Ted Kennedy’s Top Drunk Moments
August 26, 2009 | Celebrities,Drunk Stories
Edward Moore Kennedy’s place in the hierarchy of great Kennedy men might have been foreshadowed at his birth when his father chose to name him after the family chauffeur, and he most likely would not have risen as fast in politics or remained out of incarceration for as long had he not been to the oyster house born. That said, what he lacked in the ability to shape history and inspire generations, he more than made up for in shameless debauchery. And as the authors of the definitive book on the subject, we can appreciate that.
While the standard tributes roll in, and Kennedy’s years in the US Senate are celebrated as something other than the constant reminder of failed promise they must have been for a guy everybody thought would be president, we thought we would pay tribute to a side of Kennedy that kept late-night comedians in material for decades: the shameless, drunkard side that entertained and horrified people from around the world. One of the great debauched sons of privilege has died and while we could not hope to cover even a fraction of the man’s legendary exploits, we figured we would at least offer you a highlight reel of some of those not kicked under the carpet or to which the local constabulary did not turn a blind eye.
Here then are Ted Kennedy’s Top Drunk Moments!
1951-1959 — Cadillac Eddie No Ablo Espanol: Ted Kennedy got into Harvard on the family name, but was kicked out in his sophomore year for paying another student to take a Spanish test for him.We would like to imagine he was drunk when he decided to risk tarnishing the family name for the sake of passing what was in all likelihood a bird course, but his law school days at the University of Virginia certainly involved a few bent elbows. It was there that Kennedy was dubbed Cadillac Eddie for his propensity to drive — presumably not in a Ford Pinto — around town at reckless speeds, without his lights on, and treating every red light he saw like a bull would a matador cape. Basically he was a pretty fun guy to hang around in college, but that same propensity to lead foot it with a snootful would ruin him in the end.
April 1969 — The “Eskimo Power” Incident: All great legends begin somewhere, and Teddy Kennedy’s legend as one of the great drunkards in politics was truly born on a return flight following a congressional trip to visit poor natives in Alaska. Kennedy must have taken the wheels off the drinks trolley because it apparently didn’t go far past him on that fateful flight. He got bladdered drunk, hit reporters and his aides with pillows and, inspired no doubt by the plight of the people he had just visited, expressed his solidarity with a chant of “Eskimo power!” as he ran up and down the aisles. It should be said that he did just lose his brother to an assassination the year previous, so this could be seen as a response to grief… had this drunken timeline stopped here.
July 1969 — Well so much for a Kennedy in the White House: Likely the only item here that will be mentioned in most obits on the man, the Chappaquiddick incident ruined any hope that he would be able to inherit JFK’s presidency the same way he did his Senate seat and his penchant for strange bed partners. Details are disputed but basically gentlemen Ted offered to drive a former staffer of his brother Robert’s home following a “no-wives” party. He took her on a drunken (he denied being in said state, but when was the last time you were sober at a no-wives party?) joyride and drove off a bridge. Abandoning the “women and children” first code of conduct, he got the hell out of the sinking car without a backwards glance. Leaving her in the car, he went back to his hotel to sleep — stress, and booze, bad mix, need nap — passing several houses and not telling a soul what happened, while the woman in the car, who could have been saved had he alerted authorities, drowned. What should have meant jail time thankfully for Kennedy occurred on family turf and amid the sort of look the other way while my boss’s cousin commits a felony sort of policing usually reserved for the American South in films. Kennedy harbored hopes of becoming president for years after that, but his chances of being elected after such a grim episode were slim. On the bright side, he wasn’t dead and could go on with his life without having learned a single lesson from the incident.
1985 — The Two Amigos: Teddy liked to party with Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut and in 1985 the pair were involved in a couple of headline-grabbing drunken moments. The Washingtonian magazine reported how in a moment of drunken reverie, Kennedy spotted Dodd’s photo on the wall, asked “Who’s this guy?” pulled it off, and smashed it on the floor. Dodd returned the gesture for Kennedy. This “Mexican Hat Dance” became the talk of the town.
December 1985 — A Waitress Sandwich With Mouldy Bread: Kennedy was dining and boozing in a private room at Capitol Hill’s Brasserie restaurant once again with Dodd, so the story goes (we’re obliged to present this all under the banner of “alleged” as Dodd is, to the best of our knowledge, still alive enough to call a lawyer), when a waitress entered the room and — according to witnesses she told immediately after the incident — was first thrown on the table by Kennedy, then picked up by the husky scion to the Kennedy throne and tossed into Dodd’s waiting lap. Kennedy is then alleged to have jumped on the woman and given her the old subway hump. The incident broke up and the waitress ran off when another server happened upon the scene. Displaying that New England wit, Kennedy is said to have quipped: “Makes you wonder about the leaders of this country!”
September 1987 — The Senator Has the Floor: Apparently play-mounting the wait staff was not considered a ban-able offence at Brasserie, as Kennedy had no problem booking a private room for himself and a woman, said to be a lobbyist (likely not there on the abstinence first league’s behalf), where the two downed a couple of bottles of Chardonnay and got frisky. It seemed the good senator was unable to differentiate between a restaurant and an outbuilding at a Kennedy compound because as the unlucky waitress who happened upon the couple told a friend Kennedy’s pants were in ankle position, the woman “had her dress up” and the two “were screwing on the floor”.
January 1989 — NYC Bar Fracas: The good senator wins some points with this one. Kennedy showed up at a Manhattan bar called American Trash (not to be confused with Brooklyn’s excellent The Trash Bar). Striking up a conversation with any stranger at that point in the evening is unwise, particularly if you have a name recognizable enough to ridicule. Ted threw his drink in the face of an off-duty bouncer, who may or may not have done something to deserve it. His press secretary said it was because the bouncer insulted the Kennedy brothers. But regardless, bouncers are always guilty until proven innocent.
“I went through a lot of difficult times over a period in my life where [drinking] may have been somewhat of a factor or force.” Senator Edward Kennedy. RIP, and MYLRIP (May Your Liver Rest In Peace)