Teddy Kennedy died last week and the encomiums have been flowing in from both of the political parties' leaders and commentators worldwide. He has been referred to ad nauseum as "The Liberal Lion" or the "the voice of the underprivileged" or the "greatest legislator the Senate has ever known."
I've got a better moniker: "The Chappaquiddick Killer." Or, if you like a more general term to sum up a life of congressional theft, how about "The Killer of Individualism and Free Enterprise."
For those whose history is a bit foggy on Chappaquiddick, here's a brief rundown on the murder of Mary Jo Kopechne by Teddy Kennedy off Chappaquiddick Island on July 19, 1969:
Kennedy attended a party of notable women. Kennedy, who told his chauffeur to stay at the party, said he secretly asked Mary Jo around midnight if she needed a ride back to her hotel, though Mary Jo left her purse and hotel key at the party, suggesting they were not indeed going back to the hotel. Kennedy pulled off the main road down a dirt road before he got to the bridge and he stopped the car. A police officer noticed the car and thought the driver must be lost. As the policeman drove up to the car, the car suddenly took off.
Moments later, Kennedy again left the main road for a dirt road and drove the car off of Dike Bridge on Chappaquiddick. The car landed upside down in the water. Kennedy got out. Mary Jo did not. Kennedy said he jumped back in the water several times to save Mary Jo, but couldn't find her. The diver who found Mary Jo in the car the next morning said he found her near a big air pocket in the car and that he could've saved her had someone notified authorities within 10 minutes of the crash. Mary Jo was later deemed to have died of suffocation, NOT drowning, suggesting that she was indeed in the air pocket for some time. One authority estimated she survived for as much as 2 hours in the bubble before suffocating.
Kennedy walked back to the party, passing four houses from which he could've called authorities, including one house with a porch light on just 150 yards from the murder scene. Kennedy told two friends, and they all went to the scene and allegedly went down to find Mary Jo but allegedly couldn't. Kennedy told the two men to not tell anyone. Kennedy said he then swam across the channel back to his hotel and went to sleep exhausted but woke up a couple of times to call his hotel's front desk about too much noise in the hotel. At 7:30 the following morning, Kennedy was found "casually" talking with the winner of the previous day's sailing race.
As Kennedy was making a call from a phone booth across the channel from the crash, he noticed that the murder scene had been discovered, and he then went to the local police station to report the crash. Kennedy received a slap-on-the-wrist judgment of leaving the scene of an accident and got no jail time. One laughable reason for this was the judge's statement that Kennedy "will continue to be punished far beyond anything this court can impose."
Somehow, no autopsy on Mary Jo's body was ever done, and an exhumation of her body in following months was rejected, despite evidence showing that foul play may have been involved, including blood stains on Mary Jo's skirt and in her nose and mouth that "may or may not be consistent with death by drowning." Despite an inquest that found Kennedy negligent and "intentional" in his action to go down a dirt road, the inquest's conclusions were kept secret for four months and even held from viewing by a grand jury, and a district attorney did not give the full estimate of the inquest to the grand jury and said there was not enough evidence for charges of manslaughter, perjury or driving to endanger. No indictments were issued. Kennedy subsequently asked his constituents to pray for him. Indeed.
If you are shaking your head and nauseous as this travesty of justice and are filled with conspiracy theories on who was in the pocket of the Kennedys on July 19, 1969, then you are obviously not a liberal -- and certainly not a politician, for whom these kinds of privileges and secret dealings are eternal truisms.
But as horrible as the murder of Mary Jo Kopechne was, we must wonder at the economic holocaust perpetrated by Kennedy and his cabal for 47 years in Congress. His strident and unwavering insistence on statist programs that have stolen trillions of dollars from hard-working Americans and handed it over to the unworthy. How many hard-working Americans (including small-business people) have taken their own lives in destitution because of the hardships Kennedy has placed upon them? How many people have paid confiscatory taxes instead of paying for better health care, resulting in terminal illness? How many Americans have resorted to the bottle after seeing that they just can't get by anymore on their meager paychecks?
Edward Kennedy was an abomination, a philanderer, a murderer, a drunk, a scoundrel, a giddy larcenist, a hater of the good, the Horatio Alger stories of America. He was human wreckage with power and a bludgeon to beat up on American individual rights and free enterprise. He was everything bad in a citizen and statesman. Like other menacing despots, he had charm.
We, unfortunately, live in a time in which personality and charm are lionized, and the hyena that lies within gets a Get Out of Jail Free card. Teddy Kennedy's body should be hung from Dikes Bridge until it rots -- the vultures will surely have none of his alcohol-sodden flesh -- as a reminder of America's once great moral spirit and sense of proper judgment.
And then, maybe poor Mary Jo may rest in peace.