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The Entitled Kennedys || Townhall

The Entitled Kennedys

Craig Shirley
|
Posted: Apr 10, 2018

This column was co-authored by Scott Mauer.

By early 1969, Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy had huge shoes to fill. He was the youngest brother of President John F. Kennedy and Senator Robert Kennedy. Both had died in a span of five years from an assassin’s bullet for completely unrelated reasons. He was also the brother of Joseph Patrick Kennedy, Jr., who’d been a Navy flyer killed in action in 1944, over England. All died heroically for their country.

On Friday, July 18, 1969, Ted Kennedy’s reputation was forever marked, continuing a family curse. This time, though, it was not his death but that of another person, that emblazoned his name on the front pages. A little aftermidnight, Kennedy lost control of his car off Dike Bridge, on Chappaquiddick Island, Massachusetts. He and his 28-year old passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne, plunged into the water. Ted managed to escape and to leave the crash . . . without reporting it for ten hours. He went back to his hotel and slept. “I had not given up hope all night long that, by some miracle,” he said later in a testimony, “Mary Jo would have escaped from the car.”  She did not. Mary Jo, whose body was recovered the next day, drowned that night in that car.

The incident rocked and besmirched the star crossed but heroic Kennedy legend. Teddy and Mary Jo had been at a party of RFK campaign workers called the “Boiler Room Girls” earlier that evening in Martha’s Vineyard.  The Vineyard was long known as the playground of the rich and famous. And entitled. Joan Kennedy was not at the party.

The day after, a teenage boy and his father who were visiting Long Island, got word of the tragedy. Having come from a family who were in love with all-things Kennedy, they were taken aback. A retired old fisherman who was renting out boats, looked to these two, and asked, “Have you heard about Kennedy, what he did?” Provocatively, this old salt remarked, “If we had done that, we would be in jail forever.” It tarnished any excitement about the Kennedys and any excitement the father and son had in anticipation of the moon landing, which was to occur only two days after the accident.

Kennedy pleaded guilty on July 25 to leaving the scene of a fatal accident, and was given a suspended sentence. Judge James Boyle remarked, Ted “has already been, and will continue to be punished far beyond anything this court can impose.”

Vapid words. A woman was dead. Ted’s life would go on. Entitled.

Ted’s wife, Joan, soon after suffered a miscarriage – her third – and placed the blame solely on Chappaquiddick and on Ted’s apparent and now-public infidelity. Fake satirical ads from National Lampoon magazine mocked him, with a photo of a half-submerged Volkswagen, the caption read “If Ted Kennedy drove a Volkswagen, he’d be President today.” Time magazine reported a joke already making the rounds: “Would you let [President Nixon] sell you a used car?” one Democrat asks another. “Yes,” he’d reply, “but I sure wouldn’t let that Teddy drive it.”

Joan Kennedy later descended into a sad state of alcoholism and she blamed Teddy for this as well. So many over the years became nothing more than the flotsam and jetsam on the beach of Kennedy ambition and entitlement.

Senator Kennedy refused to pick up the banner of his brother Robert’s fallen standard in 1968. He was reelected in the 1970 midterms, with 62 percent of the vote, nearly half a million more than Republican Josiah Spaulding. His political ambitions for president were briefly stalled – he shied from running in 1972, and specifically declined George McGovern’s request to be his running mate. He refused a 1976 presidential run, as well.  Instead, he chose to run for the 1980 Democratic nomination. A good decade had passed since the accident. The United States was in a midst of a horrid economic crisis, the worst since the Great Depression, with both inflation and stagnation – thus creating a new portmanteau, stagflation, a seemingly impossible combination. The Soviet Union was on the march and winning; oil prices were rising, and Iran held American embassy employees hostage. It was time, Kennedy thought, to move on from Chappaquiddick. There were other priorities on which to focus.

CBS’s Roger Mudd was one of the first to interview candidate Kennedy on November 4, 1979. Mudd was a Kennedy family friend but the entire hour-long interview of Ted was wordy and discursive. “Why do you want to be president?” Mudd asked. The response time could have been reduced by half if Kennedy had omitted the “ums” and “uhs” and pauses. This was supposed to be the easiest question of them all, and Ted fumbled it. When asked about Chappaquiddick, and whether anyone believed his side of the story, he responded just as poorly.“Oh, there’s, the problem is, from that night, I, I found the conduct, the behavior almost beyond belief myself. I mean that’s why it’s been, but I think that’s the way it was. Now I find that as I have stated that I have found the conduct that in, in that evening and in, in the, as a result of the accident of the, and the sense of loss, the sense of hope, and the, and the sense of tragedy, and the whole set of circumstances, that the behavior was inexplicable. So I find that those, those, types of questions as they apply to that, questions of my own soul, as well. But that happens to be the way it was.”

What? Great answer . . . It was a rambling mess and he had the audacity to portray himself as a victim. Entitlement struck again.

In January of 1980, the Washington Star and Reader’s Digest ran stories that disproved Kennedy’s side of the accident. There was no strong current, as the Senator claimed, that stopped him from trying to rescue Mary Jo. In fact, the tide was slowly moving in. Further, it was proven that Kennedy was driving erratically over a rickety one-way bridge, well over the speed limit, contradicting his testimony.

It was a ghost that kept haunting him. He tried to downplay it, using the tragedies of his brothers’ deaths to his advantage. “I’ve been under a lot of stress, too,” said one observer, interviewed by the media. “I’ve lost some family, too, but that doesn’t make me qualified to be president.” Still, it wouldn’t go away. President Jimmy Carter alluded to it early on, saying that he never “panicked in the crisis,” unlike his opponent. In late February, 1980, right before the New Hampshire primary, a high school student asked Teddy about Chappaquiddick, and again, Kennedy gave a tedious, non-answer.

The Democratic primaries, which might have gone to Teddy, went mostly for Carter in part because of the hostage crisis. Of course, Ted got Massachusetts by 65 percent; that was a no-brainer. Georgia went to native Jimmy Carter with nearly 90 percent. Those were the obvious bets. New Hampshire went to Carter, nearly 50 percent; Maine caucuses went to Carter, as did Iowa’s. So did Vermont, Alabama, Florida, Puerto Rico, Illinois, Kansas, Wisconsin, Louisiana and Texas. In total, Ted only won 12 primaries with 37 percent of the popular vote nationwide. This was against a failed presidency, and in a country in crisis. The entitled Kennedy could not beat that.

And yet there’s a contradiction here. Kennedy failed to become president – he failed to become a nominee for the president – yet he held office, until his death, as one of the longest-consecutive serving senators in United States history, nearly 50 years. He died at the age of 77, making this congressional run a majority of his life. Chappaquiddick could have genuinely been a mistake, a fatal tragedy that cost the life of a young woman; however the actions following are not in question.  Kennedy died in 2009, sodden, grotesquely overweight, an alcoholic celebrated by the scions of liberal society and buried in Arlington. He lies amidst the thousands of real heroes, many of whom saved women and did not leave them to die.

Some years ago, some in Hollywood tried to make a movie on Chappaquiddick based on the meticulously written book, Death at Chappaquiddick, by the estimable duo of Tom Tedrow and his son, Tom Tedrow, Jr. the entitled Kennedy family, still strong and influential, reached out and swatted it away. Blissfully, not this time. The story is finally being told.

Mary Jo Kopechne’s story has been lost amid the fable and ersatz of the celebrated Kennedys. She died because of Ted Kennedy’s incompetency and his cowardice. She died because he was entitled and thought he could get away with it.

And he did.

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Repugnant Rosenwald, Repulsive Post, Ignorant Hillary || Lifezette

Repugnant Rosenwald, Repulsive Post, Ignorant Hillary

Democrats and bigotry go back to the days of secession and the KKK, but this Washington Post editor paints Ronald Reagan as racist

by Craig Shirley and Scott Mauer | Updated 13 Feb 2018 at 11:15 AM

There was once a time when earning a doctorate was considered the highest honor, one in which you are considered the expert in your field and you virtually have an imprimatur for all things related. No more.

Brian Rosenwald is a senior fellow in the Robert A. Fox Leadership Program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is an editor for The Washington Post’s new section “Made by History,” dedicated to historical events that have shaped the United States. It’s a noble idea but, like all things Washington Post, has quickly descended into left-wing lies and bile. Surprise.

Rosenwald is also the liberal author of several op-eds in The Post, mostly relating to the Republican Party. “After Charlottesville, Republicans must grapple with their history on race,” he wrote last August. No mention of the Democratic Party’s long association with slavery, Jim Crow, and racism.

This year, he wrote another piece smearing Republicans: “Republicans aren’t hypocrites. They just have flawed principles.” The piece is littered with condescending attitudes and elitist points. “And that, more than hypocrisy, is the real problem facing Republicans — they have principles; those principles just don’t work,” he wrote.

You can almost hear him say “You just don’t understand …” to anyone who may offer a different point of view from his ivory tower. The problem here, it isn’t we who don’t understand. It’s him.

In his earlier piece, he falsely wrote that President Ronald Reagan launched his 1980 campaign at the Neshoba County Fair, close by where three civil rights workers were murdered by racists 14 years earlier.

Hillary Clinton, in her recent book, “What Happened,” lied similarly. The implication is not subtle. Reagan somehow was soft on racism. Hillary long has had only a casual relationship with the truth or reality but, now we know, so does Rosenwald.

A couple of things are going on here: First, this is not true. Reagan did not launch his fall campaign in Mississippi, but in Liberty State Park, New Jersey, on Labor Day. He was surrounded by ethnic Americans, and the towering Statue of Liberty behind him offered a symbolism of hope, renewal, and the American dream.

Reagan made note of this as well: “They came to make America work. They didn’t ask what this country could do for them but what they could do to make this — this refuge, the greatest home of freedom in history.” Factually, to say Reagan started his campaign at the Neshoba County Fair is wrong and deliberately wrong. Typical left-wing smear.

Point of fact, Michael Dukakis campaigned at the Neshoba County Fair in 1988. Hence, Dukakis was a racist, right?

But what about Jimmy Carter’s 1980 campaign? Unlike Clinton or Rosenwald, who are deliberately ignorant about Reagan, Jimmy Carter, in reality, launched his fall 1980 campaign in Tuscumbia, Alabama, at a Labor Day picnic, which the Los Angeles Times reported was the “national headquarters of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.”

The national headquarters for the Knights of the KKK was, in fact, just down the road in Pulaski, Tennessee, but only 50 miles away. There at his kickoff, Carter wheeled up the old “Seggie,” George Wallace, another Democrat, who’d been confined to a wheelchair. Carter’s daughter, Amy, kissed Wallace on the cheek. Wallace was the only Democrat on the stage that day, singled out by Carter for praise.

Carter told the crowd, “We southerners believe in the nobility of courage on the battlefield.” Meanwhile, 60 Klansmen marched there in front of Carter in robes with the Confederate battle flag. We could leave it there to let readers draw the false notion that Carter was receiving their endorsement (like the false smear against Reagan) and, while he did not, he did defend the Confederate battle flag.

Reagan attacked Carter for choosing Tuscumbia, but incredibly, Carter, his fellow Democrats, and the national media chose to attack Reagan for criticizing Carter’s choice for launching his fall campaign.

But you’ll be hard-pressed to see people label Carter as a racist. In fact, it is never reported that Carter had kind comments about the Confederate battle flag or the racist Democrat George Wallace.

In fact, let’s flip this around: Some Republicans may have a problem with racists, but so did and do the Democrats and far more, too. Let’s not even touch the Civil War, in which Southern Democrats seceded from the Union for the sole purpose of keeping slavery.

But lynching? The GOP had anti-lynching planks in its platform for years. The Democrats? Not until much later, to placate Southern racists. By the way, the Democratic Party’s KKK’s favorite target for lynching besides blacks was — Republicans.

More recently, however …

How about 1964? The Civil Rights Act, after much controversy and bickering, finally went to the House of Representatives for a vote. Eighty percent of the GOP Representatives — in total 136 — voted yes to the act.

On the other hand, Democratic representatives who voted no made up 37 percent, nearly 100 votes against. It was similar in the Senate, as proportionally the Republican Party overwhelmingly voted yes for the measure, while Democrats half-heartedly cheered it.

Even the chairman of the House Rules Committee, Democrat Rep. Howard Smith, wanted to stop it before it reached anywhere, and the proposal resulted in a 14-hour-long filibuster by racist Democrat Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia.

Decades earlier, Democratic hero and 13-year President Franklin Roosevelt, in the name of national security, imprisoned hundreds of thousands of American citizens of Japanese descent, locking them in internment camps.

It was only under Reagan that reparations were paid. He signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, giving each Japanese-American $20,000. FDR also snubbed Jesse Owens in the 1933 Berlin Olympics after he won four gold medals, becoming the most successful athlete there.

He was never invited to the White House. In 1936, Owens actually said, “Hitler didn’t snub me — it was our president who snubbed me. The president didn’t even send me a telegram.” That says something about Owens’ impression of our president.

We can go on and on. Truman used racial slurs against Jews, African-Americans, and Chinese in his diaries, using terms that even the 1940s would have considered hardcore.

Bill and Hillary Clinton came from Arkansas, so it’s without surprise that campaign slogans and friends had more … white-only attitudes. “SONS of the NEW SOUTH,” read a Clinton-Gore campaign button, with the nominees’ faces superimposed over confederate uniforms and the Stars and Bars of the Confederacy. Byrd was also a longtime friend of the Clintons’, with Hillary calling him “my friend and mentor.”

Yet it is Reagan who is falsely accused of being a racist.

Reagan had a clear and unbroken philosophy based on the unbroken expansion of human freedom. He was a child of the Enlightenment, which is why he quoted Thoreau, Emerson, Jefferson and Paine so often.

Thus, Reagan’s first goal was to reignite Americans belief in themselves. Coupled with this were tax cuts and rearming America. He knew a happy people were a productive people, so his first goal was the restoration of American morale, coupled with the tools of tax cuts, but at the top was national defense.

To Reagan, they all worked together to achieve a higher moral plane. Balanced budgets came last. They were important but the others were more important.  He knew if we lost to the Soviets, a good economy and good national mood were all academic. It was the American people who were the priority.

Related: Trump Is Not the Only President Who Promised to Drain the Swamp

But Reagan’s American conservatism was a consistent and complete philosophy. President Donald Trump, while doing some very good conservative things, is a populist and populism is not a philosophy but a reaction to “the other guy” controlling bigness.

It can’t be understated how influential the Reagan Revolution was to the GOP, both in the 1980s and even today. Politicians are rated according to “What would Reagan do?” It’s a sort of grand philosophy that holds a party together.

So when people like Hillary Clinton or Brian Rosenwald say Republicans are “unprincipled” for whatever reasons, perhaps a look at what the Democratic Party did, is doing, and will continue to do is in order.

Regarding liberals like Clinton and Rosenwald, they are liberals beyond knowledge and beyond help.

Craig Shirley is a New York Times best-selling author and presidential historian. He has written four books on President Ronald Reagan, along with his latest book, “Citizen Newt: The Making of a Reagan Conservative,” about the early career of former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. He lectures frequently at the Reagan Library and is the Visiting Reagan Scholar at Eureka College in Illinois, the 40th president’s alma mater. He also wrote the critically acclaimed “December 1941.” Scott Mauer is a research assistant for Craig Shirley.

Statement of Reagan Biographer Craig Shirley on Dr. Ronny Jackson

For Immediate Release
January 17, 2018

Statement of Reagan Biographer Craig Shirley

Trump White House physician “wrong” about Reagan

 Washington, D.C. – White House doctor Ronny Jackson may be an expert in the medical field, but he gets failing grades for his history. In an interview with the White House press corps yesterday, Dr. Jackson falsely said President Ronald Reagan may have had “some evidence of cognitive impairment toward the end of his presidency.” This is unprofessional, pseudo-historical, wrong, and a flat out lie. As a doctor, he of all people should know not to examine, diagnose, or assume anyone’s physical or mental health from afar. He was not President Reagan’s doctor, and every one of Reagan’s attending medical professionals attested to his mental vigor through his eight years in office.

There is an informal term of the ethics manual of the American Psychiatric Association called the “Goldwater Rule,” named after Barry Goldwater. This section of the manual states, “It is unethical for a psychiatrist to offer a professional opinion unless he or she has conducted an examination and has been granted proper authorization for such a statement.”

Perhaps there should be an update to it, called the Reagan Rule: It is unethical to assume, based on a lack of evidence and a lack of knowledge of the individual, to diagnose or assume any physical or mental impairment of someone you never knew or met or treated.

###

 

President Reagan didn’t have Alzheimer’s while in office || CNN

President Reagan didn’t have Alzheimer’s while in office

Why conservatives should oppose shrinking national monuments || Washington Post

Why conservatives should oppose shrinking national monuments

By Craig Shirley

The Western United States may be the last natural bastion of what it means to be a free American. The image of the Old West brings a sense of beauty, with sky-scraping mountain ranges, deep valleys and endless desert and woods. The feeling of utter freedom is something one has to experience to understand.

That sense of beauty and utter freedom is purely American, and for me, also purely conservative. I first traipsed the romantic desolation of New Mexico as a Boy Scout long ago and came to understand the spiritual magnificence of the American West. It was an awakening.

What does it mean to be American? Abraham Lincoln said in his address to Congress in 1862: “A nation may be said to consist of its territory, its people, and its laws. The territory is the only part which is of certain durability.” The United States as a nation may not always exist. The laws of the United States come and go as much as its presidents. But what the United States contains — the Redwood Forest, the Rocky Mountains, and even the national monuments President Trump might decide to shrink, like Bears Ears — is what will last long past our children’s children. Man-made monuments will have fallen, been torn down or been repaired five times over by the year 2100, but not our national parks. As Lincoln quoted the Book of Ecclesiastes in that same speech: “One generation passeth away and another generation cometh, but the earth abideth forever.” The great American novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne stated similarly: “Mountains are earth’s undecaying monuments.”

All that is why conservatives like me find ourselves compelled to speak out against the Trump administration’s decision last month to shrink two national monuments originally established by Democratic presidents. (My public affairs firm, Shirley & Banister, has done work for the American Monuments Alliance, a group of conservative leaders who also oppose shrinking the monuments.) A Republican with close ties to the administration, Newt Gingrich, recently published an article in Fox News arguing that it borders on hysteria to criticize Trump’s move. The former House speaker wrote that “redefining the boundaries of these monuments will not harm the environment, open the flood gates for dangerous mining or natural resource exploitation.” Maybe. Yet Gingrich, in his 2005 book “Winning the Future,” had made the case that environmental beauty is indeed conservative: “I am a conservative who likes to walk in Central Park in New York and along the Chicago lakefront and along the Chattahoochee recreation area. We can give our children and grandchildren better environments in their lifetimes through reasonable foresight.”

The initial push to shrink these lands was largely due to energy corporations. Take, for example, Energy Fuel Resources, which lobbied the administration to shrink Bears Ears, Utah, by 85 percent, paying lobbying firm Faegre Baker Daniels tens of thousands of dollars in the process. (That firm’s head just so happens to be the nominee for deputy secretary of the Environmental Protection Agency, Andrew Wheeler.) The shrunken territory, as planned, has a high concentration of uranium mines — exactly what Energy Fuel Resources wants.

“The uranium deposits are outside the monument now,” Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert told The Washington Post last month — but that’s only because the parks have been shrunken. Extraction corporations already have access to 98 percent of the millions of acres under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management. We are talking about setting aside a paltry 2 percent.

Lest we forget, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is already under some scrutiny for his stewardship of natural resources. His agency was just involved in a suspicious deal to revitalize Puerto Rico’s electrical industry after Hurricane Maria with a contract to a tiny company in Whitefish, Mont., Zinke’s hometown. No bid, naturally. Millions of dollars, of course. National Review recently battered him over the seediness of the arrangement, saying in their headline that it “stinks.” Whitefish Energy, National Review wrote, had “no real workforce, no experience in comparable government projects, and a job that is, by itself, about 300 times the firm’s reported revenue.” In 2017, the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management sold hundreds of thousands of acres  to companies, and the first half of 2018 could see nearly 1 million acres sold.

(To be clear, Zinke’s ethical questions go back to his days as a House member from Montana in 2014, when he created a leadership PAC that wound up with a $200,000 discrepancyin its accounting.)

Protecting natural beauty has long been a conservative priority. Ronald Reagan loved and lived in California. His ranch — Rancho del Cielo — meant everything to him. It was there he could take in the sparkling morning air, clear his thoughts and make decisions that changed the world. He wrote and spoke often about the ranch, even in his farewell address to the nation. Reagan’s favorite poet may have been Robert Service, a big, handsome man who wrote about the American West: “My lake adores my mountain …” Reagan’s ranch, high in the Santa Ynez, had mountains and a small lake.

Barry Goldwater loved and lived in Arizona. Both, giants among giants, saw the West and the landscapes as pinnacle Americana. Goldwater, in his immeasurably important work, “Conscience of a Conservative,” dedicated most of a chapter to the environment, writing that it is “our job is to prevent that lush orb known as the Earth … from turning into a bleak and barren, dirty brown planet.” Goldwater recognized that the environment took priority over what corporations and companies may want, and applauded President Richard M. Nixon’s war against polluters.

Goldwater was in many ways the father of 20th century political conservatism, and he had no greater disciple than Reagan. As president, Reagan called “the preservation of our environment … common sense.” He signed such preservation laws as the Coastal Barrier Resources Act in 1982, which forbade federal subsidies to new development in certain areas. He requested “one of the largest percentage budget increases of any agency” to the EPA in 1984, saying that $157 million budget was for obtaining new lands to conserve.

The framers of the Constitution and Founding Founders would have realized, as most were farmers of their time, that turning the land into infertile soil — as Energy Fuel surely wants to do with the land it claws back from the monuments — would have been unnecessary. George Washington was a member of the Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture, and in his address to the Continental Congress in 1776, he asked “whether [Americans’] houses and farms are to be pillaged and destroyed” by the British. Centuries later, what was the work of a foreign army is now domestic business. Thomas Jefferson noted that Washington would “had rather be on his farm than to be made Emperor of the world.” Jefferson, the agrarian son of the Enlightenment, saw the Louisiana Purchase as not just doubling the size of the country, but doubling the size of the American aspiration to be free and unencumbered. Corporations, like governments, encumber human freedom.

According to a recent poll by the GOP firm of McLaughlin and Associates, 85 percent of Republicans  want “more” monuments or wanted to keep them “as is.” Only 15 percent support reduction.

Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, along with the generations of Americans after them, looked to the West and saw immense natural beauty, and declared that it was Manifest Destiny for these ranges and valleys to be under the Stars and Stripes. If we were to shrink the monuments, we risk turning them into simply more oil fields and mining corporations.

As the great Enlightenment writer and thinker Henry David Thoreau said, “in nature is the preservation of the world.” In the preservation of the world is the preservation of the dignity and privacy of the private and free individual.

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