Saturday, May 06, 2006

On Kennedy

We Providence College Democrats are proud of those who have blazed a trail before us. People like Chris Dodd, Charlie Fogarty and, of course, Patrick Kennedy.

While I was a Rhode Island Democratic activist, I was able to meet Congressman Kennedy on several occasions. He is a genuinely good person. He could have easily been the Democratic nominee to challenge Lincoln Chafee. And he would have won that race easily. But, he declined to seek this seat in large part because of his mother's recent mental health issues. Furthermore, I have never seen any member of Congress whose constituent services are as excellent as Patrick's.

Technically, I am represented in Congress by someone who likes to broadcast his constituent services, and who is a very self-serving man. Patrick is the opposite, and until the 5th District can elect a real Congressman, I will consider myself a constituent of Congressman Kennedy, even though I no longer reside in Rhode Island's 1st.

It worries me that the media (and the GOP) is going to spin the Kennedy incident into much more than it is. Congressman Kennedy is a good man who has issues. He has controlled them with relative success most of his life, but he, obviously, has had more trouble recently. I know he is a good man and I believe his efforts at rehab are sincere.

It would be tragic if this were to detract from the real problems going on in Washington. Congressman Kennedy's own seat is not in danger, but if his story attracts media attention to the exclusion of the innumerable Republican scandals, it will be to this country's detriment.

We have innumerable GOP officials who are involved in scandals. By and large, these are not people who are struggling with personal problems. These are people who are motivated by power and greed. The press would be responsible to investigate the problems that could damage America: NSA wiretapping, the Abramoff scandals, the MZM scandals, the Plame affair, etc.

I have no doubt that the media will overplay the Kennedy story to the exclusion of what's important, and that is one of the major problems with today's political climate.

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