In 1990, when liberal journalists still had some sense of obligation to the truth, Michael Kelly wrote the following for GQ:
As [Carla] Gaviglio enters the room, the six-foot-two, 225-plus-pound [Sen. Ted] Kennedy grabs the five-foot-three, 103-pound waitress and throws her on the table. She lands on her back, scattering crystal, plates and cutlery and the lit candles. Several glasses and a crystal candlestick are broken. Kennedy then picks her up from the table and throws her on [Sen. Chris] Dodd, who is sprawled in a chair. With Gaviglio on Dodd’s lap, Kennedy jumps on top and begins rubbing his genital area against hers, supporting his weight on the arms of the chair. As he is doing this, Loh enters the room. She and Gaviglio both scream, drawing one or two dishwashers. Startled, Kennedy leaps up. He laughs. Bruised, shaken and angry over what she considered a sexual assault, Gaviglio runs from the room.
The incident above took place in 1985 at the restaurant La Brasserie in Washington, D.C., where Loh and Gavigilio both worked as waitresses. Everyone in Washington knew about it, including Sen. Claire McCaskill. Here is what McCaskill had to say about Kennedy’s behavior upon his death in 2009:
This man was so much more than his image. While his vision soared, the power of his personality and the magnet of his intellect drew his colleagues to the table of compromise. It was there he did his best work. His love for the little guy and his affection for the underdog influenced everything he did. And importantly, his sense of humor and contagious laughter made him real and approachable in spite of his power and privilege.
Although more than enough to kill a Republican’s career, the infamous “waitress sandwich” barely made Kennedy’s highlight reel. For sheer moral squalor, it was hard to top Chappaquiddick. This 1969 incident is well enough known; in brief, Kennedy hosted a drunken party at an isolated beach house whose guests included exactly six married men and six single women.
Late that night, Kennedy and one of the women, Mary Jo Kopechne, left for their own private party at an equally isolated beach but never made it. The car went off a small bridge. Ted Kennedy left Mary Jo alive, trapped in the car and gasping for air. He bypassed homes near the bridge, from which he could have called the police, and walked over a mile back to the party house. Once there, he sought out his lawyer friends, Joe Gargan and Paul Markham, to help him work out his alibi. Compromised by a presumed lawyer-client relationship, they had to wait for Kennedy to call for help. Kennedy never did. He may have been hoping that Gargan, the family fixer, would take the rap. Mary Jo, meanwhile, struggled to survive for perhaps an hour, even more, before suffocating.
Sen. Patty Murray of Washington was eighteen when Kennedy let Mary Jo Kopechne die. Said she in her tribute to Kennedy, “When I was young Ted Kennedy was larger than life.” Murray continues with a straight face, “Ted never once stopped fighting for those who couldn’t fight for themselves.” Ms. Kopechne might beg to differ.
Although Ted was never tried for rape, his nephew, William Kennedy Smith, was. On Good Friday 1991, Kennedy took Smith and his son Patrick out for a long night of drinking. What better way for a Catholic to honor Good Friday? The young men brought two young women home with them. Hoping perhaps for his share of the action, a drunken Ted Kennedy, nearly 60 now, wandered without pants into the room where everyone gathered.
“I got totally weirded out,” said one of the women. She stood up and told the others, “I’m out of here. I’m leaving.” The fleeing guest left behind Patricia Bowman, the woman who would accuse Smith of rape. Smith would be acquitted. Ted Kennedy cheered. He believed Anita Hill two months earlier, but he chose not to believe Bowman. “It’s the acquittal that money can buy,” said Bowman afterwards. Reported rapes were said to have dropped 40 percent in that part of Florida after the trial. No one wanted to go through with what Bowman had.
“Twenty years after I first met him, I was elected as a U.S. Senator from Maryland,” said Maryland’s Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Kennedy. “I was just one of two women Senators and the first Democratic woman elected to the Senate in her own right. Though I was all by myself, I was never alone. Maryland’s senior Senator Paul Sarbanes and Senator Kennedy were what I call my ‘Sir Galahads.'”
After just thirty years in the Senate, Mikulski stepped down last year. McCaskill and Murray, however, may get to decide the fate of Alabama’s Roy Moore should he get elected to the U.S Senate. They do not believe that Moore lives up to their standards. Without benefit of due process, McCaskill declared him “not fit” to serve in the same Senate as Sir Galahad Ted Kennedy.
Say what one will about Roy Moore, but unlike Kennedy, he did not make a career of debauchery, and no one ever drowned in his car.
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