May 06, 2006

Praying for a Cinderella Man

So let me see if I understand the defense here.

Patrick Kennedy, son of famed Oldsmobile yachtsman Ted, and grandson of Prohibition bootlegger Joe, used the alibi that it wasn't alcohol that caused him to crash his car at 2:45 AM Thursday morning, it was drugs.

That's a pathetic excuse, even by Kennedy family standards.

But it turns out that even that ignoble defense fell apart, as a D.C-area bar employee reports that she saw him drinking in the bar shortly before the crash, and the Capitol Police listed him as being under the influence of alcohol in their traffic report.

While some disingenuously try to play it off as just an accidental drug interaction issue—oh, he was just sleep-driving, explains away Talk Left—as if that is a normal, everyday occurrence like sneezing—the very real fact is that Kennedy was a threat to others when he is behind the wheel. This was his second suspicious wreck in just two weeks. Kennedy's penmanship in the earlier accident report was so discombobulated that it is very hard to believe that he wasn't under the influence then, as well.

Patrick Kennedy now states will be entering a rehabilitation program at the Mayo Clinic for an addiction to prescription drugs. He states that he has "no recollection" of the events of Late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning, and yet, he provided a full explanation of the wreck and a denial that he was drinking, despite eyewitness testimony to the contrary, and then provides a description of the police's treatment of him.

Now I see via Michelle Malkin that some posters at the Daily Kos want him gone, tossed out of Congress—though not because they care about Kennedy :

Here's the problem folks: most Americans who aren't partisans truly believe the democrats and The Republicans are "all the same" and that the power-elite takes care of its own.

Democrats can talk about Abramoff and Cunningham and the Republicans' toothless ethics bill, but so long as the People see us as just the "other side of the coin", they have little reason to go to the polls to vote for Dems.

Now we've got Congressman William Jefferson who despite allegations of bribery won't resign, and Patrick Kennedy who announces he's "going to vote" and so dodges a Breathalyzer test, and now will go into rehab rather than resign.

This gives all the justification in the world to independents who will say that the Dems are "just as bad" and that "all of them are corrupt."

It isn't Kennedy they care about, but how he might affect upcoming elections. Nice.

My personal feeling on the subject (speaking as someone who drank like Hemingway while in college) was that Kennedy should keep his job while he gets some help... idle hands being the devil's playthings and all that. My thought that was that once he got out of Mayo, he could immerse himself in his work, which could keep him too busy to get bogged down thinking about his addictions.

At least, that is what my position was.

Dan Riehl, recovering himself, had different thoughts on Kennedy's best way back to sobriety, and he's none to happy with the way things are progressing thus far:

Unfortunately, it looks as though the same enablers, including the media, will likely prop him up once again, perhaps long enough to at least survive until some day when he really falls down. Let's hope he doesn't kill someone else in the process. I came too close to doing that myself while behind the wheel of a car more times than I'd care to share. Certainly, anyone who can take advantage of a good hospital, especially with Kennedy's additional mental illness, should do so. But the notion that he will be anything like fit to perform in government for at least a couple of years is simply a myth.


If Rep. Patrick Kennedy gave a damn about addiction recovery as a whole and knew anything about how to bring it about, he'd quit the House, admit what an abject failure he's been, then get some genuine humility and real help and not look back.

That he likely won't do so tells you how ready to simply go on lying and using he is, as opposed to taking a break so he can come back re-invigorated and continue the good fight as regards addiction recovery, or anything else. Hell, Oprah will probably have the still sick man on as cured within 3-6 months. What a pathetic joke and complete insult to addiction recovery that will be.

When looking at it from Dan's perspective (and I do encourage you to read the whole thing), I can see his point as well. It isn't "just an addiction"—as if that wasn't bad enough—but a serious mental illness (bi-polar disorder) and a family history of addiction that are compounding the issue.

I think Dan is right. Patrick Kennedy should make facing down his demons his full-time job for now. He can always return to Congress once he's clean and sober. Americans love an underdog fighting back from adversity, and he'd certainly be a far better Congressman with a clearer head. Let's pray he can get there.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at May 6, 2006 09:17 AM | TrackBack

I am a big fan of the "sleep driving" scenario. If it works for him, I'm going to do some harmless "sleep bank robbing" tonight, 'cause I'm broke :(

Posted by: Kevin at May 6, 2006 02:24 PM

You gotta remember that he was driving without lights...guess he did not want to wake himself up.

Bottom line is that he needs help. Good that he is going after it. We should not be making a saint of him for doing so. And there should be no double standard that applies here. The man was DUI - the law is not just for alcohol and illegal drugs - Kennedy was impaired enough that he almost hit a police car and then crashed into a barrier.

Posted by: Specter at May 6, 2006 08:17 PM

The royal family never admits mistakes.

Posted by: Ken Hahn at May 6, 2006 09:16 PM

It almost seems that being a Kennedy should in and of itself be a criminal act. Is there any intergrity left in that family or are they all just glorified mobsters?

Posted by: Shoprat at May 6, 2006 09:54 PM

So, the good Representative was sleep-driving on his way to vote on a bill, even though he was hours late? I have enough trouble influencing my elected officials as it is, now I have to know what drugs they are under the influence of, and when they take them!

Posted by: Tom TB at May 7, 2006 03:15 AM

"Prescription addiction" .. sorry, I ain't buying. It sounds better to the buying throngs. Rehab .. sorry, I ain't buying. It's just a "get out of jail" free card.

Joan Kennedy, mother, a drunk.

Ted Kennedy, father, a drunk.

Step ONE: ADMIT you have a PROBLEM.

Step TWO: VOTERS IN RI, get real!

Posted by: Maggie at May 7, 2006 02:45 PM

We'll never know. The speculation will never end. Politicians, atheletes, and celebrities get different treatment than the rest of us...

Posted by: muckdog at May 7, 2006 05:51 PM