The Last Roar From An Aging Lion
January 28, Washington DC
Today, within the shaky confines of his own semi-addled mind, he was Kingmaker. He was The Statesman, The Party Elder, the Passer of the Torch, The Passer of Gas, The Righter of Wrongs and sober. Today was his one brief shinning moment and then some. He may not be sober tonight but, this morning, he was prepared to enter the fray.
It was probably never easy being Ted Kennedy. Not that such a statement implies any degree of sympathy should have ever been bestowed upon him. He was born into great wealth, destined for success by all measures of the day. Unfortunately, his ranking among his siblings, chronology, hamstrung him in some way known only to him or, may be not. Sure, circumstance seem, even from this distance, to have defined what he would never be, all that he could never be and, perhaps more profoundly, all that he never was.
Today may very well have been the curtain call for the last of a political generation, a dynasty to some more posthumously than in real time actuality. Uncle Ted, the youngest brother, the one whose career has been marred, tarred and scarred by scandals. The one remaining brother who had presidential aspirations but whose last best chance passed him by decades ago.
In his own way he became an icon, an icon to both the Left and Right; on one side lionized, on the other vilified. Edward Moore Kennedy, the senior Senator from Massachusetts, who has huffed and puffed on the senate floor for decades, who has championed causes good, bad, foolhardy and idiotic, stood before a cheering crowd who may have been familiar with his name but nothing much else.
Chappaquiddick quickly canceled out the image of the young Edward escorting Jackie Kennedy behind her assassinated husband’s caisson. Yes, Ted ran and is most likely guilty of manslaughter at the least. He ran while a young woman suffered, trapped in a sunken car that Ted had driven off an old wooden bridge. He ran to protect his ass, his family, all their asses and his own drunkenness, cowardice and failures as a man. But, he survived, was voted to a senate seat and he and his ever increasing ass have occupied it ever since. Scandal was
never quite too far behind Ted. He was involv ed in notorious incidents, sometimes associated with obtuse relatives but always related to alcohol. Marriages and divorces detox and re-tox never affected his constituency’s love for him. No matter how bloated this blithering drunk became he was always revered by the party faithful for reasons that are certainly more a measure of his bloodline than his achievements as a legislator.
But today, today with a face resembling a lump of Play-Doh kneaded by hyperactive children, with ears that could give flight to a 767, the obese, slovenly, cirrhotic warhorse had his moment. His voice thundered with uncharacteristic clarity, his words expressed equally uncharacteristic sober, lucid enunciations. He was on his game.
Perhaps, more than by any other single factor or influence, he was propelled by all his years existing in the shadows of his long deceased brothers, of his own failures and lost dreams and of his sense as “party elder’ who alone could squelch the increasingly vitriolic former President and his arrogant, egotistical, condescending wife. Potential unrealized struck Ted miraculously sober and with the figurative sword of crusading righteousness, he sought to slay the two headed beast determined to recapture the White House by blood if necessary.
Ted hadn’t demonstrated that level of outrage and fire since he was flagged from the Blarney Stone in Boston. He hadn’t been so vocally angry since he dropped a case of Jameson’s stumbling across the compound at Hyannis. Such lividity had not been in evidence since the last drunken panty raid his nephews excluded him from. no. This was serious business. There is some odd sort of cosmic justice to this whole affair as mysterious as is the fact that Ted still retains the liver he was born with.
A fluke of nature, where certain aspects of universal laws were momentarily suspended, the planets aligned, matter and antimatter, yin and yang, Simon and Garfunkel all returned to a geosynchronous orbit and from that oh so fleeting instant a unified theory was glimpsed. From amid the formerly tangled, now arrow straight strings, emerged Ted, the Chosen One who would thrust the silver stake of justice (vengeance) into the wretched heart of the Billary monster and forevermore exorcise the demons no human power could have thwarted.
Copyright © 2008 TBC All Rights Reserved
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