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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sen. Ted Kennedy and the Miracle of Moral Relativism

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari)

"I'm more than willing to go off decorum to ensure THIS MAN is not beatified. Sorry, he destroyed lives. And he knew it." - Moonie Times scribbler Andrew "Not so" Breitbart on Twitter

The death last Tuesday night of Senator Ted Kennedy has unleashed a lot of pent-up hatred of not just the late senator and his historic legacy but against all victories hard-won by the liberal lawmaker over nearly a half a century in the Senate. In the last day and a half, we've heard it all: Leftists clinging to Kennedy's bloated corpse in order to keep the health care bill afloat; Teddy's daddy being a bootlegger; and, of course, Chappaquiddick.

How soon right wingers forget about the blood- and shit-stained legacies of the forebears of their own heroes. Thank the Good Lord for moral relativism! Huzza!

While it may be true that Edward Kennedy's father was a bootlegger, what they seem to forget was that, A) it still has nothing to do with Kennedy's legacy in the Senate, B) Ted Kennedy was less than two years old by the time Prohibition was repealed C) Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. was a lifelong Republican.

The biggest point that ought to be brought up is D.

Personally, I'd rather have a senator representing my state whose father was a bootlegger than a chief executive who used Daddy's money to steal an election and whose father's father was a Nazi financier who made enough money for Adolph Hitler to buy and make armaments that would go on to kill American soldiers. I'd also rather have in the Senate a man who spent a lifetime in public service to make amends for one tragic mistake than have as a president an incurious intellectual bulimic whose grandfather made money off concentration camp slave labor, tried to overthrow the government in a fascist coup and later lined his pockets with that slave labor money when his trust fund kicked in and would never find the cajones to decry his grandfather's seditious shortcomings.

Prescott Bush was the kind of villain you'd see in a Robert Ludlum or Ian Fleming novel. Like Kennedy's father, he would later bury his criminal past in public honors and public service, eventually becoming a United States Senator himself while the press dutifully never once mentioned his attempted fascist coup in 1933 that would've involved right wing industrialist buddies like Remington (who would've supplied the arms to millions of disaffected WW I veterans).

The press's silence was understandable. After all, part of the coup's strategy was to bribe the editors of 25 of the biggest newspapers in America and one can only assume that during Bush's candidacy the bribe money kept flowing.

Prescott Bush, despite being named by Gen. Smedley Butler, the man who would've led this ragtag army to help depose Franklin Delano Roosevelt, never once saw the inside of a federal courtroom nor ever had to testify before a Congress of which he would in less than 20 years time become a large part.

Accountability, or the lack of it, is a two-edged sword, and these right wing shit smears beneath Rush Limbaugh's and Andrew Breitbart's tortured BVD's ought to heed that lesson.

The rage, rage coming from the right that we're hearing against Kennedy really has nothing to do with Chappaquiddick. It has more to do with Kennedy successfully defeating losing, hateful, spiteful GOP agendas and policies and showing them up for the evil that they were. In voting on historic civil rights, immigration, educational, national security and health care issues, to name but a few, Senator Kennedy wasn't merely a man who had lived in history but one who made history as someone always near the very center of power in Washington, a man to whom Richard M. Nixon would personally extend a health care compromise.

But red-lensed moral relativism makes all the difference to those who weren't even alive or old enough to follow the news when Kennedy walked away from the scene of an accident that left a young woman dead. It may be true that perhaps Kennedy should've been impeached and thrown out of the Senate as a result of his crime. But if that had happened, who knows who would've succeeded him and Head Start perhaps wouldn't exist. Edward M. Kennedy, instead of being regarded an unpunished villain, ought to serve as a example of the value of giving a person a second chance.

The Bush clan had plenty of chances to make good, to make amends, to right the wrongs of their forebears. Ted Kennedy took his second chance and remained, with the ongoing blessings of the grateful voters of Massachusetts, in the Senate for another 40 years, justifying the second chance that fate gave him. The Bushes, far from making amends, entered public service to enrich themselves, to add a superficial patina of glitz and respectability to hide a subversive, corrupt, seditious past and present that merely served to shield them from accountability for their own crimes.

Mary Jo Kopechne's name is more famous than the names of any soldier that has died in Iraq or Afghanistan, even more of a household name than NFL safety Pat Tillman. Yet when George W. Bush's time comes, no one will bring up the names of some of the first casualties of his successful invasion and occupation but failed war in Iraq that was built on a dog-eared house of cards made up entirely of jokers. No one even on the left will bring up the names of Staff Sgt. Donald C. May, Jr., Lance Cpl. Patrick T. O'Day and Pfc. Francisco A. Martinez-Flores. Those three Marines died in exactly the same way Mary Jo Kopechne died when their tank drove off a bridge and plunged into the Euphrates less than a week after the invasion.

In the balance, I'd rather have a man like Ted Kennedy representing me and my interests than the scion of a long line of war criminals and profiteers who combined never had to face one tenth the accountability that Ted Kennedy still endures even in death.
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Anonymous Poor Richard said...
There once was a Senator from Mass.
Who wanted a new piece of ass
He lucked up and found her
Got fucked up and drowned her
Now his chance to be president has passed

Blogger Mattttt said...
...Wow. You're a class act, there, Dick. Take you all night to think that one up?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Where did you find the ad? A friend had actually had that issue of the magazine (which name I'm spacing right now) and was going to throw it out until I made her keep it. They pulled the magazine from news stands. Gee, I don't know if it was in her estate when she died.

Blogger earlbo said...
the Rude Pundit tells us:

Ted Kennedy wore his flaws openly in his personal life. Some of it was the price of juvenile overindulgence (even as an adult) and some of it was just stupidity. The question is less about fucking up, but how a man reacts to it. He was kicked out of Harvard for cheating on an exam, so he joined the military (although he would achieve none of the glory of John and Joe, Jr.).

When the Chappaquiddick incident happened, he nutted up and told the voters to decide on his fate. He was a hard-drinking son of a bitch who screwed around on his first wife, a Dean Martin-like punchline to jokes about alcoholism and a tabloid laughingstock.

During that period, among other things, he was getting funding cut off to Chile because of Pinochet's barbarism, pushing legislation to help political refugees, getting sanctions imposed on apartheid-era South Africa, negotiating with Gorbachev on nuclear missiles, stopping Robert Bork's Supreme Court nomination, and strengthening the Civil Rights Act. What did you do on your years-long bender?

He paid, too, with his presidential ambitions dashed. And when he was slugging 'em back like a frat boy with his nephews on a night that ended with William Kennedy Smith arrested on an accusation of rape, Kennedy made another public reckoning about who he was as a man in a speech in October 1991. And despite all he had accomplished before, he grew up, finally, understanding that to be a man one must become a man.

And Ted Kennedy did more for real, actual democracy than almost anyone else in our entire history as a nation.

Blogger Peter said...
Oh! Thanks. That ad is maybe the funniest single thing National Lampoon ever did, with the possible exception of "Children's Letters to the Gestapo"

Blogger Interrobang said...
Mainstream historians will tell you that the Business Plot never happened. How they draw that conclusion, I'm not quite sure. (I suspect it's because aside from a handful of hard workers with genuine skills and credentials, most "mainstream historians" wouldn't know a primary source if it bit them on the ass, and they're all cribbing off of the same original "mainstream historian" who first made the argument that the Business Plot was insufficiently documented, ergo it never happened.)

Blogger darkblack said...
'I'd also rather have in the Senate a man who spent a lifetime in public service to make amends for one tragic mistake than have as a president an incurious intellectual bulimic whose grandfather made money off concentration camp slave labor...'

Quite so, JP...Add to that the legacy of Samuel Bush, father of Prescott, who had some rather cozy and financially remunerative dealings with armament manufacturers during the first Great War in his role as chief of the War Industries Board's Ordnance, Small Arms, and Ammunition Section and then arranged to have the records of those dealings expunged from the National Archives (to 'save space', naturally).

Four generations of treason wrapped in the flag.

Blogger Buttermilk Sky said...
One small but important correction: Gen. Smedley D. Butler,, USMC, twice winner of the Medal of Honor, was a man of honor. The leaders of the conspiracy approached him, knowing him to be no friend of FDR. It was Butler who blew the whistle on them, forcing Congressional hearings that nobody wanted. Read his essay, "War Is a Racket," online. A remarkable man who has been banished from American history books for obvious reasons.

Blogger Steve said...
Maybe so, Buttermilk Sky, but I can assure you every jarhead knows about Smedley Butler, along with Chesty Puller and Presley O'Bannon. Some have been known to name their kids after them. Got to be tuff to survive wearing a name like Smedley.