American politics, eh?

It seems fitting that this particularly gruesome year in the annals of American plutocracy, which has seen a pouty billionaire insult comic rise to the summit of a major-party presidential primary field, should end with an entitled, life-destroying teenager’s dissolute, south-of-the-border joyride.

Yes, Ethan Couch, the drunken, manslaughtering lout known to headline writers across the land as the “affluenza teen”, spent the waning days of 2015 on the lam from Texas law enforcement after incautiously advertising a possible violation of the terms of his 2013 probation in view of a smartphone camera.

Can’t say that I’m all that much in favour of this dork but let’s go to the political bit of this piece:

Again, consider Potus 41. George W Bush was another Texas-raised hellion who had every gilded path before him lovingly smoothed by his fabulously well-to-do family. It’s true that he never killed anyone with a car. But once he completed his lackluster tours at Andover and Yale, he careened carelessly from one family-arranged sinecure to another, sinking deeper into general dissolution and alcoholic depression.

Yep, gotta be the Republicans, right? Because we do get the Kennedy reference:

And Bush was, of course, but one in a long American train of dubiously accomplished scions of privilege kept at fastidious arm’s length from the consequences of his own actions. The Kennedy clan is a sturdy, time-tested manufactory of scandal swept under any number of well-appointed rugs, from the grim and boozy exploits of Edward Kennedy to the notorious drug-and-sex indulgences of JFK. (The Kennedys, like many high-rolling American clans, left an especially grim roster of bruised, broken and dead women in their wake – a legacy that, as Maureen Callahan rightly notes, gets briskly swept under the stirring woe-is-them rubric of the “Kennedy curse”.)

Except we don’t get the obvious point that Teddy really did drunkenly kill someone with a car.

That just wouldn’t quite fit the narrative, would it?

16 thoughts on “American politics, eh?”

  1. And don’t forget that IRA-supporting Kennedy Senior had his daughter labotomised and sent to a nursing home to avoid her becoming an embarassment to his political career.

  2. So Much For Subtlety

    Actually Mary-Jo Kopechne seems to have survived the accident and died some time after. She had an air pocket. Asphyxiation rather than drowning I believe.

    That the good people of Massachusetts kept voting for him is an indictment on the people and moral leaders thereof.

  3. George W was potus 43, not 41 🙂

    Potus 44 attended a very exclusive private school too, funnily enough. One day he may see fit to release his university theses too, so we can doubtless marvel at his brilliance. I doubt it though!

  4. Did someone else kill someone with a car this year and go on to be fêted by the liberal establishment? It’s so hard to keep track.

  5. I always cross the street whenever I see wealthy, middle class White people coming towards me. Ok, I’m a bigot – prove me wrong!

  6. Ms. Clinton is a money grubbing lawyer worth about two billion. She and Bill converted his tenure as President into a vast fortune, some of it feloniously. We non plutocratic Americans know we would be in prison if we did what Hillary did. Eschewing Trump over his wealth is simply partisan.

    We also find the “insult comic” refreshing as the perfect antidote to perverse political correctness. An insult comic is just what we need.

    I prefer Mr. Cruz over Mr. Trump, but I’m quite okay with Mr. Trump. He is infinitely better than the Official Teleprompter Reader.

  7. What I find hard to bear is the American use of “careen” for “career”. I hate to see a silly spelling mistake, combined with sheer ignorance, enter and undermine the noble American tongue.

  8. I suppose we should allow that W learned to fly an aeroplane better than JFK learned to steer a boat.

    And as for poor Mary Jo, I assume she was murdered: the asphyxiation yarn was (I assume again) a case of the Kennedys settling for something less damaging to Teddy while being damaging enough to explain his flight.

  9. Bloke in Costa Rica

    dearieme: hear, hear. Unless the author means to intimate that Bush was periodically laid on his side so he could have his barnacles scraped off, it’s career and not careen.

    As for Teddy: I always said they shot the wrong Kennedy brother. Twice.

  10. Dearieme,

    Not just “an aeroplane” – the F-102 he qualified in was, like many Century-series fighters and indeed most jets of its era, a bit of a bastard to fly without it killing you. About one in three of them crashed for various reasons; the accident rate was three or four times that of even 1970s aircraft.

    Bush Jr. has many faults and failings, but you don’t qualify on a 1950s tailless delta of somewhat hostile handling qualities and avoid crashing it, without a decent amount of wit and cunning.

  11. So Much For Subtlety

    dearieme – “I suppose we should allow that W learned to fly an aeroplane better than JFK learned to steer a boat.”

    Better than JFK Jnr learned to fly as well.

    “And as for poor Mary Jo, I assume she was murdered: the asphyxiation yarn was (I assume again) a case of the Kennedys settling for something less damaging to Teddy while being damaging enough to explain his flight.”

    How is that less damaging? If he had stopped at the first house he came to, she could have been saved. Or at the second. Or at the third. In fact if he had done anything other than gone home, called his lawyer and waited for legal advice, she could have been saved. She survived the crash. He left her to die.

  12. So Much For Subtlety

    dearieme – “Because he murdered her and you are naively accepting the cover up.”

    It is plausible that he attempted to rape her and he got rough. Faking the accident to cover it up. But I still think that would be an improvement on leaving an innocent girl to die slowly in a submerged car.

  13. Yes, but murdering her wouldn’t be. Given the Kennedy power to corrupt everything in Massachusetts by use of money and threats, you have to assume that whatever he actually did was worse than leaving the girl to drown/asphyxiate. So murder it was, most likely.

  14. @ dearieme
    Teddy Kennedy crashed his car and ran away leaving the girl to drown slowly. How much worse can you get? [In this world, not Lovecraft or “Game of Thrones”]. Edgar Alan Poe reckoned burying someone alive was worse than simply killing them.
    Unusually, I agree with SMFS.

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