Dear Michael,

The Allbritton Center.  Looking a gift horse in the mouth, the Argus’ Ezra Silk asked, “Who is Robert Allbritton ’92?”  The Michael Roth College of the Environment and his fledgling (on track to metastasize) Middle East Studies Program are gift horses too, said “gifts” extorted from millions of taxpaying, working Americans poorer by far than a university able to shell out 300K per 8-month academic annum to a former provost to teach a course or two.  When President Roth steps down it’s very likely he’ll get an even better deal.  What course could he teach?  Gaming the System 101 would be my guess.  Until then the Robin Hood of South College can take from the working poor and give to his spanking new College and Program.  A pair of political hobbyhorses?  Children must have their toys.  As for the Confiscator in Chief (a robbin’ hood? I dare not say), I shall be ever so avid to read investigative reporter Silk’s piece, “Who is Barack Obama?”  Millions of his voters now dearly wish to know.

Well, well.  So much for my effort to charm the pants off the blue-dyed student body.

I too have a question: Who was Edward “Ted” Kennedy?  Michael, when you invited the Lion of the Senate to speak at Commencement ’08, you hid your nakedly partisan choice behind the nonpartisan fig leaf of “education” – a cause you claim your choice had championed.  Not so – it was PUBLIC SCHOOL education (brand name LESTOIL) that he had championed; every public school Educrat on K Street had the ear of Edward K.

He’d also championed a woman’s right to choose – except when the woman was poor, perhaps a black or Hispanic mother unable, without the aid of vouchers, to choose to move her child from a failing public school to a private school passing fair.  Vouchers got nowhere with Ted, a doting Big Daddy who could choose to give his children the best private schooling inherited wealth could buy.

You plugged his dying push for “universal health care” – so universal, you failed to mention, that members of Congress, who have a healthcare plan replete with choices tailored to their conditions and not to the countless conditions their legislation imposes on the public they serve, exempt themselves from the universal one-size-fits-all Procrustean Bed Plan.  You failed to mention that Universal healthcare will deliver R.I.P. treatment to Wesleyan healthcare; henceforth the students’ personal medical records will be in the hands of an army of federal bureaucrats authorized to peruse them.   You failed to mention that virtually everyone, from granny to grandchild, will be required to serve in a Universal Health Corps or some such, the brainchild of the Community-Organizer-in-Chief.  As for the expected shortage of doctors, not to worry: “The Rationing Board will see you now.”  Or a year from now.  Whenever.   That too you failed to mention.  But let us honor the dying wish of the selfless patrician whose life had been prolonged by his platinum-plated-Cadillac plan.

I come to bury the poser, not to praise him; the Beltway Choir to which he’d preached e’er hymns his praises.  Not missing a note, you hymn along while posing as Wesleyan’s poster boy for “creative” Wes.  As for me, whenever I hear the word “creative” I reach for my revolver.  That said, I’d be shooting myself in the foot for conceiving (that WOULD be creative) that when the dying Lion proposed that Obama to speak for him at Commencement, he was seeking redemption as John the Baptist, who’d stood aside for the coming Messiah.  Enter the Incarnation of Kool. (Honestly, Michael. You gushed like a teeny-bopper who’d just been goosed by her first crush.)

If, in clearing the way for the Incarnation’s descent from the clouds on High, the Lion in winter was buying redemptive afterlife insurance, he had good reason.  Your wonderfully unencumbered encomium failed to mention his having shepherded into law the Kennedy-Cooper bill, a cut-off of weapons shipments to South Vietnam; whereupon the USSR stepped up its weapons shipments to North Vietnam; whereupon Ho’s hordes overran the South; whereupon domino Cambodia fell; whereupon 2,500,000 Indochinese peasants were butchered.   The senator’s party had managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory; “Give Defeat a Chance!” had won.  But shame on me for mentioning your unmentionables.

No doubt I would be arrested for shouting “Mary Jo Kopechne!” in a crowd of Lion King Edward’s courtiers.  Where would wannabe courtier Roth be?  Falling in behind old Kennedy hand Ted Sorensen, who wrote: “Both a plane crash in Massachusetts in 1964 and the ugly automobile accident on Chappaquiddick Island in 1969 almost cost him his life.”  As for the lass who’d LOST her life, who needs to know HER name?  Hadn’t the accident ALMOST cost the life of Teddy?

And Teddy’s progressive agenda.  The Huffington Post’s Melissa Lafsky, reflecting on the aborting of his White House run by the fallout from the death he’d caused at Chappaquiddick, wondered what the victim “would have thought about arguably being a catalyst for the most successful Senate career in history…Who knows – maybe she’d feel it was worth it.”  The words of your fellow Huff Post blogger, Michael.  You two could be on the same page, for all I know.

Of course any courtier’s portrait of Edward would deftly brush over a corpse – the seamy underbelly of Camelot isn’t pretty.  Richard and Thomas Tedrow, in “Death at Chappaquiddick,” presented evidence consistent with the finding that the Senator was intoxicated while driving 40-50 mph at night across a narrow, un-guard-railed bridge; that after his car plunged over the side and sank in 8 feet of water, Prince Edward of Camelot (not to be confused with Prince Valiant) had made no effort to rescue the damsel he placed in distress; that she, no drowning victim, had died upon exhausting the vehicle’s air pocket 3 to 4 hours after the sinking; that her reckless driver’s explanation for the 9-hour delay in reporting the sinking – his “shock” – is belied, inter al., by the calls he’d made within those crucial wee hours to several of Camelot’s practicing magicians, on call day and night, to pull an alibi out of a hat.  One of those calls had instructed a wizard to whisk the “the body” out of the state, though at that moment “the body” might still have been alive.  An “ugly” accident indeed.

Without precedent, no autopsy had been performed to determine the time and cause of death before the remains were interred in Pennsylvania.  Back in Massachusetts, when the grand jury foreman, smelling a cover-up, tried to convene his panel, the presiding magistrate threatened the jurors with jail time.  And when the risk of the body’s exhumation arose, his Eminence Richard Cardinal Cushing of Boston, a Kennedy family intimate, was dispatched to Mary Jo’s parents.  The prelate’s mission: to counsel that exhumation would constitute a “desecration.”  Mission accomplished.

Five years later, with Watergate all the rage, the Lion of the Senate roared: “Do we operate under a system of equal justice under the law?  Or is there one system for the average citizen and another for the high and mighty?”  Who better qualified to answer that question than the one who’d asked it?

Had Teddy forgotten Chappaquiddick?  Not according to Newsweek’s Edward Klein, who recalls that your beau ideal of a public servant and shining exemplar for Wesleyan students was given to asking people, “Have you heard any new jokes about Chappaquiddick?”

Michael, this is one sleeping dog, no lion, you should have let lie.

  • Anonymous

    I’m sorry, what?

  • Wow

    Martin, you really must have something better to do with your time. Call your grandkids, volunteer somewhere…anything. It’s probably not good for you to get so riled up.

  • David Lott, ’65

    Man, this guy is pissed off.

    I sort of agree that parts of Wesleyan have gone off the rails, but what has this to do with Ted Kennedy?

    I doubt this will cause President Roth to reconsider his plans.

  • Jason Shatz ’14

    Wow. This is a series of jumbled, unwarranted diatribes. Fragments of grandiose and nearly eloquent language aside, one can easily identify the “pissed off” (as Lott ’65 described) tone of the piece by its incoherence.