On this day, 38 years ago, Edward Moore “Ted” Kennedy managed to kill off any hope that he would ever be president of the United States.
The Democratic Lion of the Senate drove his car off a bridge into water, swam to shore, went to his hotel, chatted with the clerk, then went to bed. In the morning, he notified authorities where he’d left the car — after he talked with his lawyer.
As well as where he left Mary Jo Kopechne, who drowned.
Teddy pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident after causing injury. He was given a suspended jail term and lost his license for a while.
We will likely never know the full story of what happened that night — why the two were together, what Ted’s intentions were, just how Mary Jo died, why Ted spent so many hours before telling police about the crash — but one thing is certain: that incident alone was the primary reason he was never president.
That, however, did not keep the people of Massachusetts from re-electing him to the United States Senate in 1970.
Considerably more details about Chappaquiddick and the rest of the sordid Kennedy history can be found here.
(This story, in an early draft form, was accidentally published earlier today, hence the comments that are time-stamped prior to the timing of the piece. As usual, it was my screwup.)
(Also, a bit of grammatical cleanup, prompted by brainy)