Ignore Obama’s eulogy. Mark Steyn gives Teddy the eulogy he deserves

Obama spouted a maudlin mess about Kennedy today.  He didn’t even bother to mention by allusion to Kennedy’s “flaws” that little problem at Chappaquiddick:

Today we say goodbye to the youngest child of Rose and Joseph Kennedy. The world will long remember their son Edward as the heir to a weighty legacy; a champion for those who had none; the soul of the Democratic Party; and the lion of the U.S. Senate—a man whose name graces nearly one thousand laws, and who penned more than three hundred himself.

But those of us who loved him, and ache with his passing, know Ted Kennedy by the other titles he held: Father. Brother. Husband. Uncle Teddy, or as he was often known to his younger nieces and nephews, “The Grand Fromage,” or “The Big Cheese.” I, like so many others in the city where he worked for nearly half a century, knew him as a colleague, a mentor, and above all, a friend.

Ted Kennedy was the baby of the family who became its patriarch; the restless dreamer who became its rock. He was the sunny, joyful child, who bore the brunt of his brothers’ teasing, but learned quickly how to brush it off. When they tossed him off a boat because he didn’t know what a jib was, six-year-old Teddy got back in and learned to sail.


This spirit of resilience and good humor would see Ted Kennedy through more pain and tragedy than most of us will ever know. He lost two siblings by the age of sixteen. He saw two more taken violently from the country that loved them. He said goodbye to his beloved sister, Eunice, in the final days of his own life. He narrowly survived a plane crash, watched two children struggle with cancer, buried three nephews, and experienced personal failings and setbacks in the most public way possible. [This would seem to be the appropriate point to at least reference his car accident — although I guess “personal failings and setbacks” in “public” counts.]


And that’s how Ted Kennedy became the greatest legislator of our time. He did it by hewing to principle, but also by seeking compromise and common cause—not through dealmaking and horse-trading alone, but through friendship, and kindness, and humor.  [Thanks to Ed Klein, we know all about the wonderful Kennedy humor.]

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. He was a product of an age when the joy and nobility of politics prevented differences of party and philosophy from becoming barriers to cooperation and mutual respect—a time when adversaries still saw each other as patriots.

I can’t quote any more of this saccharine pap.  It’s warping my keyboard.

For a more accurate eulogy for the man who died, as opposed to the political operative, Mark Steyn has a few choice words — words made necessary by the fact that our American media resolutely refuses to recognize that this was not merely a “flawed” man who enacted legislation they liked, but a cheater, a traitor, and a murderer (and Steyn doesn’t even touch upon the first two attributes):

In this case, the unmentionable corpse is Mary Jo Kopechne, 1940–1969. If you have to bring up the, ah, circumstances of that year of decease, keep it general, keep it vague. As Kennedy flack Ted Sorensen put it in Time magazine: “Both a plane crash in Massachusetts in 1964 and the ugly automobile accident on Chappaquiddick Island in 1969 almost cost him his life.”

That’s the way to do it! An “accident,” “ugly” in some unspecified way, just happened to happen — and only to him, nobody else. Ted’s the star, and there’s no room to namecheck the bit players. What befell him was . . . a thing, a place.


We are all flawed, and most of us are weak, and in hellish moments, at a split-second’s notice, confronting the choice that will define us ever after, many of us will fail the test. Perhaps Mary Jo could have been saved; perhaps she would have died anyway. What is true is that Edward Kennedy made her death a certainty. When a man (if you’ll forgive the expression) confronts the truth of what he has done, what does honor require? Six years before Chappaquiddick, in the wake of Britain’s comparatively very minor “Profumo scandal,” the eponymous John Profumo, Her Majesty’s Secretary of State for War, resigned from the House of Commons and the Queen’s Privy Council, and disappeared amid the tenements of the East End to do good works washing dishes and helping with children’s playgroups, in anonymity, for the last 40 years of his life. With the exception of one newspaper article to mark the centenary of his charitable mission, he never uttered another word in public again.

Ted Kennedy went a different route. He got kitted out with a neck brace and went on TV and announced the invention of the “Kennedy curse,” a concept that yoked him to his murdered brothers as a fellow victim — and not, as Mary Jo perhaps realized in those final hours, the perpetrator. He dared us to call his bluff, and, when we didn’t, he made all of us complicit in what he’d done. We are all prey to human frailty, but few of us get to inflict ours on an entire nation.


When a man is capable of what Ted Kennedy did that night in 1969 and in the weeks afterwards, what else is he capable of? An NPR listener said the senator’s passing marked “the end of civility in the U.S. Congress.” Yes, indeed. Who among us does not mourn the lost “civility” of the 1987 Supreme Court hearings? Considering the nomination of Judge Bork, Ted Kennedy rose on the Senate floor and announced that “Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit down at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution . . . ”

You can read the rest here.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

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  • suek

    Found this among the comments on Flopping Aces. Maybe it belongs on another thread, but it fits here as well.

    “Here’s what Father Euteneur, President of Human Life International had to say about this great scandal, of which I totally agree. And this was written before the funeral.

    ‘ Senator Kennedy needs to be sent to the afterlife with a private, family-only funeral and the prayers of the Church for the salvation of his immortal soul. He will not be missed by the unborn who he betrayed time and time again, nor by the rest of us who are laboring to undo the scandalous example of Catholicism that he gave to three generations of Americans.


    Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer,
    President, Human Life International’ “

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    Ted Kennedy, like any proper white patriarch of those that once owned slaves, kept the blacks in their place.

    As Helen has said, white privilege and systemic racism is endemic because of the privileges given to whites. Not even OJ Simpson, a black man, could get away without a full media trial for murder. But Ted Kennedy, the rich white boy, could.

    The Left claims they are against white privilege. Then again, it seems very convenient for them to utilize in their personal lives, Al Gore included.

  • Mike Devx

    Exalt your allies, no matter how depraved and scurrilous they may be.
    Demonize your opponents, no matter how fair and honorable they may be.

    After all, “better one of our’uns than your’uns.

    It’s a thoroughly amoral and unethical approach… and thoroughly secular as well.

    It’s good to keep in mind that conservatives don’t put up with our scum once we find them out (and they eventually get found out! Hear me, Larry Craig!) Liberals on the other hand seem to accept anything from their own. Bill Clinton and Monica, Jefferson and his foil-wrapped money in the fridge, sexual scandals galore… they accept it all.

    But yes, Ted Kennedy’s traitorous overtures to Moscow, and leaving Mary Jo to die and then covering it up… it takes the cake. And the fawning tributes in the media leave me sickened. I try to believe that it is only a symptom of our media’s celebrity-driven culture, but I’m still troubled by the media coverage.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    It’s good to keep in mind that conservatives don’t put up with our scum once we find them out (and they eventually get found out! Hear me, Larry Craig!) Liberals on the other hand seem to accept anything from their own. Bill Clinton and Monica, Jefferson and his foil-wrapped money in the fridge, sexual scandals galore… they accept it all.

    That’s why over any long period of time, regardless of what Republicans do legislatively, Republicans lose power and Democrats gain it.

    They don’t have to get rid of Republicans via the electoral system. The character assassination method is very efficient for them as a way to remove from power particular obstacles.


    Post mortem on money

    As a U.S. senator, Kennedy earned a base salary of $165,200 a year, but that just skimmed the surface of his net worth.

    On the most recent report in 2008, which includes his own assets and those of his wife and any dependents, Kennedy listed a string of publicly and non-publicly traded trusts and assets. Under the filing rules, Kennedy was only required to place the value of those assets within a range, rather than give an exact dollar amount.

    The report placed the net worth of his publicly traded assets somewhere between a low of $15 million and high of $72.6 million.

    Just a year earlier, Kennedy reported somewhat rosier totals that placed his publicly traded assets somewhere between a low of $46.9 million and a high of $157 million.

    Kennedy has other sources of income, including $1,995,833 in royalties he received from Grand Central Publishing a division of Hachette Group Book, publishers of his memoir True Compass scheduled for release in mid-September. Part of the proceeds will go to charity, including the John F. Kennedy Library.


    Rather redefines the words ‘chutzpah’ considering they paid off Mr. & Mrs. Kopechne with approximately $150,000. A very odd title – True Compass, from a man who didn’t have a moral one.