‘Ted Kennedy’s seat’? Scott Brown v. Kennedy II

So I was kind of surprised to get an urgent request from this morning asking if I could rush down to Massachusetts to help defend “Ted Kennedy’s seat” against the “right-wing reactionary” Scott Brown.

“Ted Kennedy’s seat”?

In the legal papers that outlined the role of the old queens of England, she was always referred to as “the Body of the Queen.” The physical person in the role of the queen had no relevance whatsoever. Her role was prescribed by law and lore. But there was and is an archetypal quality to this as well. The body of the Queen is irrelevant. The real Queen is a spirit force. The real Queen transcends time. And all the “bodies of the queens” through the ages are really One Queen, the Spirit Queen, the real queen, and the person playing the role is just a marker. The real queen is Goddess. The real queen is Earth Mother. Long live the Queen.

That is the unfortunate position Martha Coakley finds herself in today. She is running in the special election to fill the Senate seat that opened up when Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) passed on. But she is only a marker. Massachusetts today is being asked to vote for “the body of Martha Coakley.” She will not be allowed to be an individual of any imagination or skill. Her role is prescribed: It is to stop time, to make all time one moment, that celestial moment when the actual Ted Kennedy was in his Senate seat. She is expected to be, she must be, and if she is elected she will be Kennedy II. But it will be a dour life, as she can never be the real Ted Kennedy, which will engender bitter disappointment. Possibly the Kennedy family will deliver one of their puppies to her as they did to the Obamas, but beyond that there will be few delights.

This is a vital election because if Brown wins, the Democrats will lose their 60th vote in the Senate. When the race is recalled, it will be recalled for one of those singular moments like the one in the vice presidential debate between Lloyd Bentsen and Dan Quayle, when Sen. Bentsen said, “Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.” Nor was Uncle Teddy, incidentally.

This race will be recalled for an occurrence in a recent TV debate when moderator David Gergen asked Brown about sitting in “Ted Kennedy’s seat.”
“With all due respect,” he said, “ it is not Ted Kennedy’s seat, it is not the Democrats’ seat, it is the people of Massachusetts’ seat.”

Visit Mr. Quigley’s website at


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