Patterico's Pontifications

7/19/2019

Chappaquiddick 50 Years Later: That Time When Ted Kennedy’s Dreams Died

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:32 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Here’s how USA Today opens their report on the 50th anniversary of Chappaquiddick:

The crash ended a young woman’s life, and with it, a man’s White House dreams.

Dammit, Mary Jo, why couldn’t you have been a better swimmer!

Dammit, Mary Jo, you denied America President Ted Kennedy!

Dammit, Mary Jo, why didn’t you say no when he offered you a ride home from the party!

Dammit, Mary Jo, why couldn’t you figure out how to get out of the car? He did.

Dream Killer.

The article continues:

U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s Oldsmobile sedan veered off a narrow bridge on Chappaquiddick Island, an extension of the resort island of Martha’s Vineyard off Massachusetts, and plunged into a moonlit pond 50 years ago Thursday. His passenger, 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne, drowned.

His sedan “veered off a narrow bridge” all by itself apparently. She “drowned”? That’s all? How could they know for sure, given that there was no autopsy performed? Especially as John Farrar, the scuba diver who recovered Mary Jo Kopechne’s body from the partially submerged vehicle, believed that she suffocated.

Incredibly, this:

Kennedy, 37, survived, but his presidential ambitions did not.

Ugh.

Leslie Leland, who served as foreman of the grand jury that investigated the incident, had this to say:

Now 79, Leland was a young pharmacist on the island when he was swept up in the aftermath. He recalls getting death threats and 24-hour police protection, and says he is still frustrated by the judge’s refusal to subpoena anyone who was at the party or share key investigative documents — stymieing the grand jury’s efforts to determine whether Kennedy had been drinking.

“If we’d been allowed to do our job, there would have been an indictment and a request to have a jury trial,” he said. “Justice wasn’t served. There were so many discrepancies, but we weren’t allowed to do our jobs to get to the truth — whatever the truth may have been.

“I was young, and I believed in the system. I believed everyone played by the same rules. I learned they don’t.”

And is he ever so right.

This Kennedy’s public address about Chappaquiddick:

And here is the AP’s tweet about the 50th anniversary of Chappaquiddick. Again with that mysterious self-driving car:

Untitled

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

36 Responses to “Chappaquiddick 50 Years Later: That Time When Ted Kennedy’s Dreams Died”

  1. This really ticks me off. So privileged, so protected, so filled with belief in themselves, because after all Kennedy.

    Dana (bb0678)

  2. Agreed. I was 19 and knew there was a criminal miscarriage of justice. Thence began my cynicism.

    Angelo (ecffde)

  3. ‘ticks me off…’

    Recall it. Fortunately for pretty much all of America– and the rest of the positive, forward thinking billions of people of Planet Earth– they weren’t looking down, but up. At the moon, at Apollo 11 and the fulfilment of the national goal his brother initiated.

    Because, after all Kennedy.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  4. they reconvened the excomm committee, to decide what to do with him, that was a decade before he moved to wholesale treason with Andropov and chernenko,

    narciso (d1f714)

  5. Ah, the Cult of St. Kennedy the Martyr. He was a mediocre President at best, and the modern Left would loathe him if he ran for office today, with the same platform.

    C. S. P. Schofield (f7316d)

  6. In fairness, the title of the USAT article is “50 years ago, Ted Kennedy veered off a Chappaquiddick bridge and caused a woman’s death,” which seems like an honest and unvarnished statement of what is known.

    The quote from the grand jury member appears early in the article and also makes clear that justice miscarried. And they spend four paragraphs on Kopechne’s life and its premature end before discussing the impact on Kennedy’s political career.

    All in all, it seems like a fair article to me.

    Dave (1bb933)

  7. Dave, eventually, yes. The efforts here and there to distance Kennedy from it all is very distasteful. As if Mary Jo got in way of a better America.

    Dana (bb0678)

  8. As Taranto used to say from time to time on Best of the Web Today: Ms. Kopechne is not available to comment. She would’ve been 79 this July 26th.

    Paul Montagu (dbd3cc)

  9. That was also the time a war broke out between El Salvador and Honduras. So much for the moon landing bringing peace.

    Sammy Finkelman (e4c0a6)

  10. I am puzzled by one part of Mr. Leland’s quote:

    he is still frustrated by the judge’s refusal to subpoena anyone who was at the party or share key investigative documents

    I’m not familiar with the idea that a judge can decide what testimony or evidence a grand jury can examine. Isn’t that up to the prosecutor?

    Dave (1bb933)

  11. Admiral Oldsmobile.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  12. Don’t worry MaryJo, we will cross that bridge when we get to it

    Kactus (04dc24)

  13. The Seth Rich conspiracy sounds tame compared to what actually happened here.

    Munroe (0b2761)

  14. You missed a nice quote: Were it not for Chappaquiddick, Kennedy may well have been the Democrat who denied Richard Nixon a second term in 1972.

    Yes, indeed, because in 1972 Richard Nixon was so widely reviled by the American electorate that he only managed to carry 49 states in the biggest landslide since FDR. Or so the history as filtered through the MSM would have us believe. Trump’s got nothing on Nixon as far as being constantly libeled and slandered and character-assassinated by the press, but there was no internet, no FOX, no alternative press at the time. So the NYT and WaPo controlled the story and ABC, CBS, and NBC simply reported on whatever the papers said was the news of the day. I’d guess the average younger person here would be surprised to know that Richard Nixon in 1972 was not only not widely disliked, he was in fact one of the most popular Presidents we’ve ever had. But, as Pauline Kael had it, “Nobody I know voted for him”, because, frankly, our type don’t know anybody of that type.

    Jerryskids (702a61)

  15. “That’s one small swim for a man…..”

    https://mobile.twitter.com/iowahawkblog/status/1151845461432700928

    harkin (a49e60)

  16. Jerryskids (702a61) — 7/19/2019 @ 4:52 pm

    Nixon got his landslide because he was able to depict the Democratic Party and Mondale as leftist. Kennedy on top of the ticket would have made that much more difficult. Nixon might still have won, but not with the landslide he achieved against Mondale.

    I quite seriously don’t know anyone who voted for Nixon, but being from Massachusetts probably was a factor in that.

    Kishnevi (4887c5)

  17. Dood left her in the car, swam back to his hotel. Had his advisors called in, made all sorts of phone calls, changed his clothes and even greeted friends and never reported the accident.

    “Senator,” said the man, whose name was Tony Bettencourt and who owned a year-round home on Chappaquiddick, “do you know there’s a girl found dead in your car?”

    Teddy simply stared at him. He did not respond.

    “Do you need a ride down to the bridge?” Bettencourt asked.

    “No,” Teddy replied. “I’m going on over to town.”

    Bettencourt was puzzled. The Edgartown police chief had just dispatched him from the bridge to the ferry to await the arrival of the local medical examiner. The chief had been summoned to Chappaquiddick earlier that morning by a phone call reporting that two fishermen had seen an overturned car submerged in about six feet of water near the narrow wooden bridge that led to the private beach. As soon as the chief had determined that there was a body inside the car, he’d summoned the medical examiner. He had also noted the number on the license plate, and had the registration traced. To his astonishment, the chief quickly learned that plate L78 207 had been issued to one Edward M. Kennedy, Room 2400, J.F.K. Building, Government Center, Boston.

    But now Teddy was telling Bettencourt he did not wish to go to the scene of the accident. He said he planned to return to Edgartown, and he went back to the pay phone. As Bettencourt awaited the arrival of the medical examiner, the ferry made several of its four-minute trips back and forth across the channel. On one trip from Edgartown, the ferry brought over a hearse; on another, a tow truck with winch and chain.

    Teddy, Gargan, and Markham observed this activity from the immediate vicinity of the pay phone. After one crossing, at about 9:45 A.M., it occurred to the ferry captain that Teddy still might not know the full extent of what had been discovered at the bridge.

    He approached the shack, but when Teddy saw him coming he began to edge away, behind several parked cars.

    “Senator,” the ferry captain called out, “are you aware of the accident?”

    Markham, not Teddy, responded. “Yes, we just heard about it.” The captain returned to the ferry to make another trip to Edgartown. After a brief whispered conversation, Teddy, Gargan, and Markham followed and got on board.

    Before the ferry even docked, Teddy jumped off and walked quickly away. With Markham trailing behind, he went directly to the Edgartown police station. He said nothing about an accident involving his car, but asked the officer on duty if he might use a telephone. Recognizing him and wanting to treat him with appropriate deference and respect, she directed him to the chief’s office, from which he could make his calls in privacy.”

    From the Vanity Fair article I posted a few days ago. It’s very good and if after reading it you don’t think it’s negligent homicide then read it again.

    https://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2015/12/end-of-camelot

    harkin (a49e60)

  18. 7. You think the article would have been that fair of Swimmin’ Ted were still alive?

    Gryph (08c844)

  19. “The Seth Rich conspiracy sounds tame compared to what actually happened here.”

    – Munroe

    Right? You’d think if people were going to bother to fake a conspiracy they might as well make it more entertaining and outlandish.

    Leviticus (ee51a2)

  20. Manufacture a conspiracy, I should say.

    Leviticus (ee51a2)

  21. Right? You’d think if people were going to bother to fake a conspiracy they might as well make it more entertaining and outlandish.

    The Russian intelligence agencies had a lot of other things going on in July 2016 – cut them a little slack.

    They got their man elected in the end, and that’s all that really matters.

    Dave (1bb933)

  22. “The Russian intelligence agencies had a lot of other things going on in July 2016 – cut them a little slack.

    They got their man elected in the end, and that’s all that really matters.”

    —- Joe Scarborough

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  23. Irony isnt it coronello, this wastrel Kennedy actually volunteered his services to the Kremlin through an intermediary in perhaps the hottest phase of the cold war,

    Narciso (c67b88)

  24. “You’d think if people were going to bother to fake a conspiracy they might as well make it more entertaining and outlandish.”
    Leviticus (ee51a2) — 7/19/2019 @ 5:45 pm

    Though with the Trump collusion conspiracy they really nailed it.

    Munroe (0b2761)

  25. “If she had lived, Mary Jo Kopechne would be 62 years old. Through his tireless work as a legislator, Edward Kennedy would have brought comfort to her in her old age.
    http://archive.boston.com/bostonglobe/magazine/articles/2003/01/05/kennedy_unbound/?page=7

    Harcourt Fenton Mudd (6b1442)

  26. Though with the Trump collusion conspiracy they really nailed it.

    Having a full confession always helps!.

    Russian operative to Donald Trump, Jr:

    The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.

    This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump – helped along by Aras and Emin.

    What do you think is the best way to handle this information and would you be able to speak to Emin about it directly?

    Donald Trump, Jr. to Russian operative:

    Thanks Rob I appreciate that. I am on the road at the moment but perhaps I just speak to Emin first. Seems we have some time and if it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer. Could we do a call first thing next week when I am back?

    Dave (1bb933)

  27. Cover-up, obstruction, negligent homicide and possibly manslaughter. For a man-child with a greater degree of entitlement and a lesser degree of self-control than the Donald, if that is even possible. Donald, for example, did not get kicked out of Harvard for cheating.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  28. Kevin M (21ca15) — 7/19/2019 @ 7:19 pm

    Also another “champion of the common man” who never did an honest day’s work in his life.

    Dave (1bb933)

  29. Warren won the nominating convention In 2012, pretending she had worked for the swinner, and our favorite niece professes ties but I find that doubtful,

    Narciso (c67b88)

  30. ted kennedy is dead and you are dying out. talk to him about it in hell if you can get out of the line to meet hitler.

    lany (110124)

  31. Kishnevi (4887c5) — 7/19/2019 @ 5:08 pm

    Mondale? You mean McGovern, who actually was quite left of center.

    JoeH (f94276)

  32. Thank you JoeH. Was waiting for someone else to mention that.

    NJRob (4d595c)

  33. Nancy soderberg who negotiated the framework, Greg Craig who arranged the elian rendition worked for Haitian oligarchs and Ukrainian ones were all part of Kennedys braintrust.

    Narciso (c67b88)

  34. talk to him about it in hell if you can get out of the line to meet hitler.

    I’m going to suggest this might be one of them personal attacks we hear about.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

Leave a Reply

Comment moderation is enabled. Your comment may take some time to appear.


Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.2555 secs.