Sunday, May 07, 2006
School for Scandal
So Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) gets zonked out of his skull, drives into a concrete barrier, gets treated very nicely by the D.C. police, gets his head straight again, offers up an excuse/explanation and then immediately checks into a rehab clinic.
I imagined the battered right-wing punditry rushing to their keyboards to write STOP THE BIT PACKETS! HOLD THE FRONT WEB-PAGE! HEADLINE!!! MIDTOWN MADNESS FOR DEMOCRAT PARTY CRASHER, KENNEDY!
Goodness knows I wouldn’t blame them for wanting to pile on, what with the tanking polls, recent guilty pleas, current indictments, future indictments, resignations, unflattering reports, record spending, record deficits and growing dissension in the ranks that Republicans and their supporters have been enduring these last few months.
Of course Pat Kennedy losing an argument with a pile of concrete isn’t quite in the same league as Chappaquiddick and it’s a long way from Clinton murdering political opponents and importing cocaine whilst getting blow jobs and sweet property deals, but at least it’s something.
The first effort to make a meal out of the incident that I saw was Michelle Malkin’s who, as the story was still very fresh, simply posted what she had gleaned and was still gathering her thoughts (Brava, Ms Malkin for not going gonzo straight away!):
Rep. Kennedy says "I struggle every day with this disease...the chronic disease of addiction."
Translation: I am changing the subject.
Major Garrett calls Kennedy's statement "very artful." Garrett reports that Dems may have likely intervened in the last 24 hours to persuade Kennedy to shift the focus of the story.
FOX analysts note that Kennedy made no mention of painkillers last night. Former prosecutor Michael Farkas: "This is an obvious attempt to garner sympathy from the public." Worse than that, Farkas notes, it's inconsistent with his statement last night and probably indicates that he probably did commit a crime.
(Farkas lives up to his name: Kennedy originally said he hadn't been drinking. Then later he said his impairment was due to a mix of pills--seperate but consistent, neither statement refutes the other. What a Farkas!).
In MIchelle's next post on the subject she finds herself surprised to be able to quote a commenter on the Daily Kos who says that Kennedy should resign! OMG! Someone she would typically generically label a “moonbat” isn’t automatically defending a Democrat (and a Kennedy no less)! How very odd!
Meanwhile over at John Hinderaker’s initial post :
I'm not clever enough to add to the hilarity already surrounding Rep. Patrick Kennedy's traffic mishap last night.
OMG! I totally agree with John!
And after some other blather, he also writes:
Why on earth is a lost, pathetic nonentity like Patrick Kennedy a member of Congress? What possesses people in his Rhode Island district--does he have some connection with Rhode Island?--to vote for him? Can the people of Rhode Island possibly be proud of being represented by a slow-witted, uninformed young man with admitted psychiatric and drug problems? I assume not.
Well he does live there, John, has done since 95—he kinda has to live there, you know? It’s some kind of rule. It’s also some kind of rule that you don’t have to be born in the place you represent. But never mind all that.
The question John is trying to articulate is; does Pat Kennedy deserve to be in Congress with all the responsibilities that that entails? Hinderaker clearly thinks not.
OMG! I totally agree with John again! I really do, no sarcasm intended.
Anyone can make a mistake and when addled on drugs mistakes are easily compounded. Kennedy apparently mixed two drugs that he should have known reacted with each other. Just look at his areas of interest—mostly medical and mental health. The guy has serious problems. If he can’t make reasonable decisions for himself, how can he do so for his constituents? I think Kennedy should quit.
So where’s the big scandal that the Right so desperately wants and needs?
That Kennedy is in congress principally because of his family?
Dubya is President because of his family.
That Kennedy wasn’t given a breathalyzer test?
If a cop doesn’t smell alcohol (and in my experience and observations they are well attuned to that) observed disorientation would have to be a result of drugs for which they have no test.
That Kennedy was zonked on prescription drugs?
Stupid but not illegal per se unless operating a car--and that he did. He should be cited for his actions after taking the drugs, not for taking the drugs themselves.
And it’s not quite the same as using an employee to acquire false prescriptions as say Rush Limbaugh did (not an elected official of course, but still a drug-addicted public political figure).
Nor has Kennedy bribed anyone (as far as we know), been bribed (as far as we know), leaked secrets, illegally wiretapped anyone, lied about reasons for war, interfered with an election, personally profited from investing public money in a private coin collection or faked letters of credit to buy a floating casino etc.
I think Pat Kennedy got some preferential treatment and I find that scandalous though not in the least surprising. But no one died, billions weren’t wasted, no one was tortured or bankrupted by his actions. Suspend his license, fine him for driving violations and fire him. I say apply the law as it is applied to John Q. Public.
This story has no legs, there’s no meat on the bones, there’s no real scandal. Judging by both Hinderaker’s and Malkin’s later posts (still at the above links), the silence is deafening.
Given the old adage about absolute power it only makes sense that the lion’s share of scandal would fall to the Republicans at this time, but the number, scale and sheer mendacity of Republican schemes makes it plain that, since at least the “Contract With America” the Republicans set up a “School For Scandal” and many of its “students” are now graduating with dishonors.
The Republican cheerleaders like Malkin, Hinderaker et al seem to have yelled themselves hoarse.