Ted Kennedy is everywhere these days. He’s on the Senate floor calling Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice a liar. He’s on TV saying soon-to-be Attorney General Alberto Gonzales endorses torture of terrorists. He gives a major policy speech in Washington calling for the United States to surrender in Iraq. He’s the Democratic point man on Social Security, arguing that the system is hunky-dory and doesn’t need to be touched.
When did Ted Kennedy become the new face of the Democratic Party? A 72-year-old political hack who rode his slain brothers’ coattails to prominence only to become the laughingstock of American politics is going to lead his party out of the wilderness?
Outside the safe confines of the Socialist Republic of Massachusetts, Ted Kennedy is a parody of a dimwitted, self-serving politician. He is Mayor "Diamond" Joe Quimby of "The Simpsons" come to life. He is the poster child for what’s wrong with the Democratic Party.
The pasty-faced Massachusetts liberal has been rejected twice for president but has been a fixture in the Senate since 1962. He is the wise old man of his party and has sent his minions — most notably Michael Dukakis and John Forbes Kerry — to face the harsh reality of presidential defeat. The rest of America is nothing like Massachusetts, home base of liberal influence peddlers and leftist college professors.
Ted Kennedy may have fallen into the role of standard-bearer of the Democratic Party by default. The ranks of party leaders are pretty thin. There’s Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Boxer, the twin fruitcakes from California. There’s John Forbes Kerry, the second-place finisher in last year’s two-man race for president. But Kerry is still not sure what he stands for. Has anybody seen John Edwards? His picture should be on a milk carton.
And what of Hillary Clinton, the patron saint of lost liberal causes? Hillary’s got her own problems. There’s talk that Rudolph Giuliani may challenge her in 2006 when she runs for re-election as the junior senator from New York. If Hillary can’t hold on to her Senate seat, forget about 2008. It’s back to Arkansas and a reality TV series co-starring Bubba.
Always calculating, Hillary joined 85 Senators who voted to confirm Condoleeza Rice as secretary of state. Take that, Ted Kennedy and Barbara Boxer. Hillary may believe what you do, but she’s ambitious, so she’ll vote the way she thinks people would want her to vote. Sounds a lot like John Kerry and his "I voted for the war, but then I voted against the war" explanation.
Hillary’s future may depend on Howard Dean. If Dean is the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee, we’ll be in for an entertaining couple of years. Hillary will pretend to take the party to the center, while Dean pulls it farther to the left. And if the Democrats think Ted Kennedy is the future, they will wander the banks of the Potomac for 40 years before they’ll see power again.
Ted Kennedy’s solution to dealing with terrorism? Declare defeat in Iraq and run away. Bring home the troops and hope the Islamic fanatics leave us alone. Ted Kennedy’s solution for Social Security? Raise payroll taxes. Ted Kennedy’s answer for improving our schools? Spend more money. (See raise taxes). Ted Kennedy’s plan for creating jobs? Raise the federal minimum wage. Ted Kennedy’s solution for the nation’s health care crisis? Socialized medicine. Paid for by higher taxes.
The only thing you need to know about Ted Kennedy is Mary Jo Kopechne. On July 18, 1969, a married Ted Kennedy, offered to drive Kopechne, a 28-year-old single woman, home from a party on Chappaquiddick Island near Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. Both had too much to drink.
Driving on a suspended license, Kennedy lost control of the car while crossing a bridge and drove into a pond, where the vehicle overturned and began sinking in the mud. Kennedy saved himself, swam to shore and left Kopechne in the car to die. He walked around for an hour until he came to the home of a cousin. Kennedy then went to sleep. Kennedy didn't report the accident to police until the next morning — nine hours after the crash.
For causing Mary Jo Kopechne’s death, Ted Kennedy had his driver’s license revoked for one year. This is the essence of Ted Kennedy. The man has no soul. He has no conscience. Mary Jo’s life didn’t matter to Ted Kennedy. The lives of ordinary Americans are inconsequential to Ted Kennedy or his elitist Democratic friends.
If Democrats can’t figure out why they’re out of power, they need to spend more time thinking about who Ted Kennedy is and why he’s the public face of their party.
E-mail Tony Phyrillas at firstname.lastname@example.org