26 August 2009

RIP Senator Ted Kennedy

I've just read the news.

Note that if Ted had lived in the UK like Stephen Hawking there'd be queues of Republicans (and Daniel Hannan) round the block at Fox News just to say "there you go, Ted Kennedy is dead because of the NHS".

My main knowledge of Ted Kennedy is somewhat out of date, really: in a lot of Hunter S Thompson's 1970s work (particularly the superb Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72) he's portrayed as a president-in-waiting, just waiting for the right year to make his move.

Of course, that year never came. 1980 was the closest he got, but he was trying to take on a Democratic incumbent - Jimmy Carter - and trying to unseat an incumbent 'from within' is extremely hard. Perhaps if Carter had lost to Ford in 1976, things would have been very different in '80 and Kennedy would have made it to the White House, and we'd never have had 'Reaganomics' and therefore avoided the collapse of the economy in 2008; it's a fascinating thought.

The Kennedy dynasty is looking somewhat depleted in the US these days; I'd suggest drafting in violinist Nigel Kennedy to make up the numbers a bit. But God forbid, not Radio 2's Sarah Kennedy - that's all the Americans need. Stick with Rush Limbaugh - he has a tiny brain, but at least it's somewhere in there.

Dunno what happens in the US Senate now: do they have a by-election in Massachusets? I have no clue.


red two said...

What about former Watford left back Peter Kennedy? I've no idea about his politics, but he likes a pint of Guinness.

giroscoper said...

Yeah - that might be the important factor here!

Van Patten said...

Even by your own standards this plumbs new depths.

Kennedy was a career criminal descended originally from Irish gangsters who made their money in the Prohibition era. Thank Christ he didn't win the Democratic nomination. Had the scenario you outlined ( a Ford victory in '76 - quite an intriguing thought)come to pass and Reagan been defeated by Kennedy (unlikely, given the two guys' respective voter bases but not entirely beyond the realms of possibility), I predict a couple of things with some degree of certainty.

1/ The USSR would still be in existence. Eastern Europe would still be in chains. Taiwan would most likely have been annexed and possibly South Korea as well. It's possible the USA, rather than it's rival would be facing secessionist movements from remaining 'Red' states.

2/ It's probable the Falklands war would have been lost had it even been allowed to occur, and the resultant backlash would have led to the removal of Thatcher. The resultant sclerosis would have led to the EU nations being encircled on two sides by the original Warsaw Pact and a USSR client state in the UK set up by the innumerable hard leftist Fellow travellers (it's estimated 20,000 in the Education sector alone spied for East Germany - given the relative size of it and the USSR, a Foot victory would have been tantamount to installing Chernenko or Gorbachev as Head of State)

Ironically where you're right is that it's arguable the collapse of 2008 would have been avoided. How can you bust when there is no boom? Looking at the history of comparable states, by all accounts Ceaucescu's Romania, Hoxha's Albania and The old favourite North Korea are characterised by permanent 'bust'. That would have been the fate of the USA and the UK, had this most monstrous of figures ever attained the highest office. You're right, he's the antithesis of Reagan. Sadly, you seem unable to understand why that's actually NOT a compliment.

giroscoper said...

Van Patten - I can't comment on your post more than to say that you've just proved why the hard right movement of Reagan / Bush Jnr is an intellectually bankrupt shell reduced to shouting at people a la Rush Limbaugh.

The only part of this that is correct is that Kennedy 'was descended originally from Irish gangsters who made their money in the Prohibition era'. But so what? Should we lock up Ronnie Biggs's kids because the guy was a criminal? Doh.

USSR would have collapsed or reformed to a democratic state anyway - and probably with less economic hardship - in the absence of Reagan. They were economically exhausted even at the time of the Eisenhower administration. Reagan made things WORSE, not better. This is the biggest of the foreign policy lies propounded by people like y'self who should know a hell of a lot better.

Van Patten said...

But as Russia isn't democratic now how can your statement be even vaguely correct or plausible?

Evidently you have forgotten the incident at Chappaquiddick also. I do not think your view that Reagan 'made the situation worse' has any evidential basis whatsoever. You appear to have adopted the policy of Goebbels in that if the lie is big enough and repeated often enough it automatically becomes the truth, and looking at some of the indirectly linked blogs you are associated with I know the loss of second incomes incurred by many of the authors thanks to Ronald Reagan might cause his name to be cursed. Nevertheless, assuming Obama's administration continues its collapse, hopefully in 2012 - 2016 a new Republican administration can carve the great man into Mount Rushmore, a worthy tribute to the man who effectively destroyed socialism as a viable political concept, freeing millions in the process.

giroscoper said...

My point is that in the absence of the chest-beating belligerence of the Reagan administration (to be fair to Reagan, he initially wanted to continue the dialogue with the Soviet leaders which had been started by Nixon and continued by Carter but was talked into adopting a harder line by neo-con advisors), the USSR would not have spent so much on military hardware in the 80s. It'd still have collapsed or had to reform to some kind of market system because its fundamental economic problems were insoluble with a command economy. BUT it might have done so whilst still retaining enough private consumables to feed and clothe the population.

The triumphalism that greeted the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Eastern bloc (also inspired by the neo-cons) meant that western policy advisers took a much more gung-ho attitude towards dismantling the Soviet-era structures as quickly as they could. The population were given shares in major utilities which they had to cash in as quickly as possible at rock-bottom prices to the few people in the country who had (or could borrow) money to buy them - that's how the oligarchs were created. All this is at least partly Reagan's fault.

So I think it's quite plausible to suggest that Reagan is at least partially responsible for the current authoritarian regime in Russia.

I think it's much more likely that Obama will get carved into Rushmore than Reagan. Unless they are turning it into rental space for cheap punks - in which case we need a triptych: Nixon, Reagan and the thief and war criminal George W Bush.

The only part of your post which shows any rationality here is Chappaquiddick. I agree that it was outrageous that Kennedy got off almost scot-free from this. I'll defend the guy for his political stance but not for being a piss-head and a coward. So you're right there.

Anonymous said...

its amazing how people forget this guy killed a woman, and was a drunk a philanderer and a liar and when the IRA was killing people left right and centre he was supporting them both financiallly and morally