Edward Kennedy’s life was not entirely bad. I was surprised to read this:
During the 1970s, Kennedy was instrumental in deregulating the interstate trucking industry and airline ticket prices, two innovations that have vastly improved the quality of life in America even as—or more precisely, because—they pushed power out of D.C. and into the pocketbooks of everyday Americans. We are incalculably richer and better off because something like actual prices replaced regulatory fiat in trucking and flying.
The problems of our economy have occurred not as an outgrowth of laissez-faire, unbridled competition. They have occurred under the guidance of federal agencies, and under the umbrella of federal regulations.
If anything, the fact that even Senator Kennedy was for deregulation is evidence of how America was swinging to the right in the late 1970’s. In the Bush-Obama era, we’ve been headed in the opposite direction.
So Kennedy got it right once, but I don’t know how George Will concludes,
He lived his own large life and the ledger of it shows a substantial positive balance.
If George Will could think in principle, he would see that the balance is entirely negative. Kennedy was a consistent force for expanding big government and destroying individual rights. Kennedy left America a worse place — both less free and less prosperous — after his 47 years in the Senate.
Howie Carr wrote an interesting paragraph that reveals Kennedy’s cynical character and how the liberal press covered for him his entire career:
…he was always protected by most of the media, who shared his views on just about everything. In 1962, at the behest of President Kennedy, the Boston Globe played the story of his expulsion from Harvard below the fold on the front page. To the very end the Globe did its best to shield him – last week the struggling Times-owned broadsheet broke the story of his deathbed attempt to change the Massachusetts law on Senate succession, without mentioning that he himself had lobbied in 2004 to enact the law he was now denouncing as undemocratic. Only then, he was for stripping the governor of his right to fill a Senate vacancy, because, you see, that governor was a Republican.
Chappaquiddick is a ghastly story, too horrid to rehearse here. The most remarkable thing about it to me is that Edward Kennedy was 37 years old at the time. This was not some youthful shenanigans gone wrong. Everything about the story — the drinking, philandering, poor judgment, lack of character, lies — were the man. That’s who Edward Kennedy was.
Then there is the breathtaking hypocrisy and cynicism:
In protesting Gerald Ford’s pardon of Richard Nixon, Kennedy thundered, “Is there one system of justice for the average citizen and another system for the high and mighty?” These words, uttered five years after Chappaquiddick, are ubiquitous on conservative websites where they are offered up as evidence, not only of Kennedy’s hypocrisy, but the mainstream media’s as well.
I don’t know if you know this or not, but one of his favorite topics of humor was indeed Chappaquiddick itself. And he would ask people, “have you heard any new jokes about Chappaquiddick?”
As Mark Hemingway notes,
If that’s true, it makes Kennedy kind of a monster.
The left is the party of altruism-collectivism-statism. Such a party no longer looks to reason in human affairs; it looks to force. Such a party will be advanced not by its best people, but by its worst — those willing enough and shameless enough to wallow in lies, character assassination and irrationality.
It took a monster to invent Borking. Kennedy words:
Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the Government, and the doors of the Federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is — and is often the only — protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy….
The point here is not Bork’s merits; it is that the Democrats decided not to depend on a rational debate of Bork’s merits, but on character assassination. Since then they have been a party that smears first and debates later if at all. Character smears have always been used in American politics, but now they are central to the methods of the left. The recent health care “debate,” in which the Democrats have called those who would oppose socialized medicine everything from racists to “evil-mongers” shows the left’s preferred method of discussion. Edward Kennedy was the trail blazer who took American politics down into the nihilistic muck of lies and character assassination.
UPDATE: I forgot that in the early 1980’s Senator Kennedy sent a letter to Andropov in the USSR offering to help undermine Reagan’s arms build-up in Europe. So on top of everything else, he was also a traitor.