Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Liberal Lion of the Senate, Redux

Frankly, I'm not surprised at the recent coverage of Kennedy in the media. His funeral was held yesterday, and even Fox News airbrushed out any mention of Mary Jo Kopeckne in their hagiographic coverage. I'm old enough to remember Chappaquiddick first-hand, and it's always bothered me. I almost can't believe some of the stuff that's been written and said about the incident since Kennedy's death.

I guess all you can do is consider the source, but this first example is despicable. Someone named Melissa Lafsky, writing at the Huffington Post, muses about what Mary Jo Kopeckne would have thought of Ted Kennedy's career. The last line of her post is all you really need: "Who knows--maybe she'd feel it was worth it."  Does Lafsky mean, maybe it was worth it for Mary Jo to survive for as long as two hours (according to the police diver who brought up the submerged car) by breathing a pocket of trapped air--and then die? Worth it? Lafsky's musings are hideous--I don't even know how to respond.

Then we get the news from one of Ted Kennedy's "close friends," former editor of Newsweek, Ed Klein, who went on a radio show and reminisced about how Chappaquiddick jokes were high on Kennedy's list: "one of his favorite topics of humor was indeed Chappaquiddick itself," Klein recalls. Klein calls Kennedy's attitude "amazing. . . he still always saw the other side of everything and the ridiculous side of things, too." The "other side" of--murder? Just what "other side" might that be? Amazing? Are you kidding?

Maybe instead of Lafsky's idiot musings or Klein's amazing conclusions about Ted Kennedy's "humor," it might be better to hear from people who were closer to the event. This first video is a radio interview with John Farrar, the diver who pulled Mary Jo's body out of the car.

The next video, "Questions after Chappaquiddick," contains interviews with people who surrounded Ted Kennedy at that time, mainly K. Dun Gifford, a Kennedy campaign worker in 1969, who describes himself as "Head Dog of the Boiler Room"; also interviewed are people who were near to the Chappaquiddick incident for one reason or another, including Dominick Arena, former Police Chief of Edgartown, Mass and Steve Ewing, deck hand of the Chappaquiddick ferry.

After watching the video, one of the questions I'd like to ask is this: if there were six or eight other "Boiler Room Girls" at the party with Kennedy and his buddies that night, surely at least some of them are still alive. Has anyone tried to interview any of these women? The video says that they left the island that next morning without being interviewed by police. Surely one of them, if they were such "tough and strong" women as Dun Gifford describes, surely at least one has talked or would be willing to talk now that Kennedy is dead. They were "loyal" to the Kennedy's as Gifford described them, but did any of them feel a loyalty to Mary Jo?

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