With the death of Senator Edward Kennedy earlier this week has gone the generation of his family that influenced postwar liberal politics in the USA. Ultimately he became an influential and widely admired senior member of the Senate, but his reputation was shredded in the late 60s when he drove his car off the road at Chappaquiddick Bridge and left his young woman passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne, to her fate.
What was it with the Kennedys and women? Ah well. As with the drive to succeed, and the competitive nature, it came back to old Joe. Kennedy senior treated his wife dreadfully – his extra marital meanderings took in former silent screen legend Gloria Swanson – and his sons took their cue from that. JFK was known as “Jack the Zipper”, and on the night of his inauguration had sex with three women, none of whom was his wife. He and Robert both had affairs with Marilyn Monroe – as if the rendition of “Happy Birthday Mr President” left anything to chance.
Ted merely followed the established pattern: on one occasion in later life, he was observed boating with a younger, brunette woman, and having a maximum amount of fun doing it. A fellow member of Congress noted that the Senior Senator from Massachusetts had changed his position on offshore drilling.