President Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, and Vice President Biden too all slipped out of town today to honor the late Sen. Edward Kennedy.
They’ll be at the opening of something called The Edward M. Kennedy Institute in Boston. Don’t know what it is and don’t care. Maybe it’s devoted to the study of political leadership by functioning alcoholics.
It has long been interesting to me that the Democrats’ two most exalted leaders of the past half century, Kennedy and Bill Clinton, have been serial abusers of women.
Clinton of course committed sexual harassment with a White House intern and then lied about it to a federal prosecutor. Any corporate CEO would have been banished to the Himalayas for such conduct, or perhaps imprisoned, but Clinton stayed in office and of course thrived, then and afterward. He could be back in the White House, presumably wielding ample power even as first spouse, in just under two years.
Kennedy took his abuse of women a step further, actually killing one.
Much is written about the death of Mary Jo Kopechne, who met her demise in the chilly waters off Chappaquiddick after having the misfortune of being in Kennedy’s care when he drove his car off a bridge following a party. What no one disputes is that he took nearly ten hours to report the incident, even though he knew she was in a submerged vehicle. The only reasonable explanation for this I can think of is that he was waiting to sober up.
Being a Kennedy, he got away with a wrist slap and kept his seat in the Senate. Perhaps Mary Jo’s death prevented him from becoming president. So at least, tragic as it was, her death was not for nothing.
I believe in redemption. I think America allows people, and even its leaders, second acts. I believe that you can overcome a lot of sins – well, a certain number, anyway – and still serve and be honored.
I do not believe that you can kill someone in this manner, with this kind of negligence and callous disregard, and be permitted to rehabilitate your reputation or your standing with friends and the community. Certainly not serve in the Senate.
That Obama can express such outrage about various perceived racial injustices and present himself as a supporter of women’s rights while traveling today to honor a man who failed to make every effort to save a woman who died because of his actions – and whose behavior may have in fact constituted second degree murder – is hypocrisy of the highest order.
So the next time you are lectured by Obama about our “shared American values” or about some Republican proposal that “is not who we are as Americans,” wonder, at least to yourself, whether he thinks leaving a young woman to die is an American virtue.