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

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.


eyedoc333 said...

At least Rep. Kennedy had the guts to stand up publicly, admit a problem, and make the effort to get treatment. That's a lot more than we can say for hypocrites like Rush Limbaugh, who advocates locking up drug addicts and throwing away the key. Unless, of course, he is the addict.

Blue Gal said...

I'm with eyedoc333.

BTW, another reason to keep your mind open about poetry is that a smart comment to Poetic Justice will get you some hits. See?

5th Estate said...

I'm not sure "guts" is quite the right word, but at least Kennedy had the sense to immediately address his problem in his explanations and his actions. Limbaugh "doth protest too much" and continues to do so.
I'm not that sympathetic to Kennedy in that due to his social position he deosn't immediately lose his job, gets to check in to an expensive clinic that too many these days can't afford.
On the other hand I am sympathetic in that despite his privilege he's subject to personal issues similar to, well anyone. His social status still doesn't completely insulate him from personal problems. This is what the right continues to deny--that those who make the rules and fail to live by their own rules then get to change the rules subject to their own convenience. Their old complaint of the "moral relativism " of the left is actually and ironocally endemic to the right! Ha!

Project Vote Smart ( link on my blog)has Kennedy's record. In light of this incident it's particularly illuminating. It seems he's taken his own problems and used them as a cause for more than his own benefit.

I still think he should resign, but I don't see any reason for shame to be attached. As I say in the post, there's no scandal here.

5th Estate said...

so I see. I didn't post just to get a return hit but unlike unsolicited paper correspondence an unexpected comment deserves at least a response, out of courtesy if nothing else, be it in one's own parlour or on the originator's blog.
I owed Poetic Justice a visit because he gave my comment on another blog a nod. Now I get a notice from you--and thanks for that. I've been cruising Shakespeare's Sister for a while thanks to a link at RedTory--for the writing skills variety and intelligence more than for the affirmation of my own sensibilites.
And thanks to that and them and now you, I get larger perspective and get to enjoy the company of smart and smarter people.
So thanks for dropping by, blog on and be assured I'll visit and comment if I can say something that might be worthy.

Blue Gal said...

...And you already did! Thanks for visiting the "sister site" and leaving that great comment about Secretary. I don't do enough of that kind of writing, and I appreciate the reinforcement.

Shakes sis is the best out there. They don't take themselves too seriously and they "get it" on so many levels.

If you visit Blue Gal the main site, you'll find I think intelligence is an aphrodisiac. And, well, your brain is showing, hon.

Now that you've joined the party, may I suggest you grab a free email account somewhere? Posting an email addy is de rigeur.

The Googlers don't pay me enough for the pimp, but I can send you an invite for an account at Gmail if that would help. Just lemme know at bluegalsblog AT gmail DOT com

Adding you to the mainsite blogroll. Again, welcome to the party.

RadicalPurple said...

It’s also some kind of rule that you don’t have to be born in the place you represent.

You can add to your list: G.W. wasn't born in Tex-ass either but became it's Goobernor.

Blue Gal said...

purple some states are more persnickity about that than others. New York State has a long history of electing carpetbaggers (Hillary Clinton, Bobby Kennedy, etc.) I don't think Wyoming would have been a good pick for Hillary, though. And in Texas being an "oil man," even a failed one, is more than enough. Money talks in Texas, and all too often in elections in general these days.

RadicalPurple said...

Money talks in Texas, and all too often in elections in general these days.

And there ya have it Blue. The crux of the problem. Money talks, you-know-what walks . . . in cowboy boots and a 10-gallon hat, clearin' brush.