Monday, January 31


Betsy Newmark over at Betsy's Page links to and quotes from this curious query from none other than Mickey Kaus: namely, and I paraphrase, that Ted Kennedy, having given an inflammatory anti-Iraq War speech just a matter of days preceding what turned out to be (and beyond the expectations of many pundits) a most successful national election in Iraq, cast himself at least temporarily like a fool and Mickey wonders what would possess the Senator to do that -- to set himself up for a potential tumble. Mickey's wonderment over Kennedy's political judgement was published in this article in Slate.

Betsy answers Mickey's question for him, succinctly: Perhaps Kennedy is a fool.

Kennedy must have been intrigued by Kaus' question, because he chose to answer it in this fashion right on the heels of the massive voter turnout in Iraq.

My own answer is that Kennedy is only a national figure because of his brothers, John and Robert -- a beloved, assassinated president and an aggressive, assassinated U.S. Attorney General -- and his seniority in the United States Senate. He's a left-of-Left liberal in the grand tradition and he has well-known character flaws. His judgement has been bad, both personally and professionally, numerous times and, more often than not, he lands on the wrong side of issues. Americans have an abiding curiosity with celebrity, so they're drawn to this man. But Ted's politics have never resonated nationally. In other words, what he did just before the Iraq election and just after it were altogether predictable, rather than aberrations. And let's not forget that it was Ted Kennedy who put his Party clout and campaign staff behind John Kerry's candidacy and then couldn't get the baby delivered last November (or if he did, it was arguably a breech delivery).

Mickey Kaus is being disingenuous and is simply distancing himself from Kennedy's bumbling. Good move, Mickey!