Sunday, August 30, 2009

Ted Kennedy: Successful Politican - That's All

The news coverage of Ted Kennedy's passing has been so obviously colored by the empathy of the main stream media for Kennedy's leftist views that it is rather embarassing. The left portrays itself as the party of compassion, the ones who care about the little guy - unlike the hard-hearted conservatives who only care about rigid laws and principles. Yet, it is precisely rigid laws and principles that really protect the little people and it is those who think they live above such petty rules and principles who turn compassion into a hypocritical marketing slogan and provoke cynicism about politics.

Kennedy was a long-term senator who influenced a lot of legislation and exerted a lot of political influence in his party. That is it - not a knight of Camelot, not a saviour figure, not a man of granite principle. Just an influential pol who parlayed a famous name into a long political career. We should mark his passing with respect and express condolences to his family. But the media just can't seem to help itself when it comes to a Kennedy.

It is hard to respect a man who claims to be a Roman Catholic and derives huge political capital from his association with his Church in a heavily Catholic state and then who, when the political winds shift, chooses influence within his party over what his religion teaches on the greatest civil rights issue of our generation - namely abortion. He is probably one of the very few men in America during the second half of the Twentieth century who could have led a successful movement to overturn Roe v. Wade. But he made his choice and never, so far as we know, ever repented. He could have been a hero, (and maybe a martyr), but he chose to be successful as the world measures success.

His over-the-top deployment of the politics of personal destruction with Robert Bork helped to polarize American politics and helped fan into flame the culture wars. His infamous speech attacking Bork contributed to the degradation of political speech in America. His personal life would have driven a non-Kennedy out of politics. When the chips were down, he looked out for number one on that fateful night on Chappaquiddick Island in 1969. Compassion is cheap when it comes to society in general.

I've read a lot of columns and stories on Ted Kennedy this week. For my money, Mark Steyn has the best take. It is called "Airbrushing out Mary Jo Kopechne. Only a Kennedy could get away with it." Isn't that the truth? Read it here.

Since I slammed the MSM in this post and since the New York Times is as mainstream as it gets, I thought I should acknowledge this fairly balanced article in today's paper.

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