I know there’s an old adage that one shouldn’t speak ill of the dead.
But I don’t subscribe to the idea that when evil and foolish people die we should pretend they were something other than evil and foolish.
And Ted Kennedy was evil and foolish.
He wasn’t just a politician with whom I disagreed.
He was a rotten man – a wicked man.
I know you’re not hearing this from the rest of the press. I know you’re not even hearing this from his worst critics. But if we can’t call Ted Kennedy wicked and immoral, those terms have lost all meaning.
It’s no secret I didn’t like Ted Kennedy.
I believe his political epitaph should have been written July 18, 1969, the day his behavior led directly to the untimely death of Mary Jo Kopechne at the Chappaquiddick Bridge.
Until that moment, as the surviving brother of an assassinated president and an assassinated senator-presidential candidate, he had been an object of love and pity for an entire nation.
Over four decades he has served as a kind of “enemy within” the American political system – attempting to elicit the support of the Soviet Union against President Reagan’s policies in the 1980s, ignoring the tax-cutting prescription of his elder brother, failing to learn the real lessons of Vietnam, failing even to learn the lessons of his own brother’s errors of appeasement in the Bay of Pigs, practicing his own unique brand of plantation racism and blaming America for all the problems of the world. That’s Ted Kennedy.
That even one of the 50 states would deem him worthy of serving in the U.S. Senate for most of his life is something of a national disgrace.
Nevertheless, maybe because of his alcohol-addled brain or his unfulfilled ego, occasionally Ted Kennedy has demonstrated a kind of candor that is in short supply in Washington.
It may have been intellectual frustration that caused Kennedy to admit what he was 14 years ago – and what he remained until his death.
Ted Kennedy always was a socialist – and he actually admitted it on the floor of the Senate Jan. 20, 1995.
I’ve never seen this revelation before, though it has been a matter of public record all these years – published, as it were, in the Congressional Record. I was amazed to find it in a book by Republican political consultant Marc Nuttle called “Moment of Truth.”
Here is how the Kennedy admission came about.
Economist Milton Friedman was testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee in favor of a national constitutional amendment for a balanced budget. Kennedy argued that a requirement for a balanced budget would restrict the federal government’s power and its ability to spend – thus, he said, Washington’s role in more fairly and equitably distributing wealth, goods and services.
“Senator, socialism hasn’t worked in 6,000 years of recorded history,” explained Friedman. “Why won’t you give up on it?”
Kennedy rose to his feet, according to Nuttle, who attended the hearing, and replied: “It hasn’t worked in 6,000 years of recorded history because it didn’t have me to run it.”
Surely Kennedy was not as skillful and sophisticated in articulating his position as some other politicians. Surely Kennedy, with his comfortable, unchallenged position as the senior senator from Massachusetts, didn’t need to be so tactful. Surely even Kennedy avoided, for the most part, such heated admissions that he believes socialism can work under the right kind of skillful leadership – namely his.
But I’m not going to forget that admission today – the day after his death.
I’m not going to forget the way he unashamedly promoted abortion on demand.
I’m not going to forget the way he attempted to aid and abet our enemies to further his own political ambitions.
I’m not going to forget the way he betrayed his own older brother’s political legacy of anti-communism and free-market economics to lead his party, and very possibly his country, off the cliff.
I’m not going to forget the idiotic way he characterized Ronald Reagan’s brilliant initiative for strategic missile defense as “Star Wars.”
I’m not going to forget how he always blamed America and Americans first for every problem in the world.
I’m not going to forget the way he left Mary Jo Kopechne alive in a car underwater where she survived, according to the coroner’s report, for up to three hours, while he showered, shaved and sobered up before alerting police to his reckless, homicidal driving.