Thursday, August 27, 2009

Chappaquiddick, in brevis, and an exegesis of the infamous 'incident'

Right Girl sums it up:
The death of Mary Jo Kopechne was an accident, but his actions at the time of and in the weeks following the accident were beyond the pale. Poor, scared rich kid gets strings pulled to make the whole thing go away.
She's got much more, so you should read the whole thing, but in two sentences she has accurately distilled the essence of the narrative arc. Excuse me, however, for betraying my Bible-thumping roots, as I indulge in what evangelicals call exegesis of the text.

"Accident," yes. Yet when a man guzzles booze all day and then drives off a bridge, it is certainly not an unavoidable accident. The idea of Chappaquiddick as a "tragedy" whose main victim was Ted and the "Kennedy legacy" -- which is the manure load Ted's MSM hagiographers are now peddling -- is debunked by two stubborn facts pointed out yesterday in our Kopechne Day remembrances:
  • Mary Jo didn't "drown," but died of asphyxiation. The passage of Donkey Cons: Sex, Crime, and Corruption dealing with Chappaquiddick (pp. 38-43) was researched and written by my co-author Lynn Vincent, who was emotionally traumatized to discover this reality. Mary Jo did not drown, a horrific enough experience, but one which would have killed her in barely a minute. Rather, she remained alive, underwater in Teddy's Oldsmobile, breathing the oxygen trapped inside an air pocket at the rear floorboard of the upside-down car. So, while Ted walked back to the regatta party at the Martha's Vineyard cottage and tried to concoct an exculpatory cover-story (as his own cousin, Joe Gargan, later explained), Mary Jo was still alive, frantically hoping for a rescue that never came, until finally she breathed her last.
  • Mary Jo Kopechne was a dedicated young liberal woman of tremendous potential. This was pointed out by Jimmie Bise's co-blogger Paula at the Sundries Shack. Mary Jo had gone to Alabama during the civil rights era, having the courage to live out her own convictions. You don't have to be a liberal to say of her that, at least, she was neither hypocrite nor a coward. Nor could anyone rightly describe Mary Jo Kopechne as a lightweight bimbo, just another bit of womanizer Ted's incidental arm candy. Had Mary Jo lived . . . Well, the women's movement was just then coming into its own, and one could easily imagine an experienced Democratic political operative (for that's what she was) enjoying a long and successful career in her own right.
However, such are the mind-fogging powers of liberal orthodoxy that not even feminists -- who, of all people, ought to be denouncing the MSM's disgusting veneration of this privileged swine, Ted Kennedy -- will grasp these key facts as the bedrock truth of what Chappaquiddick really meant.

Instead, in story after story, we see dishonest passive-voice references to this "incident." Call it an "incident" or an "accident," but at all costs, avoid describing it as vehicular manslaughter or anything else that might attribute agency and responsibility to the responsible agent, the man behind the wheel. The New Republic covered itself in shame yesterday by publishing a Kennedy remembrance by Bill Clinton's Lewinsky apologist, Sean Wilentz, which featured this classic exercise in moral idiocy:
For many years, [Ted] did not understand how the incident at Chappaquiddick in July 1969 foreclosed the possibility that he would ever succeed JFK to the presidency or fulfill the promise of RFK's presidential campaign in 1968. . . .
The disgrace of Chappaquiddick helped cost Kennedy his position as Senate Majority Whip in 1971 . . .
He also carried the weight of a collapsing marriage, as well as of the public's lingering outrage about Chappaquiddick. . . .
So, according to Wilentz, the most important thing about the "incident" was its impact on Kennedy's political prospects, which Wilentz externalizes as the responsibility of those muddleheads who constitute "the public," and whose "outrage" so unforgivingly lingered.

The passive voice of willful ignorance enables Wilentz to avert his eyes from the scene of the crime, where the declarative-sentence facts might lead to a genuinely honest and enlightened historical understanding. And yet such liberal "intellectuals" wonder why we laugh at them.


  1. She was murdered in cold, very cold, blood, by a very rich asshole.

    Things a liberal would care about, were it Mark Foley or Larry Craig, or maybe the Bush twins, or Laura, or Sarah, or Duke, or Newt, or Haley...etc.

    She was murdered.

  2. And yet such liberal "intellectuals" wonder why we laugh at them.

    I'm not sure they're aware of you, Mr. McCain.

  3. Wealth has its privileges. Teddy killed someone and got a six-month suspended license. Plaxico Burress is about to go to jail for two years for shooting *himself*.

  4. In my lastest posting on Teddy, at the end I published a sketch of what Miss Kopechne endured during her last hours. See Item #13 and please feel free to take it and use it:

  5. You said she ran out of air instead of drowning. Do you have a source for that? I went looking and found only this:

    - The diver who recovered her body speculated that there had been an air pocket, based on the location her body

    - A judge denied the request for an exhumation order, saying there was insufficient evidence she asphyxiated

  6. Just think...

    By the time George Wingnut Bush is dead, we can pull up all the similar stuff about HIS drinking history... much of it not yet written, but eventually to be dug up or leaked out.

    We can even pull up his alleged cocaine use, which will surely be documented by then.

    No, he may never have been involved in someone's death. But, let's not forget Laura's driving history while we're at it...

  7. Quoted from and linked to at: