The Kennedy Legend, RIP

The last of the Kennedy brothers is dead.  It is almost impossible to believe that once John, Bobby, and Teddy were all considered strong, dashing, and charismatic.   These qualities we associate with youth but actually we should associate the qualities with character.  When Ronald Reagan was 76, the same age as Teddy Kennedy when he died, he was in the middle of winning the Cold War without firing a shot.  When Winston Churchill was offering the British people, in their darkest hour, nothing but "blood, toil, sweat, and tears," he was 65 and the first time that Churchill won the prime ministership, he was only a few years younger than Teddy Kennedy at his death.

Youth, as we are discovering with our "Not Ready for Prime Time President," is vastly overrated when it comes to inspiring and leading.  Some conservatives will doubtless pick away at the great list of moral flaws in Teddy Kennedy -- cheating in school, drunken driving, infidelity, manslaughter -- but Teddy did seem to repent those myriad sins during his life, and the very real support that the leftist Teddy received from the conservative Orin Hatch (and doubtless many others) ought to inspire us that sicknesses like alcoholism can still be conquered and human kindness reach across party divides.  (One might note that President Bush did the almost impossible -- stayed away from alcohol after suffering abuse that would have driven most men to drink -- but then honoring President Bush, in any way, still offends too many people.)

There is much in the Kennedy Dynasty that was just myth.  John Kennedy was a war hero, but not nearly as much as Bob Dole or George H. Bush.   Robert Kennedy was a genuinely inspiring speaker, but unfortunately much of it was just old-style leftism, which is bound to decay over time. 

Much of the Kennedy dynasty has simply become an embarrassment.  Caroline Kennedy is rather coolly and publicly scratched off the list of replacements for Hillary in the Senate.  Patrick Kennedy gets in fights with airport security guards 

Much of this is just the problem of dynasties in America.  The Taft family, for example, staunch Republicans, had a few generations of great men -- President and then Chief Justice Taft, and Senate Majority Leader Taft -- and then the line degraded to the execrable former Governor Taft of Ohio, who helped destroy his state Republican Party and dirty up Ohio politics.

There is something tragic about such families and tragic, too, about Teddy Kennedy.  He did not seek high office very vigorously.  Joe was supposed to be the Kennedy President, until he died in World War Two.  John won a razor-close election, and barely lasted three years before he, too, was killed.  What did Robert Kennedy want?  He, and the other Kennedys were close friends with Joe McCarthy -- yes, that McCarthy! -- and Bobby was an enthusiastic staffer on the Senate subcommittee that Joe, supposedly, used to persecute non-existent communists in our government.

In short, the whole Kennedy clan had a bold dash of patriotism, of almost foolhardy recklessness, of self-absorption, and of familial loyalty.  The Kennedys, who appear as unlikely to re-emerge as a dynasty as the Roosevelts, were part of all that is bad, but also much of what is good, about America.  Often wrong on the issues, often unsavory in tactics, they seldom lacked guts.

So let us not speak ill of the dead, even when men like Obama make ridiculous statements like, "He was the greatest senator of our time."   Really?  Why?  I could toss out dozens of names of more universally admired senators, but why waste my energy challenging the affirmations of a president who believes that we have fifty-seven states or that the Japanese dropped "the bomb" on Pearl Harbor?

Let us give Ted Kennedy's friends and families space and time to grieve and reflect, which is what we Americans believe is right.  Let us not refrain from fighting hard to capture his senate seat, anymore than Democrats did when Paul Coverdell, a beloved Republican Senator died.

 And perhaps we should reflect on the condition of leftism in America.  In many ways Teddy represented "the best and brightest" of that movement.  He had, for many years, the power to affect events.  Yet what can we say about his accomplishments in public life?  Sadly, almost nothing.  He did not win the Cold War or even help.  He promoted a dreary long list of "solutions" to social problems -- solutions that did no good or made matters worse. 

I will give Teddy the benefit of good intentions.  But those very good intentions are what the left always consumes and then turns to mush. 

Peace to you, Senator, and sympathy to you loved ones.  Let your life be a lesson to us all.

Bruce Walker is the author of two books:  Sinisterism: Secular Religion of the Lie, and his recently published book, The Swastika against the Cross: The Nazi War on Christianity.
The last of the Kennedy brothers is dead.  It is almost impossible to believe that once John, Bobby, and Teddy were all considered strong, dashing, and charismatic.   These qualities we associate with youth but actually we should associate the qualities with character.  When Ronald Reagan was 76, the same age as Teddy Kennedy when he died, he was in the middle of winning the Cold War without firing a shot.  When Winston Churchill was offering the British people, in their darkest hour, nothing but "blood, toil, sweat, and tears," he was 65 and the first time that Churchill won the prime ministership, he was only a few years younger than Teddy Kennedy at his death.

Youth, as we are discovering with our "Not Ready for Prime Time President," is vastly overrated when it comes to inspiring and leading.  Some conservatives will doubtless pick away at the great list of moral flaws in Teddy Kennedy -- cheating in school, drunken driving, infidelity, manslaughter -- but Teddy did seem to repent those myriad sins during his life, and the very real support that the leftist Teddy received from the conservative Orin Hatch (and doubtless many others) ought to inspire us that sicknesses like alcoholism can still be conquered and human kindness reach across party divides.  (One might note that President Bush did the almost impossible -- stayed away from alcohol after suffering abuse that would have driven most men to drink -- but then honoring President Bush, in any way, still offends too many people.)

There is much in the Kennedy Dynasty that was just myth.  John Kennedy was a war hero, but not nearly as much as Bob Dole or George H. Bush.   Robert Kennedy was a genuinely inspiring speaker, but unfortunately much of it was just old-style leftism, which is bound to decay over time. 

Much of the Kennedy dynasty has simply become an embarrassment.  Caroline Kennedy is rather coolly and publicly scratched off the list of replacements for Hillary in the Senate.  Patrick Kennedy gets in fights with airport security guards 

Much of this is just the problem of dynasties in America.  The Taft family, for example, staunch Republicans, had a few generations of great men -- President and then Chief Justice Taft, and Senate Majority Leader Taft -- and then the line degraded to the execrable former Governor Taft of Ohio, who helped destroy his state Republican Party and dirty up Ohio politics.

There is something tragic about such families and tragic, too, about Teddy Kennedy.  He did not seek high office very vigorously.  Joe was supposed to be the Kennedy President, until he died in World War Two.  John won a razor-close election, and barely lasted three years before he, too, was killed.  What did Robert Kennedy want?  He, and the other Kennedys were close friends with Joe McCarthy -- yes, that McCarthy! -- and Bobby was an enthusiastic staffer on the Senate subcommittee that Joe, supposedly, used to persecute non-existent communists in our government.

In short, the whole Kennedy clan had a bold dash of patriotism, of almost foolhardy recklessness, of self-absorption, and of familial loyalty.  The Kennedys, who appear as unlikely to re-emerge as a dynasty as the Roosevelts, were part of all that is bad, but also much of what is good, about America.  Often wrong on the issues, often unsavory in tactics, they seldom lacked guts.

So let us not speak ill of the dead, even when men like Obama make ridiculous statements like, "He was the greatest senator of our time."   Really?  Why?  I could toss out dozens of names of more universally admired senators, but why waste my energy challenging the affirmations of a president who believes that we have fifty-seven states or that the Japanese dropped "the bomb" on Pearl Harbor?

Let us give Ted Kennedy's friends and families space and time to grieve and reflect, which is what we Americans believe is right.  Let us not refrain from fighting hard to capture his senate seat, anymore than Democrats did when Paul Coverdell, a beloved Republican Senator died.

 And perhaps we should reflect on the condition of leftism in America.  In many ways Teddy represented "the best and brightest" of that movement.  He had, for many years, the power to affect events.  Yet what can we say about his accomplishments in public life?  Sadly, almost nothing.  He did not win the Cold War or even help.  He promoted a dreary long list of "solutions" to social problems -- solutions that did no good or made matters worse. 

I will give Teddy the benefit of good intentions.  But those very good intentions are what the left always consumes and then turns to mush. 

Peace to you, Senator, and sympathy to you loved ones.  Let your life be a lesson to us all.

Bruce Walker is the author of two books:  Sinisterism: Secular Religion of the Lie, and his recently published book, The Swastika against the Cross: The Nazi War on Christianity.