Edward M. Kennedy is being celebrated today with the opening of an institute dedicated to his memory. Joe Biden and President Obama were among the speakers in attendance. With classic irony, Obama said Kennedy had “bridged partisan divide” and Joe Biden said he was “an anchor for many of us in our personal lives”.
Obama described Kennedy’s ideology saying it was that “you should help people, that you should be empathetic and that you should put yourself in other shoes, and see through their eyes”.
That empathy or aid did not extend to Mary Jo Kopechne, of course. Kopechne was riding in a car in Chappaquidick with Ted Kennedy in 1969 after a party, when the car went off a bridge into the water. Kennedy got out of the car and left the scene with Kopechne still trapped in the car under water. But Kennedy had gone home to Edgartown and didn’t report the accident until the following morning, ten hours later. By the time authorities were then able to get to the car, she was dead.
At the inquest into her death, the diver who found her, Captain of the Edgartown Fire Rescue, John Farrar, said this was the basic position in which he found Kopechne:
He testified that she didn’t die in the accident but that she suffocated from lack of air, after having breathed all the air in the air pocket in the car, that it would have taken 3-4 hours before that happened. He testified if he had been called, he could have had her out within 25 minutes.
Kopechne was not the only one to suffer at the hands of the ‘liberal lion of the Senate’. He had a very bad habit for drunkenness and attacking women:
One may find more loathsome behavior here.
If he had been anyone else, he would have been in jail, not being praised today. War on women, indeed…