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Two Hurricanes & A Funeral

by Geraldo Rivera | May 01, 2009

Like the coming of the president to the Cape and islands and the approaching hurricanes, the death of Senator Ted Kennedy was also widely forecast. Nevertheless the passing of the last son of Camelot had a deep impression on most Americans. Drafted off my boat by Bill O'Reilly for a last minute live-shot on the senator's life and times, I remembered on air how in 1973 a young Teddy was a young Geraldo's first interview on my first national show, "Good Night America." O'Reilly ran a clip of the old interview as I noted how our conversation then, 36-years ago, and my last conversation with the Old Lion in 2008 had been about the same thing, the need for compassion and justice for migrant workers.

As with many encounters in between, the lesson from spending that time with Ted Kennedy was remembering the need for the powerful to fight for the rights of those less fortunate. He did it more eloquently and effectively than anyone left standing, including our gracious, young president Barack Obama. As part of the lavish Kennedy eulogizing the various networks played tapes of Ted thundering on the floor of the U.S. Senate about the need to raise the federal minimum wage, and how wicked if was for the hard right to oppose the move, given how most businesses at the time were awash in profit margins he felt obscene. Who could unleash that thunder from the left now, surely not Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid? She seems like a stern parochial school principal, while the Majority Leader could easily pass for a dentist.

After the O'Reilly hit we sailed Voyager the three hours through Wood's Hole and up to the old whaling town of New Bedford, still the nation's number one fishing port in value of catch. The old harbor is not nearly as pretty as say Marion or Vineyard Haven, but it has the crucial advantage of being protected by a huge wall that closes in the event of hurricanes. And even though Danny was being downgraded to a tropical storm when we got there, the forecasters were still suggesting 50-60 knot winds. They never came. Like Bill, Danny was a dud, but preparing for him was one of those fire drills that raise the blood pressure and bring sweat to the palms.

The president wrapped up his weeklong vacation on Martha's Vineyard Sunday, August 30 and if he went there to relax, he should get his money back; because while he did manage a few golf games and a trip to the general store, it seemed anything but relaxing; the family's stay interrupted by the hurricane near-misses, the re-appointment of Fed chairman Ben Bernanke, and most dramatically, the Senate Lion's death and funeral.

Now, the president's back in the White House and facing the prospect of an increasingly acrimonious health care debate, without Kennedy around to forge a compromise; not to mention another bitter partisan fight over a possible probe of the CIA, which I continue to think is an awful idea.

My focus for the upcoming couple of weeks will be getting the word out on the new book, "The Great Progression, How Hispanics Will Lead America to a New Era of Prosperity," but I wonder whether a book that is optimistic and hopeful about America's changing face will sell, (as opposed to say a book titled, "Obama is Foreign, How the Kenyan Candidate Was Born to Raise Hell in the White House!" by Michelle Malkin, Lou Dobbs, Glenn Beck and Patrick Buchanan). 

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