|Vicki Kennedy pictured with Sen. Ted Kennedy
The news of a Kennedy family feud involving Vicki Kennedy, widow of Ted, and her two stepsons Patrick and Ted Junior, is hardly surprising.
It seems the family is fighting over Ted’s legacy institute and how the funding is organized as well as access to the Hyannisport house where Ted lived the last few years.
Seems the Kennedy lads wanted to use Ted’s mansion for their own ends but Vicki wants it as a permanent institute and memorial to her husband as he had specified in his will.
Some of the Kennedy clan allegedly wanted performer Taylor Swift to stay there on the recent July 4th holiday but Vicki would have none of it.
The Boston Globe revealed the feud after the brothers informed a family friend who clearly leaked it to the Boston paper. It was a pre-emptive strike against Vicki. “Brat Boys Attack” is how the Boston Herald headlined it.
My heart is with Vicki on this one. I have met her on several occasions, canvassed for a full day with her and her husband during his tough race against Mitt Romney back in 1994, and have observed her up close on many occasions since.
She strikes me as a wonderful woman, who prolonged Ted’s life and happiness and took him away from the often-sordid life he led after his first marriage breakdown.
They always seemed a special couple when I met them and she looked out for and watched over him on every occasion. You could see the love was reciprocated by him, as he clung to her like his anchor.
As for Ted’s sons, I’m afraid I have less kind things to say. Patrick was one of the most obnoxious politicians I have met, and I have met a few, full of his own importance and utterly unable to flash any of that famous Kennedy charm.
He had his problems with alcohol and bi-polar condition so it is probably not fair to go too hard on him. But like many Kennedys of that second generation, the sense of entitlement was palpable.
I remember flying to Ireland on the Clinton presidential plane on his famous visit there in 1995 and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Bobby’s daughter, insisting on two seats for herself because she felt so important. That’s the kind of entitlement I’m talking about.
Joe Kennedy junior came into my office one time for a briefing from me on Northern Ireland. By the time he stopped briefing me the session was over.
And so it goes. In fairness, I have never met Ted Junior and he gave a beautiful eulogy for his father, but I have no doubt that entitlement runs deep there too.
Vicki, on the other hand, exudes a genuine warmth and interest in people. In this particular Kennedy feud I think she is probably the aggrieved party.
Kennedy watcher Joe Battenfeld wrote in the Boston Herald: "Vicki Kennedy is right to resist demands by the family to use the house. Ted Kennedy put in his will that he wanted his historic, rambling home to become a place of learning for the public, especially young people. I'm pretty sure he didn't mean Taylor Swift."’
Amen to that.