Who remembers Mary Jo?

Who remembers Mary Jo Kopechne? You know the young woman Ted Kennedy didn’t manage to save from the waters of Poucha Pond? We thought of her today as we listened to Ted Kennedy’s speech endorsing Obama :

I feel change in the air.

Every time I’ve been asked over the past year who I would support in the Democratic Primary, my answer has always been the same: I’ll support the candidate who inspires me, who inspires all of us, who can lift our vision and summon our hopes and renew our belief that our country’s best days are still to come.

I’ve found that candidate.

So? Why should this choice of his have any weight with us?

But I believe there is one candidate who has extraordinary gifts of leadership and character, matched to the extraordinary demands of this moment in history. He understands what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called the “fierce urgency of now.”

Character. Demands of the moment. The urgency of now. What response of character did Ted have to the demands and “urgency of now” that night in July 1969? His reaction to the demands of the moment and the “urgency of now” was to wait 9 hours to report the accident for which he was responsible, and to dissemble, and to cloak the facts.

He is tough-minded, but he also has an uncommon capacity to appeal to “the better angels of our nature.”

And to appeal to the young, a new generation, the generation who does not remember Mary Jo Kopechne, those who might be impressed with Ted’s endorsement, but if you said to them ” What about Chappaquiddick?” would say “What’s that?”

What counts in our leadership is not the length of years in Washington, but the reach of our vision, the strength of our beliefs, and that rare quality of mind and spirit that can call forth the best in our country and our people.

With Barack Obama, we will turn the page on the old politics of misrepresentation and distortion.

Oh, we know Kennedy is supposed to be an “icon of the Democratic Party”. Ted certainly knows about the old politics and misrepresentation and distortion better than anybody. So an endorsement from an old guard Democrat is supposed to prove that Obama can leave the old politics behind? Somehow, we don’t follow the logic.
Ted has changed since 1969, you might say? Not that much, we would say. Obama may be a very good candidate, but Ted Kennedy’s praise did not enhance Obama’s resume in our eyes because we do not respect Kennedy or his judgement. Oprah’s endorsement had more weight.

Yeah, yeah, we know- we’ll get back to municipal stuff soon enough.

Later: Did you see Bruce MacKinnon’s cartoon on this subject? Good one.


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