Democrats and Republicans alike are paying tribute to the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, said Michael Calderone in Politico, "but not every Kennedy foe was ready to forgive and forget." Kennedy's name was Google's top search term the day after his death, but Mary Jo Kopechne and Chappaquick were Nos. 2 and 3. Conservative pundit Andrew Breitbart fired off a series of messages on Twitter, calling Kennedy a "villain" who "destroyed lives."
"Andrew Breitbart seems not to have gotten the memo" about treating Kennedy's death with sympathy and respect, said Kathy Kattenburg in The Moderate Voice. It's too bad more of the late senators political foes can't be like Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, who sent his prayers to Kennedy's family, and even posted a song he wrote to pay tribute to his "treasured friend." (listen to the song Orrin Hatch wrote about Ted Kennedy)
One can offer condolences to the Kennedy family, said Howie Carr in the Boston Herald, without pretending that his "legacy" is nothing but a string of legislative victories for the common man. Chappaquiddick was "the ultimate blemish on his career" (watch CNN's replaying of Kennedy's televised speech after the Chappaquiddick accident that killed Mary Jo Kopechne). But Kennedy seemed "oblivious" to how clearly his name got him out of that mess—in 1974 he even slammed President Ford's pardon of Richard Nixon, saying the "high and mighty" should be treated no different from ordinary citizens. What hypocrisy.
It's always tricky when a "notable person" dies, said Editor & Publisher, to figure out how and where to mention "the biggest (sometimes single) black mark" on his life in his obituary. With Ted Kennedy, that incident was clearly Chappaquiddick, which the Associated Press mentioned in the seventh paragraph of Kennedy's obituary but Politico didn't get around to until the 24th. It's interesting to note that "the liberal Boston Globe mentioned it much earlier than the conservative Boston Herald."
Chappaquiddick remained a "stain" on Kennedy for the rest of his life, said Taylor Marsh in The Huffington Post, and kept him from attaining his "biggest dream"—the presidency. But Massachusetts voters got past it and so did Kennedy. With the White House beyond his grasp, he became the "Liberal Lion of the Senate," proving that—no matter what conservatives say—liberals aren't evil. They just want to enact "policies that actually change peoples lives for the better."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Watch out, China — America is working on dogfighting drones
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- How liberals are unwittingly paving the way for the legalization of adult incest
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How the Simpsons/Family Guy crossover revealed the worst of both shows
- Why the Chinese military is only a paper dragon
- The troubling persistence of eugenicist thought in modern America
- Libertarianism's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad idea
- Why America won't have enough money to battle ISIS
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
Subscribe to the Week