There is some cringing stuff out there paying tribute to Ted Kennedy. It was a long time ago, but there is one word that will always be associated with his name, Chappaquiddick. The mystery of what happened has never come to light. That one event ruined the ambition he had to become President.
Michael White’s daily posts on Guardian's politics blog are at times difficult to swallow, but his thoughts this morning, following Kennedy’s death, paint an accurate picture of the man. On Chappaquiddick he is spot on:
Ted Kennedy was lucky not to go to jail over the death of Mary Jo Kopechne, the 28-year-old woman he left to drown when he drove his car off a Chappaquiddick bridge – not far from where the Obamas are now on holiday – in July 1969.
He got a two-month suspended sentence for leaving the scene of an accident. Anywhere but Massachusetts, where the Kennedy clout was – still is? – legendary, the cover-up that followed the accident would not have held. Was it about drink, sex and bad driving? That's what people assumed at the time, but we still don't know.
Without the name “Kennedy”, Ted would have never have recovered from the incident. That is worth remembering when hear and read some of the tributes he has received today.