Wednesday, August 26, 2009
RIP Senator Edward M. Kennedy
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy succumbed tonight after his battle with brain cancer, the same disease that took the life of political columnist Robert Novak last week. The Washington Post describes him as "one of the most powerful and influential senators in American history." He should also be remembered, however, for the man who took the life of 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne. Forty years ago, a drunken Sen. Kennedy drove his car off a bridge at Chappaquiddick Island, Massachusetts. Kennedy saved his own skin and left his female passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne, behind to drown in his submerged Oldsmobile. Kennedy never called for help. Instead, he returned to his room at a nearby guesthouse and called his attorneys and powerful friends to plan the coverup of his horrendous crime. "The tragedy had a corrosive effect on Kennedy's image and eroded his national standing," the Post writes. Sen. Kennedy's life was saved by Indiana Sen. Birch Bayh (D), who pulled him from the wreckage of the plane on which both were passengers after it crashed near Springfield, Massachusetts in 1963. Kennedy suffered a broken back. It's quite a tragedy that he couldn't extend the same courtesy to Kopechne six years later. He won his first election for the U.S. Senate based on his family's name despite his young age and a damaging disclosure that he had been kicked out of Harvard for cheating on an exam. While many will be praising the life of Sen. Edward Kennedy, I will not be among them.