'Nobody Had a Better Sense of What Was Right Than Teddy' -- Parade's Effusive Cover Story on Mrs. Kennedy

The whitewashing of Ted Kennedy continued on the cover of Parade magazine, a supplement to many Sunday newspapers around the country.

 Dotson Rader interviewed Victoria Kennedy, the second wife of the late senator. Decades of womanizing and a woman’s death at Chappaquiddick after Kennedy left the scene of an accident weren’t really noteworthy. One large bold pull quote read "Nobody had a better sense of what was right than Teddy."

"Tell that to Mary Jo Kopechne" was not a sentence that appeared in the article.

The other large pull quote from Mrs. Kennedy was "He was elected to make a difference. He never stopped." The words next to Mrs. Kennedy’s picture on the cover was "Four months after the death of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, his wife Victoria remembers A Life Filled With Purpose." (The words in bold were much larger on the cover.)

Naturally, the pro-abortion, pro-gay ultraliberal was deeply religious: "His faith was very deep. Spiritually, he reached out to people of faith. Cardinal O’Malley of Boston came. We prayed."

The section of the story on Kennedy’s extraordinary sense of right and wrong was about halfway through the article, and his political causes came from the Bible:

On The Oprah Winfrey Show recently, Victoria said her husband would be happy that health-care reform was finally receiving serious consideration. I ask why he cared so much when he himself was dying.

"Why?" She looks at me in surprise. "Human rights were the chief cause of his life. He believed health care was a human right. His causes came from the Beatitudes, the Sermon on the Mount. That was the source of his political philosophy. All his issues — fighting for the poor, for education, health care, equality, peace — came from that.

"Nobody had a better gut sense of what was right and how to make progress toward achieving his goal than Teddy," his widow says. "He understood human nature. He understood the Senate."

This was as direct as Rader the writer would get about Kennedy’s decades of sexual scandal:

When Ted and Victoria married in 1992, few believed it would last. Ted, then 60, carried a legacy of tragedy, grief, and misbehavior heavy enough to sink any union. He was 22 years older than her. His previous marriage, to Joan Bennett Kennedy, had ended painfully. The youngest of Joseph and Rose Kennedy’s nine children, he was the last surviving male of his generation and, as such, was head of a political dynasty that had achieved and suffered much. And despite a superb legislative record, he had acquired a reputation for womanizing and drinking.

The "superb legislative record" is treated as a scientific truth, but the bad reputation was "acquired," which suggests Rader the writer isn't sure that reputation was deserved.

Tim Graham's picture


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