hawkeye (hawkeye7) wrote,

In Memoriam: Ted Kennedy

No thumbnail biography of Senator Edward Kennedy has been complete without at least a passing mention of Mary Jo Kopechne, a civil rights activist and Kennedy aide who died in a 1969 motor vehicle accident when a drunk Ted Kennedy drove his car off a bridge. Kennedy left her to drown and reported the incident to his lawyer some hours later.

However, I bristled at hearing some commentators say that this was a "youthful indiscretion", a lone blot on Kennedy's record. In 1991, Ted Kennedy was involved in his nephew William Kennedy Smith's rape of Patricia Bowman, a woman that the two met in a bar. Ted Kennedy joined in the subsequent public smear campaign that resulted in the acquittal of Kennedy Smith, who, at last count has been accused of rape no less than five times. (1991 joke: "What does Ted Kennedy call it when you grab a woman by the ankles and pull her to the ground?" "Foreplay")

A couple of commentators, I might add, also said that Ted Kennedy was the last surviving member of his generation of the family. Of course, his sister Jean is still very much alive. But at least the eulogists are consistent in their line that women don't count.

Should Kennedy's achievements as a legislator be considered to outweigh his faults? I say: why should they?
Tags: politics
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