Patrick Kennedy drove his Ford Mustang into a White House barricade, creating a big media stir which lasted about a week. The strangest part of the story was that he was given a ride home and tucked into bed. A commoner would have been given a breath test and taken to a darkened basement at an undisclosed location for questioning by Homeland Security.
Kennedy’s claim when he staggered out of the car was that he was rushing to a vote in the House of Representatives. At 2:45 in the morning. While most people think this is a humorous example of drunken disorientation, the truth is it is an indication that despite his drunkenness, he had the presence of mind to whip out his congressional”get out of jail free” card. Since congressmen”shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same,” I would suggest that the “on my way to a vote” immunity is second only to franking in the category of often abused congressional privileges. I’m certain that the same line has been repeated for decades by drunk-driving congressmen coast to coast.
I wonder why people think that a family that has such a long record of crashing cars, crashing planes, and skiing into trees, is full of natural-born leaders. Perhaps that’s why Kennedys tend towards a philosophy of government that takes personal decisions away from the individual.