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Sweet Column: Cousin Chris Kennedy, ``'The Kennedys have very strong genes, some good, some bad.''

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'The Kennedys have very strong genes, some good, some bad," Christopher Kennedy, a first cousin of Rep. Patrick Kennedy, told me Friday.

Patrick Kennedy, a Democratic House member from Rhode Island and a member of America's most storied family, was supposed to be in Chicago on Friday, not flying to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota to check himself in to rehab.

Kennedy had been planning to spend the day in Chicago raising money for his campaign fund -- taking in about $25,000 from two events -- a lunch with trial lawyers at the Mid-Day Club and a larger event Friday night for about 50 people who were to attend a reception and then a performance of "Spamalot" at the Cadillac Palace Theatre in the Loop.

But his recurring addiction problem roared to life again, and Kennedy seems lucky to be alive and not to have injured anyone while driving in a dazed and confused condition.

The accident occurred while he was on Ambien, prescribed April 25 for insomnia, and Phenergan, prescribed May 2 for gastroenteritis -- a bad upset stomach.

The 38-year-old lawmaker, the son of Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), crashed his Ford Mustang into a vehicle barrier near the Capitol early Thursday, at 2:47 a.m., after bobbing around a police car. Kennedy told the responding officers he was en route to the Capitol to cast a vote. He told reporters Friday in Washington he did not remember a thing about the incident.

Kennedy's history of substance abuse has been well-known, as have the battles of his mother, Joan, with alcohol.

'I struggle every day'

But it certainly was not general knowledge that he was in rehab again just a few months ago and that he sent himself to the Mayo Clinic over the Christmas and New Year's holidays, while the House was in recess.

He admitted to recurring slides into addiction and depression when he spoke to reporters in the House Radio and Television Studio before leaving for Minnesota.

"Over my 15 years in public life, I felt a responsibility to speak honestly and openly about the challenges that I have with addiction and depression. I've been fighting this chronic disease since I was a young man and have aggressively and periodically sought treatment so that I can live a full and productive life.

"I struggle every day with this disease, as do millions of Americans," the lawmaker said.

Christopher Kennedy is the president of the Merchandise Mart and the son of the late Sen. Robert Kennedy. Friday, he said he would stand in for his cousin at the theater fund-raiser. We talked in the afternoon about his cousin. Although they keep in touch pretty regularly, he did not know of his cousin's visit to Mayo over the holidays.

"I think it is a lifetime struggle," Christopher Kennedy said, true for his cousin as well as everyone who wrestles with addiction.

Patrick Kennedy is "struggling" with a "genetic" disorder that "as a family we will overcome." He said "there is plenty of evidence to show that addiction has a genetic base to it."

I've interviewed Patrick Kennedy on many occasions. He is affable, smart and self-effacing.

Concluded his cousin Christopher Kennedy: "There is a genetic element to all this. But his good genes are stronger than his bad genes, and he will rebound."

Lynn Sweet is the Washington bureau chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

4 Comments

What a surprise to see the Sun-Times house GOP shill, Ms. Sweet, fixating on the sad, entirely personal problems of Patrick Kennedy, while entirely ignoring the massive influence-peddling scheme (and possible prostitution ring) that has already sent one GOP congressman, Duke Cunningham to jail and just ensnared the director of the CIA, Porter Goss, with rumors that there are as many as a dozen other (almost certainly GOP) congressmen on the Defense and Intelligence Committees involved (leaving them open to blackmail and the associated breaches of national security, of course).

The difference, of course, is that one scandal involves a Democrat--with zero effect on public policy whatsoever--while the other involves Republicans once again selling off the public good to the highest bidder.

Time for another pearl-clutching tizzy about Stephen Colbert, Ms. Sweet, to distract us from the real harm the Republican Party is inflicting on the nation!!!

"The Kennedys have some very strong genes, some good, some bad," says cousin Chris Kennedy to Lyn Sweet as quoted above. Well, welll, well, ...... this reminds me of the old Sholom Aleichem story of the orphan who shot his father dead and then threw himself at the mercy of the court, claiming that the psychological damage of being an orphan was grounds for excusing his acts.
While it is true that old man Joseph P. Kennedy was a supporter of the genetic determination of human identity, a theory otherwise known as eugenics and associated with some such as Adolf Hitler and his Nazi movement and the US and British based supporters of that Nazi movement, which demonstrably include Averill Harriman, Prescott Bush (grand-daddy of the present President)and the Dulles clan among others, that is NO EXCUSE whatsoever in reality for Chris Kennedy to claim "genetics" as an excuse for such dangerous to himself and to the nation behavior by Patrick Kennedy.
Some times such a life threatening experience can cause an individual such as Patrick Kennedy to reflect on the mortality of his life--- none of us will live forever....... we have a certain finite existence and have the freedom to make an immortal contribution to all of civilization by thinking and acting in ways that make the world better for generations that come after we are all dead and gone. Perhaps this "experience" will cause Congressman Kennedy to do some serious soul searching and reflect on how he can reflect on this near total tragedy to re-dedicate his life to a higher purpose than he previously had conceived of it. One can only hope for the best for the future , no matter what mistakes, and how big those mistakes were in the past.
Having said that, I must also say I agree with the sentiment expressed above by "Chicago Jason" that Lyn Sweet is either consciously or unconsciously "covering up" the central dynamic that any good Washington DC reporter would not miss... the old Hans Christian Anderson Story about the little boy and the Emperor. Stephen Colbert, acting as the little boy in the Anderson story, while all the advisors and citizens and everyone else is "admiring" the Emmperor's New Clothes... it is only the little boy who has not been trained in propitiating "powerful" people who tells the truth--- the "Emperor" is running around stark naked!!! It is only after the little boy tells the truth, that everyone else admits what was right in front of them at all times... but that which they refused to see!!!!
So, while Patrick Kennedy's serious situation merits attention, the coming indictment of Karl Rove in the Plame case, the "resignation" of Porter Goss," the collapse of the real estate bubble, the hyperinflation of metals, commodities, oil, etc... all bespeak of an administration which is heading into the scrap heap of history...... Now there is a story and a half!!!
And if Karl Rove is indicted....... can Dick Cheney be far behind? Does Lynn Sweet know if Dick Cheney has anything to fear in the Patrick FitzGerald investigation of the Valerie Plame case? ... especially since his Chief of Staff and bosom buddy, Scooter Libby is going on trial and since Karl Rove may have turned over documents to Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald that Cheney "neglected" to turn over when he had do a legal responsibility to do so?
So, Lynn, I think if you honestly took the time to look into matters such as this and gave some in depth coverage to these matters, your readers would have less reason to suspect that you are some kind of neo-con mole. As they say, maybe only your hairdresser knows for sure, but YOU can surely let us know, by what you do with your arms and legs and your writing skills.
Gerald Pechenuk cities12345@yahoo.com

It is so easy for those of us who have never committed a crime or been caught in sin to sit in judgement of our brothers and sisters who have had either situation occur in their lives. Whether a Kennedy, or a no-name like myself, but by the grace of God, there go I. We can dwell on negative things or rumors or whatever we choose. Or, we can, like Christopher Kennedy, choose relationships--love--support. He never excused Patrick's actions. He simply said what any loving relative would which is basically "yes, he did something wrong...but I still love and support him." What father or brother or mother or sister would do less? Choose love and not hatred. Stop focusing on everything that is wrong--reach out and tell the person next to you, whose life is wrecked by tragedy, that in the end, it is their love for their fellow man and their God that will be measured...not their sin...that's forgiven through grace for those of us who believe in Christ. Thank you Christopher, for reminding us of Christ's love through your support of Patrick and not succombing to rejection and disassociation. ..."let he who is without sin cast the first stone."

I would like to hear more about BHO's addiction problems, but no takers in the MSM. Ms Sweet, how about you? After all, he's got the whole world in his hands, doesn't he? If it's good for the Kennedys, surely the Obamas want the same type of coverage. They are trying to emulate Camelot, no?

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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