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Sundries
...a sweatshop of moxie

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Cheneyquiddick

(Welcome Althouse readers!)

Tell me, who reading this, was alive in 1969?

Because I'd very much like to be told if there was a press outrage, the likes of which we saw today during the White House Press Conference, by David Gregory and Co., about Ted Kennedy's much more devastatingly damning "failure to report" than what Veep, Dick Cheney did after his hunting brainfart.

Or rather, what he didn't do.

You know, truly, truly, MSM are collectively going through an identity crisis.

They think they are our true representatives, and the Administration (any Administration), are just part-time interlopers who should be ferreted out before their term is up.

Their actions today, about essentially a non-story being pumped up to hopefully, prayerfully, bring down this Administration at long last, were nothing more than embarrassing.

I felt literally embarrassed for them, as they tried to sniff out a story which they could then use, to add to their litany of crimes against the American people, by this White House.

And yes, I just coined Cheneyquiddick.

Although I'm sure Chris Matthews sent out memos with it as a title, already.

17 Comments:

  • "hunting brainfart"?!
    "Sundries, we have a problem"

    I don't think shooting an old man in the face while hunting without a valid license can be considered a "hunting brainfart" regardless of how BLUE your blood is.
    The "Pressed" keep referring to Cheney's "spraying" the victim as if he were watering his garden or his accidental "peppering" -as if his victim were a steak. Get real! How deep can the denial go?
    [Vice Presidents don't shoot people...they just "spray" them]

    The VP broke at least 2 laws [hunting without a valid license, and failure to report a shooting] But I guess relatively speaking these are minor crimes for Mr. Cheney.

    By Blogger vergelimbo, at Tue Feb 14, 03:18:00 am GMT-5  

  • Whoa, vergelimbo, take a breath. "Hunting brainfart" is exactly what this is. But if you think this wonderful phrase understates what happened, what about your hyper-ventilating about Cheney "shooting an old man in the face?"

    Come on, you've been hunting before, right? So you know the effective range of shotgun loaded with birdshot is fairly short - else you end up with a wad of pulverized meat and feathers as reward for a well-placed shot. Accidents happen and the VP is lucky it wasn't any more serious but nothing in the official reports indicates it was any worse than how it's been characterized.

    And breaking two laws? Well, let's see, he had a valid license though, admittedly, he didn't have the proper $7 stamp, a new enough requirement that earned him a warning as punishment, same as any other citizen. And failure to report a shooting? To whom? The press? Is that a crime now? Last I heard, he wasn't charged with any failure to report a shooting, let alone convicted of it. Glad to see you're willing to give due process a chance.

    By Blogger Pete, at Tue Feb 14, 07:15:00 am GMT-5  

  • I saw some of that press conference and the MSM was pathetic. The MSM seem to be caught up in their own self importance and don't realize they come across like idiots with all their contrived hype.

    By Blogger Jose Aguirre, at Tue Feb 14, 10:00:00 am GMT-5  

  • Come on, you've been hunting before, right? So you know the effective range of shotgun loaded with birdshot is fairly short - else you end up with a wad of pulverized meat and feathers as reward for a well-placed shot. Accidents happen and the VP is lucky it wasn't any more serious but nothing in the official reports indicates it was any worse than how it's been characterized.

    Yeah. What he said.

    And breaking two laws? Well, let's see, he had a valid license though, admittedly, he didn't have the proper $7 stamp, a new enough requirement that earned him a warning as punishment, same as any other citizen. And failure to report a shooting? To whom? The press? Is that a crime now? Last I heard, he wasn't charged with any failure to report a shooting, let alone convicted of it. Glad to see you're willing to give due process a chance.

    I mentioned this on Althouse before, but the argument that the VP didn't report this hunting brainfart (I repeat) to law enforcement, is a spurious argument.

    I wrote that Dick Cheney is one of the relatively few men on this earth, who has 24/7 law enforcement at his side, wherever he goes.

    Harry Whittington was driven by Secret Services agents, and checked in by them, into the hospital, DIRECTLY.

    This could be the mootest of all points about this whole sorry episode, I've yet heard.

    Again, as I mentioned on Althouse, it's like asking Parkland Memorial hospital staff to fill out police reports on a certain John Fitzgerald Kennedy's gunshot wounds.

    For obvious reasons, that's not necessary.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Tue Feb 14, 12:13:00 pm GMT-5  

  • I saw some of that press conference and the MSM was pathetic. The MSM seem to be caught up in their own self importance and don't realize they come across like idiots with all their contrived hype.

    It's interesting that their sense of outrage differed from their excited demeanour during the leak regarding the intelligence programme.

    This was more like Katrina, which they felt they could exploit to bury this Administration.

    What they are looking for, is the knockout blow...after a series of body jabs.

    And you know, Cheneyquiddick ain't it.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Tue Feb 14, 12:18:00 pm GMT-5  

  • I was 20 in 1969. Best of my memory, the papers were real delicate about Chappaquiddick, and folks who thought this showed bad character on Senator Kennedy's part (he was, after all, a married man!) were gently distanced.

    By Anonymous dave s, at Tue Feb 14, 01:31:00 pm GMT-5  

  • I was 20 in 1969. Best of my memory, the papers were real delicate about Chappaquiddick, and folks who thought this showed bad character on Senator Kennedy's part (he was, after all, a married man!) were gently distanced.

    Thanks for the historical comment, Dave. :)

    Listen, I believe in having heroes, and to that end, I'm willing to put up with foibles, and even ignore them if needs be.

    (Not that Chappaquidick could ever be described as a foible. If it wasn't the 1960s, and his name wasn't Kennedy, Edward Moore would have been tried for manslaughter. But I mean his infidelity in general)

    What I cannot stand, is when the chattering classes target certain people for investigation, and let others slide for similar if not worse behaviour.

    Alas, we don't live in the world of heroes anymore, and so much more's the pity.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Tue Feb 14, 02:09:00 pm GMT-5  

  • I was around in '69.

    Chappaquiddick was covered intensely, but a senator isn't obliged to send a press secretary out for a daily briefing as the White House is. Remember too, that in those days, there were no cable stations and only three major TV networks covering the news, plus the traditional radio and newspaper outlets.

    Two other factors mitigated the intensity of coverage and confrontation that we saw in today's press briefing:

    (1) The story broke at the very moment we were all glued to our TV sets for coverage of a huge event: the moon landing. I remember that in my hometown paper on the day after the landing, there was an enormous headline accompanied by a picture of Neil Armstrong setting foot on the lunar surface at the top and covering most of the front page. (Rightly so!) Below the fold, still on the first page, was the first of many stories about Chappaquiddick.

    (2) The event took place less than one year after Robert Kennedy was assassinated. The country was still hugely sympathetic toward the Kennedy family. At present of course, a majority of the American people doubt the truthfulness of the President. Reporters and editors read polls too. If the President had greater approval ratings and credibility, the media wouldn't be as ferocious about this story. They do push envelopes, but only so far.

    I just heard an interview with Robert Novak, the conservative pundit, on Fox. He believes that the White House has created this problem and engendered the intensity of press scrutiny of this matter by not being entirely forthcoming.

    Anyway, those four elements: the lesser attention paid to senators as opposed to presidents; fewer media outlets thirty-seven years ago; the moon landing and subsequent celebrations; and Camelot afterglow, all lessened the degree and intensity of press scrutiny back then.

    But as time went on, media scrutiny of the Chappaquiddick incident continued and I believe that from that time forward, the former luster of the Kennedy name was intensely diminished. Had Chappaquiddick and the press coverage that accompanied it not happened, Ted Kennedy probably would have been nominated for President by the Democrats in 1972 or 1976. Had he not run in either of those years, he clearly would have beaten Jimmy Carter as Carter sought re-election in 1980. Even with Chappaquiddick and the questions about it which dogged him on the campaign trail, Kennedy nearly did beat Carter, testifying in part to how pulpable a shroud it was on his career and how singularly significant it was in denying him the presidency.

    Interesting question.

    Mark Daniels

    By Blogger Mark Daniels, at Tue Feb 14, 03:44:00 pm GMT-5  

  • In 1969 I was working as a Northeastern Co-op student at the State Street (Boston) law firm that employed Ed Gargan, the in-law Teddy first called for an alibi after missing the bridge. The reactions of the lawyers was sympathy for Gargan because of his in-law; the reaction of the secretaries was "What else would you expect?" There were jokes he'd gotten rid of her because she was pregnant and expected him to marry her (he fairly shortly thereafter broke up with his then wife anyway.)Bear in mind, these wer legal secretaries and legal secretaries (having seen it all, literally) have evil minds. They also knew people who had worked on the Kennedy campaign and knew what the parties were like.
    It is generally accepted here in MA that Teddy stonewalled the legal system. He did so because of his name and political connections. Anyone else would have had a court trial and would certainly have gone to jail for leaving the scene of an accident. That he later used Kopechne's parents in a TV ad was actually considered rather vulgar. None of this will prevent the little old ladies who form much of his voting block to reject him. They expect this from politicians here in the Commonweath.

    By Anonymous John H. Costello, at Tue Feb 14, 10:04:00 pm GMT-5  

  • One point about Kennedy's first marriage: It isn't exactly true that Teddy and Joan broke up "shortly after" the Chappaquiddick incident. They separated, as I recall, sometime in the late-1970s, about ten years after it happened. There was a brief reconciliation for political reasons, as she campaigned on his behalf when he challenged Jimmy Carter for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1980. They were divorced in 1982.

    By the way, there were all sorts of jokes circulating after the incident. But because a death actually resulted from what happened on that July night, you didn't hear comedians making cracks about it.

    But like the incident involving Dick Cheney, there was a delay in the principal figure--Kennedy back then, the Vice President now--talking with law enforcement authorities.

    Mark Daniels

    By Blogger Mark Daniels, at Tue Feb 14, 10:50:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Yeah, by the time the press in Philly got around to reporting Teddy's "accident" it was below the fold. I remember that.

    By Blogger benning, at Wed Feb 15, 04:46:00 am GMT-5  

  • "Last I heard, he wasn't charged with any failure to report a shooting, let alone convicted of it. Glad to see you're willing to give due process a chance."

    Due process? We don't need no stinkin due process! Cheney shot a guy in the heart! I say it's a military tribunal for him, after we waterboard him to find out if he'd been drinking or not.

    By Blogger Egypt Steve, at Wed Feb 15, 10:21:00 am GMT-5  

  • I was around in '69.

    Wow. ;)

    Chappaquiddick was covered intensely, but a senator isn't obliged to send a press secretary out for a daily briefing as the White House is.

    OTOH, they can issue press releases, and on occasion, they can be interviewed.

    Kennedy wasn't interviewed on the topic, until he was seen wearing a neck brace, long after the burial.

    (I thought it was particularly awful, for example, when he brought his wife, Joan, to the funeral. God, it must've been torture for her)

    Remember too, that in those days, there were no cable stations and only three major TV networks covering the news, plus the traditional radio and newspaper outlets.

    A salient point.

    But also, the first inklings of what would be 24 hour news coverage of certain events, had of course, (and ironically) been launched by his brother's assassination -- the first time live television was pre-empted for news, without stop.

    This was also the case with the moon landings, again ironically, since it happened during Chappaquidick (which you mentioned as well), and during the Vietnam conflict -- and that showed news stories slowly becoming the focus of broadcast news, even if it was on the networks.

    (Ditto for the Munich Olympics incident)

    Two other factors mitigated the intensity of coverage and confrontation that we saw in today's press briefing:

    (1) The story broke at the very moment we were all glued to our TV sets for coverage of a huge event: the moon landing. I remember that in my hometown paper on the day after the landing, there was an enormous headline accompanied by a picture of Neil Armstrong setting foot on the lunar surface at the top and covering most of the front page. (Rightly so!) Below the fold, still on the first page, was the first of many stories about Chappaquiddick.


    Until you wrote it, I hadn't realised the two events were so contiguous!

    Great point.

    (2) The event took place less than one year after Robert Kennedy was assassinated. The country was still hugely sympathetic toward the Kennedy family. At present of course, a majority of the American people doubt the truthfulness of the President. Reporters and editors read polls too. If the President had greater approval ratings and credibility, the media wouldn't be as ferocious about this story. They do push envelopes, but only so far.

    Though I do realise you have a point here, and well-reasoned at that, I think that this argument is disingenuous, on two levels.

    A) Poll numbers are famously low for second-termers, and they are also flawed -- as the very close "race" of 2004 showed, when early exit polls (and the ones leading up to the election) showed Kerry by a solid margin over Bush.

    I wouldn't discount polls entirely, but like President Bush, I know that people are fickle.

    Do I doubt their veracity?

    In a way, yes.

    From Statistics in school, I learnt that any poll whose margin of error is greater than 2%, its findings are completely bogus.

    I once saw a CNN poll on the president, whose margin of errors one can see up top, half-hidden, was over 7.5%!

    That's an astronomical margin of error, if people truly know stats.

    I trust the word of mouth of people on the street, more, and to that end, I keep my eyes and ears always open (for good and bad).

    B) Polls are self-fulfilling things.

    The more people think that's what others feel, the more they will be influenced that way.

    I just heard an interview with Robert Novak, the conservative pundit, on Fox. He believes that the White House has created this problem and engendered the intensity of press scrutiny of this matter by not being entirely forthcoming.

    That's always the way, and I agree with that -- the announcement was too cutesy, by half.

    BTW, I'm about to write a post on Novak. :)

    Anyway, those four elements: the lesser attention paid to senators as opposed to presidents; fewer media outlets thirty-seven years ago; the moon landing and subsequent celebrations; and Camelot afterglow, all lessened the degree and intensity of press scrutiny back then.

    Very well put!

    But as time went on, media scrutiny of the Chappaquiddick incident continued and I believe that from that time forward, the former luster of the Kennedy name was intensely diminished. Had Chappaquiddick and the press coverage that accompanied it not happened, Ted Kennedy probably would have been nominated for President by the Democrats in 1972 or 1976. Had he not run in either of those years, he clearly would have beaten Jimmy Carter as Carter sought re-election in 1980. Even with Chappaquiddick and the questions about it which dogged him on the campaign trail, Kennedy nearly did beat Carter, testifying in part to how pulpable a shroud it was on his career and how singularly significant it was in denying him the presidency.

    I recall reading that President Carter said (in a public news conference!) that he was going to "kick Kennedy's ass" for the nomination.

    What would be the press reaction, do you reckon, if President Bush 43 had said that?

    Certainly his dad said that too, only he put a "little" in his statement to temper the saltiness. ;)

    Interesting question.

    Interesting reply. Thanks! :)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Thu Feb 16, 01:47:00 am GMT-5  

  • In 1969 I was working as a Northeastern Co-op student at the State Street (Boston) law firm that employed Ed Gargan, the in-law Teddy first called for an alibi after missing the bridge.

    I've heard the Gargan sister, Mary IIRC, being interviewed many times on TV about the Kennedys.

    Apparently, they were raised by old Joe and Rose Kennedy, almost as their own.

    With their brood of 9 already, that must've been some dinner table.

    The reactions of the lawyers was sympathy for Gargan because of his in-law; the reaction of the secretaries was "What else would you expect?"

    Heh. A fine example of the duality of male or female, or perhaps of social classes.

    There were jokes he'd gotten rid of her because she was pregnant and expected him to marry her (he fairly shortly thereafter broke up with his then wife anyway.)

    Yes, I had heard that was a motive too -- but as Mark explained below, I believe Joan and Teddy separated in the 80s, not the late 60's...

    ...although to be sure, they were estranged before and especially after this awful event.

    Bear in mind, these wer legal secretaries and legal secretaries (having seen it all, literally) have evil minds. They also knew people who had worked on the Kennedy campaign and knew what the parties were like.

    It occured, apparently, after an election party -- and he had been drinking, a lot.

    It is generally accepted here in MA that Teddy stonewalled the legal system. He did so because of his name and political connections. Anyone else would have had a court trial and would certainly have gone to jail for leaving the scene of an accident.

    Indeed.

    That he later used Kopechne's parents in a TV ad was actually considered rather vulgar.

    Wow, really? I hate to say this, but that sounds like the Kopechnes were paid to do that.

    I know my folks would never consent to lend their name, to someone who had contributed to my death.

    Not even for a Kennedy (then).

    None of this will prevent the little old ladies who form much of his voting block to reject him. They expect this from politicians here in the Commonweath.

    Heh.

    I didn't know it was the little old ladies (particularly in Southie, no doubt) which kept him in office.

    Like Cicciolina, and her block of voters which comprise of undersexed 20-year old Roman males, that's the price of democracy.

    Thanks for the reply, John!

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Thu Feb 16, 01:56:00 am GMT-5  

  • They were divorced in 1982.

    I recall seeing a newsreel of the Reagan inauguration, and they were there together, but very very frosty towards each other already.

    Shortly thereafter, as you say, they divorced.

    By the way, there were all sorts of jokes circulating after the incident. But because a death actually resulted from what happened on that July night, you didn't hear comedians making cracks about it.

    Which would've tempered the jokes about Cheney if poor Mr. Whittington had died?

    Perhaps. Certainly, he has since suffered a mild heart attack, which has made the PUBLIC jokes be lessened than the Monday after the announcement, at least.

    If Mr. Whittington had died, obviously, Cheney would've had to resign.

    But like the incident involving Dick Cheney, there was a delay in the principal figure--Kennedy back then, the Vice President now--talking with law enforcement authorities.

    I mentioned this point before, but unlike Kennedy, Dick Cheney actually had Secret Service agents around him, and they are law enforcement officials too.

    He also travels with medical staff just in case, and their prompt attention to Mr. Whittington, surely helped to lessen the impact of this awful mishap.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Thu Feb 16, 02:00:00 am GMT-5  

  • Yeah, by the time the press in Philly got around to reporting Teddy's "accident" it was below the fold. I remember that.

    Question: has there ever been a (perhaps made-for-tv) movie about this event?

    I'm guessing if no, that the Kennedys put their not inconsiderable pressure on any project.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Thu Feb 16, 02:03:00 am GMT-5  

  • Due process? We don't need no stinkin due process! Cheney shot a guy in the heart! I say it's a military tribunal for him, after we waterboard him to find out if he'd been drinking or not.

    How this remark (said in half-jest, I know) reminds me of Ambassador Joe Wilson's now-famous remark of frogmarching Karl Rove out of the White House.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Thu Feb 16, 02:04:00 am GMT-5  

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