As of this writing, the January 2006 National Enquirer cover featuring a photo of Kennedy’s alleged “love child” gets top billing on Carr’s site. Farther down the page, there’s a photo of Kopechne, followed by a shot of the car she died in being pulled from the water. For those who desire more, FatBoy.cc also features links to additional Kennedy material, all of it profoundly unflattering: photos highlighting Kennedy’s obesity; audio clips of tormented Kennedy oratory; photos — some topless! — of various women linked, for better or worse, to the Kennedy men.
As Carr explains it, his motivation is simple. “I don’t like the guy,” he tells the Phoenix. “He’s been living off his brothers’ glory. I don’t like his politics. I don’t think he’s been good for the country, and I don’t think he’ll be good for the country.”
But try as Carr might, he’s fighting a losing battle. As Chase and Scott stump in communities around Massachusetts, laboring to get their 10,000 signatures by the deadline, they find the deepest animus among people in their 70s and 80s — men and women who remember firsthand both the overheated veneration of Camelot and Ted Kennedy’s indefensible actions at Chappaquiddick. When Scott worked the Gloucester post office earlier this month, the vitriol came from a picket-toothed old man carrying a transistor radio. “He knocks down Alito, knocks everybody else down, but he never looks at himself,” grumbled the man, who gave his name as Frank the Wacko. “What happened at, whatever you call it, in Chippiquick? Where he murdered the girl with the baby?” (Kopechne’s pregnancy has long been rumored, but was never established.)
Meanwhile, as Chase stood outside a Waltham supermarket, it fell to another elderly man to represent old-time Kennedy hatred. “Romney had the best chance,” he rasped. “But when the chips were down, Teddy called his boys in from the Midwest — ‘Laboring men.’ That son of a bitch! He never cared about laboring men!”
To state the obvious, these gentlemen won’t be around forever. And as they and their ideological compatriots pass away, Kennedy hatred will become, slowly but surely, an abstraction — a state of mind that people know about, generally speaking, but that fewer and fewer have actually lived.
If Kennedy is re-elected this year, this term will almost certainly be his last. His retirement will bring endless tributes from liberals and diatribes from conservatives. The Chappaquiddick references will be dusted off, along with references to cheating at Harvard and overindulgence in food and drink — and then, once the hoopla around Kennedy’s departure has died down, they’ll be put away, maybe for good.
On the Web
Adam Reilly's Talking Politics blog: http://www.thephoenix.com/TalkingPolitics
Ted Kennedy: http://kennedy.senate.gov
Kevin Scott: http://www.massforscott.com/
Kenneth Chase: http://www.chaseforsenate.com/
Howie Carr's 'Fatboy' Kennedy site: http://www.fatboy.cc/
Email the author
Adam Reilly: firstname.lastname@example.org