Sunday, August 02, 2009

# Posted 10:00 AM by Ariel David Adesnik  

CAN A SCANDAL LAST FOR FORTY YEARS? SHOULD IT? On Thursday, President Obama announced that he would award the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, to sixteen individuals, including Sen. Ted Kennedy.

Mary Katherine is not amused. She asks how many individuals considered complicit in vehicular manslaughter could be given such an honor. Would a conservative (or any non-Kennedy) rise to the heights of the Senate with Chappaquiddick on their resumes?

Yet that was forty years ago. Kennedy has won re-election several times since then, indicating that the people of Massachusetts consider the scandal to be over. Republicans such as John McCain have often worked with Kennedy on major legislation. Interesting, here's what the WaPo write up of Obama's announcement said:
While President George W. Bush encountered some criticism when he awarded the medal to such Iraq war power players as then-Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain, former CIA director George Tenet and occupation viceroy L. Paul Bremer, Obama hasn't included any particularly controversial choices in his first picks.
As MK notes,
It is considered bad form for conservatives to mention Mary Jo Kopechne (who would have been close to 70 now if she had lived), especially now that Kennedy himself has fallen ill with a brain tumor.
The unwritten rules that govern political scandals never seem to make all that much sense. We can all point to someone on the other side who got away with something awful. That's how it is.

Cross-posted at Conventional Folly
(1) opinions -- Add your opinion

Should someone who did something awful and got away with it be given the Medal of Freedom?

Who cares about "sides"? Why does that even enter into it? And if he's never apologized, never accepted punishment, then, yes, 40 years later is not too late to bring it up.
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