfavorable 15%

Michelle O’s highest ever? 73%, in April. Now 67%, or 20+ % higher than her husband.

Next?

Del Dolemonte on September 3, 2009 at 7:42 PM

Urban Dictionary – TedKennedy was published‏
From: noreply@urbandictionary.com
Sent: Thu 9/03/09 4:41 PM
To:
Thanks for your definition of TedKennedy! Editors reviewed your entry and have decided to publish it on urbandictionary.com. It should appear on this page in the next few days:
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=TedKennedy

Urban Dictionary —– TedKennedy A drowning death, usually involving foul play.
I saw this movie where this guy tried to tedkennedy this girl, but she managed to find an air pocket in the boat and she ultimately escaped and put him in prison.

meoky on September 3, 2009 at 5:49 PM

Thank you JiangxiDad. Unfortunately, I can’t think of an instance where I will get to use it. Will probably be a hit with rappers, though. Love the irony.

gopmom on September 3, 2009 at 7:54 PM

“Yet it was the specter of Chappaquiddick that Edward Kennedy, the youngest brother, never could shake.”

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

In a related story, Mary Jo Kopechne could not be reached for comment.

DSchoen on September 3, 2009 at 8:16 PM

CONCLUSION:

KENNEDY KILLED MARY JO.

Based on accepted evidence, that’s Homicide.

But if the investigators were honest and did their jobs, we would have learned the real motive of the accident (or planned incident). It could have been MURDER.

SADLY, WE WILL NEVER KNOW.

If there’s really a God (I which believe there is), then HE’s the only ONE who can dispense TRUE JUSTICE.

To Mary Jo,…. may you rest in peace.

TheAlamos on September 3, 2009 at 8:26 PM

Urban Dictionary —– TedKennedy A drowning death, usually involving foul play.
I saw this movie where this guy tried to tedkennedy this girl, but she managed to find an air pocket in the boat and she ultimately escaped and put him in prison.
meoky on September 3, 2009 a

Problem, Mary Jo Kopechne did drown, she ran out of air after SEVERAL hours being trapped in Edward Kennedy’s car. 11:15 pm

She was alive when Teddy left the seen and went back to the party.
She was alive when Teddy came back to the seen with 3 other people. A little after midnight 12:15 AM

She was alive when Teddy left the seen with 3 other people going to the ferry boat landing and discovered the ferry boat don’t run after midnight, darn! 12:30 AM

She was alive when Teddy came back to the seen with 3 other people who now had to cross the bridge, the one that Teddy drove off trapping her in his car. 1:00 PM

She was alive when Teddy passed out in his hotel room 2:00 AM

She was dead 10 hours later when Teddy got the bright idea perhaps he should call the cops and let them know he had been in a accident.

Teddy, what a guy!

DSchoen on September 3, 2009 at 8:33 PM

The haunting Teddy “thought” he went through when he was alive is a picnic at the beach compared to the eternal condemnation upon him now.

infidel4life on September 3, 2009 at 8:37 PM

Henry Percy: Obama mixes metaphors in banal Kennedy eulogy

President Obama, he of the soaring rhetoric, needs to give his speech writers a day off now and then. He’s obviously been working them to death.

Consider his eulogy for Senator Kennedy.

“While he was seen by his fiercest critics as a partisan lightning rod, that is not the prism through which Ted Kennedy saw the world, nor was it the prism through which his colleagues saw him.”

How do you like your metaphors? Mixed? Teddy did not see the world through the prism of a lightning rod? I should hope not — unless he was exceptionally pixilated.

Setting aside the horribly mangled metaphors, the sentence translates into intelligible English thusly: “Ted and his friends did not see the world as his critics do.” Talk about banal: Who sees the world as his critics do? Such embarrassing prose in an undergraduate’s paper would be covered with red ink, yet our magniloquent Orator-in-Chief reads this stuff without blushing. Does Obama even know what he is reading from those ubiquitous teleprompters?

American Thinker is rarely so succinct. Short and sweet.

Maybe worth an Obamateurism, but definitely befitting Teddy’s particularly pixilated memory.

maverick muse on September 3, 2009 at 8:55 PM

Suggested Epitaph:

SENATOR EDWARD M. KENNEDY

(1932-2009)

The only Senator who never crossed
that bridge when he came to it.

Dr. Charles G. Waugh on September 3, 2009 at 8:55 PM

Yeah, and that kind of haunt could drive a man to drink.

Kissmygrits on September 3, 2009 at 9:51 PM

It is a shame Ted did not his Portuguese water dog, Splash, with him at the time of the accident. The dog would’ve had the decency to try to save Mary Jo.

HellCat on September 3, 2009 at 11:08 PM

all of 88 comments on this Kennedy thread and it’s been up here for a couple days. Here’s hoping this is the last of the Kennedy requiems. Let the man rest in peace.

Pilgrim on September 4, 2009 at 7:21 AM

Let the man rest in peace.

Pilgrim on September 4, 2009 at 7:21 AM

Mary Jo Kopechne could not be reached for comment.

He can rot in hell until the day he is truly repentant for his despicable actions that killed Mary Jo.

csdeven on September 4, 2009 at 8:59 AM

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