>Today on the Dennis Miller radio show, hosted by Tucker Carlson, the question came up about the recently deceased Senator Robert Bird (92). Should we be able to criticize his past, or is that covered in the unwritten civility rules?
Tucker decided to criticize him on grounds that 1. he had criticized him heavily during his life for being a deep racist, a member of the Klu Klux Clan, KKK. Indeed he was, and he was one of the biggest racists this country has ever known.Throughout his long political career the liberal press has always given him a pass because he’s a progressive. There is an unwritten rule about criticizing liberals in the liberal press. Baloney – it shouldn’t be that way!
I believe it is right and proper to discuss both sides of a person’s past, living or dead, if they are public officials. There is no law against it, but in the past some liver-lillied Republicans refused to say anything about such people as Ted Kennedy who as you recall was responsible for the drowning death of Mary Jo Kapecnick, a girl he was driving home from Nantucket Sound and a party at his Kennedy Family compound.
If you recall, Kennedy was married at this time to his first wife.
That was a case of Kennedy being drunk, or partially so. He caused his car to go into the water and refused to try to rescue the girl. He didn’t even call 911 for emergency help because he didn’t want to get thrown into the slammer for drunk driving. Hey, what about murder charges? He was, in essence, responsible for the murder of that girl. He could have gotten 20 years for aggravated manslaughter. I think Massachusetts has a law that if you kill someone while intoxicated, you go down for a murder charge – maybe not murder one or even murder two, but manslaughter. Wouldn’t that have changed everything had he been charged as he should have been and been made to pay for that life he took like normal folks have to pay for their crimes. But being a Kennedy, the County Sheriff let him off, didn’t charge him.
I think people like Orin Hatch, (R-Utah) who was very friendly to Kennedy are partly responsibile for this kind of thing. Why would a non-drinker countenance Kennedy’s behavior by being buddy-buddy with him, co-sponsor liberal laws with him, and generally make himself look like a liberal ass for the rest of his political career, hanging onto him in a personal relationship that didn’t warrant it in my view.
I believe that Orin Hatch is a very good and humble man. Not too smart, but apparently so far the Utah voters don’t seem to care about that. They all look at him as a conservative. In a way he is. However, he countenanced, did not criticize until late in the game, the TARP money and Obama’s stimulus to banks. I believe that kind of stimulus was over the top and shouldn’t have been allowed. Being as experienced as he was, Hatch should have seen it coming and at the get-go been on top of this issue and criticized it.
In summary, I side with Tucker Carlson. Go ahead and criticize public figures after death. We need more decency in public office and less looking the other way, even after death. Bird’s and Kennedy’s behavior during their lives have been largely overlooked and forgiven. But should it be forgiven?