Where is the hate?

By ADAM REILLY  |  August 27, 2008

ON THE STUMP: Ken Chase, running for the GOP US Senate nomination, gets signatures for his campaign.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: areilly@phx.com

< prev  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  | 
Related: Senate shuffle, Strange bedfellows, The annunciations, More more >
  Topics: Talking Politics , Mitt Romney, Peter Blute, U.S. Supreme Court,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
More Information

Great Kennedy haters of history

Kennedy hatred may almost be extinct, but we’ll always have the memories. Some haters of note:

Richard Nixon: Lost 1960 presidential election because JFK looked better on TV.
Fidel Castro: Three words: Bay of Pigs. Plus, Jack and Bobby apparently sanctioned his assassination.
J. Edgar Hoover: Freaky FBI honcho’s influence ebbed after clashes with Bobby.
Jimmy Carter: Sitting president challenged by Teddy in 1980 Democratic primary. WTF?
Martha-Ann Bomgardner: Cried like a baby when Teddy was mean to her husband, then–Supreme Court nominee Sam Alito.
Howie Carr: Populist conservative can’t stand Kennedy clan’s patrician liberalism.

ARTICLES BY ADAM REILLY
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   BULLY FOR BU!  |  March 12, 2010
    After six years at the Phoenix , I recently got my first pre-emptive libel threat. It came, most unexpectedly, from an investigative reporter. And beyond the fact that this struck me as a blatant attempt at intimidation, it demonstrated how tricky journalism's new, collaboration-driven future could be.
  •   STOP THE QUINN-SANITY!  |  March 03, 2010
    The year is still young, but when the time comes to look back at 2010's media lowlights, the embarrassing demise of Sally Quinn's Washington Post column, "The Party," will almost certainly rank near the top of the list.
  •   RIGHT CLICK  |  February 19, 2010
    Back in February 2007, a few months after a political neophyte named Deval Patrick cruised to victory in the Massachusetts governor's race with help from a political blog named Blue Mass Group (BMG) — which whipped up pro-Patrick sentiment while aggressively rebutting the governor-to-be's critics — I sized up a recent conservative entry in the local blogosphere.
  •   RANSOM NOTES  |  February 12, 2010
    While reporting from Afghanistan two years ago, David Rohde became, for the second time in his career, an unwilling participant rather than an observer. On October 29, 1995, Rohde had been arrested by Bosnian Serbs. And then in November 2008, Rohde and two Afghan colleagues were en route to an interview with a Taliban commander when they were kidnapped.
  •   POOR RECEPTION  |  February 08, 2010
    The right loves to rant against the "liberal-media elite," but there's one key media sector where the conservative id reigns supreme: talk radio.

 See all articles by: ADAM REILLY