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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Small Comfort

When Patrick Kennedy was asked why he smashed up his car at 3 a.m. near the Capitol building a week ago Thursday, his answer was pat: “I do not ken.” It seems the Democrat from Rhode Island tried to stay on the road but wound up on the island. He claimed that he had consumed no alcohol, but a waitress at the Hawk & Dove said that story was Cock & Bull. Apparently his position is that he goes to that establishment not to drink but because he likes the Ambiens.

Kennedys are schooled in such things: they will bare any burden to avoid having to pay any price. Patrick confessed that he contends with alcoholism, substance abuse, addictive behavior and a touch of mental illness. Forget about his not committing a crime; it sounds like not committing him would be a crime. After making these arresting remarks, he hied himself off to the Mayo Clinic for their special spring package: detox, rehab and one free appearance on Oprah if you sign up before May 31.

Scoff if you will at the amnesia defense – in fiction class they taught us to eschew amnesia, identical twins and lottery winners as too implausible – but it worked. Only two weeks have passed, but the story is gone… and forgotten.

THE QUESTION THAT FASCINATES not only politically but personally is: how do the Democrats get away with such outrageous behavior? The glib answer is that they have a different deal with their constituents. Republicans promise their voters to represent them honorably. Democrats promise theirs to deliver the goodies and no questions asked. People expect different behavior from their attorney than they do from their collection agency.

Although that is part of it, this time we are seeing that it runs deeper. We have a familiarity of long standing with the Democrats’ rhetoric that they are guided by their concern for the ‘little guy’. They could choose to sit around and bask in their bigness, you see, but they are bigger than that. Larger. So they use this largesse to rescue us from our littleness.

There have always been flaws in this construct, not least the fact that when tax returns are compared, Republican candidates give more personal charity by a factor of 10 to 1. Ted Kennedy’s return, when he was in the Democrat Presidential Primary of 1980, showed almost zero donations and became an issue that hurt his chances. It was déjà vu two decades later, when we saw that Al Gore, in the year that Earth in the Balance was a best seller, gave a whopping 150 bucks in contributions.

But I believe that the encompassing analysis, the oversoul, is this: the Democrats are not the party of the ‘little guy’. They are the party of the ‘small guy’. They are wedded to smallness in all its forms. It’s best expressed in Yiddish: kleinkeppeldigkeit (small-headedness) and kleinshteteldigkeit (small-town-ness). It’s not exaggerated by much to say that they stand in opposition to all the faces of greatness.

The very notion that there is some inner core of greatness, some nobler ultimate purpose, both in the macrocosm of the world and the microcosm of the individual human being, is something they find perturbing. If you speak of a Creator Who has a plan for mankind, that is spooky and unsettling. To attribute some overarching wisdom to a revealed book – wisdom reflecting the insight of the watchmaker into the workings of His watch – is to introduce superstition, discomfiting those who seek to conduct civil discourse. And to assign it authority over defining morality is to invite a nasty old uncle to what should have been a nice party.

To suggest that there is a higher existence than our own to which one might strive is somehow offensive. As a corollary of this, all authority figures who symbolize the idea of answering to a higher code are viewed as creepy. How many books and movies have made military commanders into the bad guys? Tons. The same holds true for priests, for parents and for various ‘pillars of the community’. (Teachers have been granted an exemption as long as they promise not to promote morality.) Indeed the very notion of patriotism, the national flag or the national anthem, is deemed corny at best and ‘dangerous’ at worst.

Not the little guy but the small guy is the Democrat constituent. The less you believe, the less you limit yourself, the less you speak of honor, the less you work to project dignity, the more you are in the liberal comfort zone. All this throws a pall over people who revere the Constitution, to whom the law is a beacon of nobility. When I hear it said that the Kennedys are a dynasty, I cringe; they stand mostly for dismantling our institutions. Although one institution at least is safe: David Blaine failed to break the record for holding one’s breath underwater, leaving Senator Ted as uncontested champion.


Tlaloc said...

"He claimed that he had consumed no alcohol,"

Uh huh. Given the genetic component of alcoholism it would almost seem appropriate for Kennedy's to be required to get rehab once per term.

"THE QUESTION THAT FASCINATES not only politically but personally is: how do the Democrats get away with such outrageous behavior? "

Brother, puh-lease!
Look the dems certain have bad behavior but frankly most of it is stupid little stuff like sex and drugs. Compare that with the republican side.

Let's see the republicans are currently in trouble for betraying our nation by giving military contracts to inadequate vendors in return for cold hard cash. Oh and hookers. I mention that since sex seems to be so much more of a sin than treason to your side.

Our troops are going into battle ill equiped and undersupported due to the mercenary antics of the republicans and their k street machine.

But yeah Kennedy driving drunk is a big deal. He should lose his license. He should have to get treatment (at his own expense).

Meanwhile a goodly number of republicans should be sitting behind bars right next to Cunningham.

Don't even try to act self righteous Jay. Your side is the one with the big sins.

"Republican candidates give more personal charity by a factor of 10 to 1."

Conveniently that's because they voted themselves so many tax exemptions. Also conveniently a lot of those "charities" turn out to be their own private money making schemes. Consider Delay's charity that just happened to employ several of his family memebers with six figure salaries. Odd that.

Quite the humanitarian he is to get people to give so generously to his own family.

Look I know your side is deep in it right now but this projection fantasy of yours isn't going to help.

Barry Vanhoff said...


Too bad Patrick is from a Northern state, otherwise your title could be more aptly called Southern Comfort.

Why do the Dems get away with this stuff? In this day and age, being a hypocrite is more of a crime, and if you don't stand against anything you can never be accused of hypocricy.

Jay D. Homnick said...

Cunningham and Abramoff are not getting away with it, and they were immediately rejected by Republicans.

On the Democrat side, no one ever pays for their sins, unless the law puts them away or the voters strip their seats. Have any Democrats rejected Patrick Kennedy for this behavior? Have they rejected Robert Byrd for being a Klansman? Did they reject Edward Kennedy for letting a girl die in his car? Did they reject Al Sharpton for inciting rioters to burn down Freddy's and kill eight people? Did they reject Marion Barry for corruption and drugs? Did they reject Catherine McKinney for hitting a cop? Did they reject Gary Condit for his behavior, in a case that includes a girlfriend who died by violence? Did they reject Sandy Berger for stealing government documents to cover his butt? Did they reject Clinton for perjury and being disbarred? Did they reject Hillary Clinton for accepting a $100,000 bribe under the guise of cattle-future profits? Did they reject Bill Clinton for executing a mentally retarded man to help his campaign? Or for pardoning Marc Rich, who sold Iranian oil while they were holding our hostages? Did they reject Dan Rostenkowski for his staggering levels of corruption and abuse of power?

None of those people have missed a single Democrat gathering or lost one ounce of prestige among the faithful.