Sinking Kennedy

By Jon Ostrowski

This past week America has been treated to quite a spectacle in the Alito confirmation hearings. Unfortunately, at the hearings, the American public was exposed to an ugly truth, one that had previously chosen to hide. I’m speaking, of course, about the surprising hypocrisy of Sen. Ted Kennedy.

Okay, perhaps his hypocrisy is not that surprising. The senator from Massachusetts has basically made his home in the Senate, and has managed to do this for one reason and one reason only; he is part of the Kennedy Empire.

Millions (well, probably thousands) of Americans tuned in to see Kennedy and many other senators give Alito the third degree. One has to wonder why Kennedy was not subjected to the same level of scrutiny some years ago when he decided to go for a ride with a woman (not his wife) after a few drinks. Perhaps you already know how this story ends. Kennedy winds up driving into Lake Chappaquiddick and escaping alive.

He then, like any good person would, proceeds to neither help the woman, Mary Jo Kopechne, nor tell the police about the whole affair until the next day when he gave them a bogus story. Oh, that Ted Kennedy! Some have theorized that an air bubble trapped in the car would have given Kopechne five hours worth of oxygen. One can only wonder.

The wise dissenter might immediately object that this is ancient history. Surely, if insults concerning the president’s former drug problem are still in style, I can bring up the fact that a senator might be responsible for the death of an innocent woman.

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The point I’m trying to make here is that Kennedy’s entire political career has been one long episode in hypocrisy. This man is the quintessential grand-stander, valiantly standing up against the evils of the Republican agenda and demanding moral policies. Correct? Mind the plank in your own eye, Kennedy.

What so raised the ire of Kennedy and the Democrats that they would attack Samuel Alito to the point that his wife left crying? Why, the one unchanging pillar of the Democratic agenda, abortion. Alito is pro-life (his mother confirmed that). Democrats are not.

Conservatives have an interesting take on judicial nominees; they should be judged on their knowledge of constitutional law, not their personal views. This is why Ruth Bader Ginsburg was confirmed in a landslide vote despite the fact that she is far more liberal than either Alito or John Roberts are conservative. This once-standard philosophy has gone out of vogue among today’s liberals.

So, Kennedy decided that to derail a seemingly well-qualified nominee, he would bring up the fact that a Princeton club Alito once belonged to had members with some unpopular traditional views. More specifically, the club was against the admission of women to Princeton. If Kennedy gets to bring up this ancient history, surely you see why the Chappaquiddick debacle is fair game. Now for the plank, Kennedy belonged to a similar club at Harvard that refused to allow women to join.

Even Sen. Arlen Specter, king of the Republicans-in-name-only, chose to denounce Kennedy’s pathetic attempts to stop or delay Alito’s nomination. When even Specter, a big supporter of abortion rights, turns his back on Kennedy in a situation like that, he’s fighting for a lost cause.

Unfortunately, this is business as usual for Kennedy. Onward he marches, an inspiration for those looking to make fools of themselves. One wishes he would simply realize that it is he, not Alito, that is dramatically far out of the mainstream. After all, NARAL initiated a petition in opposition to Alito’s nomination. Their goal? Half a million signatures. And how many did they actually collect? Two thousand. Either the American public has become incredibly apathetic toward the entire political process, or most people think the liberal opposition to Alito is ridiculous.

When will liberals learn? With Kennedy steering the ship, the Democrats are inevitably headed for a wreck.

Jon Ostrowski is a junior in LAS. His column usually appears Tuesdays. He can be reached at [email protected].