Example: [Collected via e-mail, August 2009]
As soon as his cancer was detected, I noticed the immediate attempt at the "canonization" of old Teddy Kennedy by the mainstream media. They are saying what a "great American" he is. I say, let's get a couple things clear & not twist the facts to change the real history.
1. He was caught cheating at Harvard when he attended it. He was expelled twice, once for cheating on a test, and once for paying a classmate to cheat for him.
2. While expelled, Kennedy enlisted in the Army, but mistakenly signed up for four years instead of two. Oops! The man can't count to four! His father,
3. Kennedy was assigned to Paris, never advanced beyond the rank of Private, and returned to Harvard upon being discharged. Imagine a person of his "education" NEVER advancing past the rank of Private!
4. While attending law school at the University of Virginia, he was cited for reckless driving four times, including once when he was clocked driving
5. In 1964, he was seriously injured in a plane crash, and hospitalized for several months. Test results done by the hospital at the time he was admitted had shown he was legally intoxicated. The results of those tests remained a "state secret" until in the 1980's when the report was unsealed. Didn't hear about that from the unbiased media, did we?
6. On July 19, 1969, Kennedy attended a party on Chappaquiddick Island in Massachusetts. At about
7. He swam to shore and walked back to the party, passing several houses and a fire station. Two friends then returned with him to the scene of the accident. According to their later testimony, they told him what he already knew
The Kennedy family began "calling in favors", ensuring that any inquiry would be contained. Her corpse was whisked out-of-state to her family, before an autopsy could be conducted. Further details are uncertain, but after the accident Kennedy says he repeatedly dove under the water trying to rescue Kopechne and he didn't call police because he was in a state of shock. It is widely assumed Kennedy was drunk, and he held off calling police in hopes that his family could fix the problem overnight. Since the accident, Kennedy's "political enemies" have referred to him as the distinguished Senator from Chappaquiddick. He pled guilty to leaving the scene of an accident, and was given a SUSPENDED SENTENCE OF TWO MONTHS. Kopechne's family received a small payout from the Kennedy's insurance policy, and never sued. There was later an effort to have her body exhumed and autopsied, but her family successfully fought against this in court, and Kennedy's family paid their attorney's
8. Kennedy has held his Senate seat for more than forty years, but considering his longevity, his accomplishments seem scant. He authored or argued for legislation that ensured a variety of civil rights, increased the minimum wage in 1981, made access to health care easier for the indigent, and funded Meals on Wheels for fixed-income seniors and is widely held as the "standard-bearer for liberalism". In his very first Senate roll, he was the floor manager for the bill that turned
9. Since that time, he has been the prime instigator and author of every expansion of an increase in immigration, up to and including the latest attempt to grant amnesty to illegal aliens.
10. He is known around Washington as a public drunk, loud, boisterous and very disrespectful to ladies.
Origins: It's probably impossible for a politician such as
1) Ted Kennedy did get expelled from Harvard for cheating (but not twice: a single incident has erroneously been represented as two different events in the example reproduced above). At the end of his freshman year at Harvard College, in 1951, Kennedy arranged for a classmate to take a Spanish exam in his place:
Knowing he could not pass the examination himself, he arranged to have a friend [Bill Frate], much more proficient in the language, take it for him, signing Teddy's name to the booklet.
As it happened, however, the graduate student assigned as proctor for the Spanish examination that day was personally acquainted with the student whom Teddy had recruited as his stand-in. When the
Perhaps no more than an hour later, [Kennedy and Frate] were both called to the dean's office and expelled. They were told they could apply for readmission in a year or two if they behaved themselves. That was not the most severe punishment Harvard imposed, but it was typical in serious cases.
2. With Kennedy's expulsion from Harvard in 1951, he was ineligible for a student deferment and therefore subject to the draft (which had been
The comment about a "person of his 'education'" only having attained the rank of private is something of an anachronism, as at the time Kennedy enlisted in the military he had little more than a high school education (having been expelled from Harvard at the end of his freshman year). The bulk of his education (his final three years at Harvard and an additional four years of law school) did not take place until after his discharge from the Army.
4. Ted Kennedy was known for driving wildly and accumulating speeding tickets while attending the University of Virginia (UVa) law school, prompting his UVa alumnus brother Robert to quip (during a talk at the school) that their mother had asked him to find out "what side of the court my brother is going to appear on when he gets out of law school, attorney or defendant." After the most serious incident (involving a police chase at speeds up to
We're unsure what "amazing coincidence" supposedly connects Kennedy's having been arrested for reckless driving in Virginia in March 1958 and his having passed the Massachusetts bar exam in August 1959.
5. On the evening of 19 June 1964, after a late vote in the U.S. Senate on a civil rights bill, Senator Ted Kennedy boarded a six-seat private plane to fly to the Massachusetts Democratic Party convention in West Springfield. The plane crashed on approach to Barnes Municipal Airport in conditions of marginal visibility; the
The mention of Kennedy's supposedly having been "legally intoxicated" at the time of the accident is a red herring
6.-7. The July 1969 "Chappaquiddick incident," in which Mary Jo Kopechne (a former campaign worker for
It's fair to say that, at the very least, Kennedy's actions after the Chappaquiddick accident (particularly his failure to report it to authorities until well into the following morning) were both questionable and inexcusable.
As Kennedy biographer Adam Clymer wrote of the Chappaquiddick controversy:
The accident itself is consistent with the fact that Kennedy was a terrible, easily distracted driver. Moreover, even if he had only the two drinks he reported, liquor probably mattered. He was almost certainly not legally drunk in 1969, when the blood alcohol standard was
There is no direct evidence that Kennedy dove to the wrecked car. Some critics have dismissed his account, claiming that his bad back and the tides made this impossible. But since childhood, Kennedy had taken physical risks. After he broke his back, he was skiing on difficult slopes again the next year. Adrenaline would have boosted his energy. There is no reason to doubt that he tried as hard as he could to rescue
Just as there was no good excuse for Kennedy's not knocking on doors until he found a house with a telephone, there was no excuse at all for [Kennedy friend and former U.S. Attorney Paul] Markham and [Kennedy cousin Joe] Gargan's failing to summon help. Each was a lawyer, and [unlike Kennedy] neither had a concussion. Their instinct, and perhaps Kennedy's too, appears to have been to prevent disclosure of his having been in the car with a pretty young woman under circumstances that invited suspicion.
Nevertheless, it is very unlikely that faster action to summon help would in fact have saved her life. Considering that it took more than an hour to get her body out the next morning, when everyone involved was already awake and dressed and visibility was good, Lange and Dewitt [authors of Chappaquiddick: The Real Story] argue convincingly that she had to have died before help would have arrived in the middle of the night.
But Markham, Gargan, and Kennedy didn't know that. They should not have worried about how it would look and should have called the police without delay.
Ted Kennedy was a strong advocate for the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, a bill that abolished U.S. national-origin immigration quotas which had been in place since 1924
Although Kennedy argued during debate on the bill that "Contrary to the charges in some quarters, [this bill] will not inundate America with immigrants from any one country or area, or the most populated and deprived nations of Africa and Asia. In the final analysis, the ethnic pattern of immigration under the proposed measure is not expected to change as sharply as the critics seem to think," the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 did have a significant impact on immigration patterns:
In the 1950s, 53 percent of all immigrants were Europeans and just
In 1965, the U.S. was around 85 percent white, according to various estimates. Today, a third of the country is minority, and nonwhites are on track to become the majority sometime in the 2040s.
Minority populations have grown by leaps and bounds because of high birth rates among those first generations of immigrants and a steady flow from Latin America, Asia and Africa since.
But they say Kennedy also remained a "point man" in the Senate for immigrant advocates and minorities throughout his career, even supporting recent proposals to overhaul immigration laws aimed at undocumented workers.
Kennedy advocated for the children of immigrants and minorities by pushing legislation on voting rights and health care for uninsured children.
In 1986, Senator Kennedy worked to obtain legal status for undocumented workers and address the potential for increased employment discrimination against immigrant workers as a result of the employer sanction provisions. He was the lead sponsor of the Immigration Act of 1990, which increased the quotas for family immigration, established a diversity visa program, and created a temporary safe haven program for persons fleeing oppressive governments. He was also an original sponsor of the 1994 Violence Against Women Act and its
He strongly opposed the harsh 1996 immigration laws, which divided families, returned refugees to the hands of their persecutors, and denied immigrants their day in court, as well as the 1996 welfare law that turned immigrants into second class citizens, and he continues to work to eliminate the harshest provisions of these laws. His goal was to preserve families, assure fairness and due process, and maintain the integrity of our immigration laws. Senator Kennedy believed that immigrants deserve the same due process protections available to
He also helped lead the way in efforts to restore fairness and justice to immigrants and refugees. Senator Kennedy's support was instrumental in restoring public benefits, such as Food Stamps, Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid, to countless elderly, disabled, and legal immigrants. He continues to push for the further restoration of benefits to all legal immigrants.
Broder, John M. "Edward M. Kennedy, Senate Stalwart, Is Dead at 77." The New York Times. 27 August 2009 (p. A1). Canellos, Peter S. "Obama Victory Took Root in Kennedy-Inspired Immigration Act." The Boston Globe. 11 November 2008. Canellos, Peter S. Last Lion: The Fall and Rise of Ted Kennedy. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2009. ISBN 1-4391-4873-2. Clymer, Adam. Edward M. Kennedy: A Biography. New York: William Morrow, 1999. ISBN 0-688-14285-0. Contreras, Russell. "For Immigrants, Kennedy Remained Tireless Advocate." Associated Press. 29 August 2009. McGinniss, Joe. The Last Brother: The Rise and Fall of Teddy Kennedy. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1993. ISBN 0-671-67945-7. Miami Herald. "Ted Kennedy: The Lion Sleeps." 27 August 2009.