Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Brain cancer has claimed Senator Edward M. Kennedy. TalkLeft is at a "loss for words," so every cloud has a silver lining.
Kennedy led a long, large, and mostly well-intentioned life (yeah, yeah, "Mary Jo Kopechne was unavailable for comment"), was loved by millions, resented or even despised by almost as many millions, and respected for his dedication to the craft of legislating. His famous work ethic came from a genuine desire to change the world; heaven knows, there are few Senators with safer seats, so you know he was not running scared, and he has all the money one could want, so you know he was not personally venal.
But Ted Kennedy did more to push American government and civil society toward a European social welfare model than any politician of the post-war era, with the possible exception of LBJ. By my reckoning, he left the country worse off than he found it, and to the moment of his death supported legislation that, if enacted, will make it a lot harder for the generation of my children to succeed, thrive, and reach for their own stars. So I will end on perhaps a churlish note: I wish Ted Kennedy had not led the life he did.
I think you may have struck the right note. I hope he didn't suffer at the end, and that his family can find peace. But his push to move America to the left in every facet of life was detrimental, and will be further if the leftist health reform he wanted passes. That he dedicated his life to public service is admirable. That he was wrong in so many ways in applying that service is not.
Ted Kennedy, and his 1973 Healthcare bill, got us to where we are today. For that alone he should be condemned.
I won't even mention his multiple immigration bills that have opened the very floodgates that we are now forced to endure.
I echo our hosts encomium.....I too wish he had not lived the life he did.
Absolutely in total agreement Tigerhawk - now we can listen to the slobbering over the Kennedy's now instead of Michael Jackson. This while true American patriots are in harms way defending us. My family will pay for generations to clean up this mess. I do feel for his family though - it is very tough to lose someone in this manner.
This is Teddy's legacy:
"The average health insurance ranges from a low of $1,254 in Wisconsin to a high of $8,537 in Massachusetts, and the national average is $2,613." New Jersey is #2 at $5,236. ... I got this from Carpe Diem, by way of Coyote Blog. It's a much broader range than I would have expected.
Obamacare is Teddy's vision. We've already had a version adopted in Massachusetts courtesy of Mitt. This is where Obama wants to take us -- the Massachusetts experience proves the lie that Obamacare will reduce costs.
A silver lining? The Democrats no longer have 60 votes in the senate. Also, nonagenarian Robert Byrd has been absent for health reasons for quite some time now. Massachusetts law calls for a special election in five months to fill Kennedy's seat. It's hard to see how the Democrats can stampede a healthcare bill through now, at least for awhile.
So you think America was a better country when minorities could be openly discriminated against (Civil Rights Act), Medicare did not exist, poor children could not go to preschool and generic drugs did not compete with brand drugs. This is the America you wish for. This is why you are powerless.
Anonymous 10:44: My goodness you've conveniently left out a lot of facts from yours soliliquy: Civil rights and other legislation you mentioned was passed WITH republican support and IN SPITE OF (southern) DEMOCRATS opposition.
And indeed we are NOT POWERLESS as you suggest, but have been given a new lease on the future thanks to the hapless soviet/Chicago style tyranny you seem to prefer. The Obama mantle is "skip socialism, go directly to communism......"
2010 will be a very bad year for you.
Have a Nice Day
The gastrointestinal distress brought to many of us by Senator Kennedy is, like it or not, part of us. It's hard to have a good conservative argument without a good liberal one.
I am hopeful that the Kennedy family will not stand for the Most Important Funeral in the World competition happening on their watch. After MJ, a smaller more dignified memorial could read as more real love and respect.
I am also not looking forward to eulogies of him turning into commercials for corrupted health care reform.
But for now, Senator Kennedy, farewell.
Anon at 11:35 - Of course Republicans joined with Teddy to get important legislation passed. That's a key part of what Kennedy did - reach out to reasonable people who sought progress.
Of course, that's back when there were Rebublicans who were reasonable and didn't consider Medicare and other public health programs to be communist, socialist, Chicago-style tyranny.
Anon 12:15: some government efforts, having praiseworthy goals, also endanger the republic. You've cited Medicare as an example of a praiseworthy government program, while I'd cite it as an endangerment to the republic.
First, the Federal government was formed as a limited government for a specific reason. Circumscribing the powers of the central government protects individual liberty. That assertion was recognized as fact in writing the Constitution, and the founders went so far as to warn the country in the most explicit terms possible that allowing the government to erode liberty, especially when it's professed aims were good, would become the biggest challenge to maintaining a free republic.
Second, the enumerated powers doctrine that founds the basis of our government is the actual protection mechanism, the means by which we as individual citizens can best preserve our freedom.
Third, allowing encroachment of freedoms, even small ones, encourages the central government to take evermore of your freedom. "Give a mouse a cookie and he'll want a glass of milk" goes the tile of one of my favorite childrens books, the message of which is easily discernible. Protect your prerogatives as citizens from theft
by the government.
Fourth, tyranny comes when the people are beholden to the government. Turning the supply of medical care, as an example, into a gift to be granted to the people from the government means just as easily that the gift can be withheld at whim.
All this adds up to agreement that good ends should be sought. We all can agree that the poor and elderly should have access to medical care, that there should be some way for families to provide for their needs without empoverishment. We can also agree that we like being free citizens in a free country. If you wish to preserve your freedoms while pursuing your goals for "reasonable solutions", Anon 12:15, then you will join those of us who object to these encroachments.
Yeah, you were churlish, and it shocks me. The civil society's dead, and it's with the complicity--or I guess outright participation, of people like you who presumable (1) were taught, (2) know -better.
When both HW and W Bush can make classy remarks while acknowledging political difference, even Nancy Reagan can call him an "ally," when people can refer to Kopechne as a benchmark and analysis point without being a dick...it boogles my mind that you would say such things. But the now radicalized right and other turds who loiter around this blog expect no less.
You ought to be ashamed of yourself.
Why the man was not excommunicated from the Church I do not know. What is furthering scandalous is that he will recieve a Catholic burial.
This man?, I fail to call him that, was a disgrace to his Faith and to his Country; a Judas goat. No, I don't wish him "RIP" but a "RIH" adage. May Peace be the last thing that guy ever sees.
Anon at 12:54 pm :You've cited Medicare as an example of a praiseworthy government program, while I'd cite it as an endangerment to the republic.
Tell that to your boys leading the Town Hall sessions, who are on the record (and video) supporting, Medicare, and promising attendees that Medicare is safe and they won't cut funding! Listening to them you'd think Medicare was the best thing since velcro. Reagan must be turning in his grave.
But ny favorite is the clueless, nay ignorant, folk standing up telling their comgresspeople: "Don't let the Government touch my Medicare." It'll sure be interesting watching a gaggle of rethugs walk that one back.
Civil rights and other legislation you mentioned was passed WITH republican support
Percentage wise, more republicans(~80%) voted for the civil right act than democrats(~76%).
This is an indisputable matter of congressional record.
Mr. Chambers: "The civil society's dead"--yes, and Mr. Kennedy had much to do with that. His infamous statement regarding Bork was the most dishonest, vile attack I've ever seen, and we live with its consequences today in a far less "civil" political system.
CC, you are a bitter, nasty unhappy soul who freely insults people who have done nothing to offend you except exist.
Anon 2:24. I haven't been to a Townhall meeting so my impressions come from reading, probably just like you, but the attendess seem to me to be citizens who object to a variety of aspects of the various proposals.
There are probably some at the meetings objecting to the proposed cuts in Medicare funding, but I probably wouldn't agree with their views. So I'm not sure what point you are making.
What does Reagan have to do with all this?
"Clueless, nay ignorant, folk" seem to include you. By the way, what's a "Rethug"? Is that a combination of "Republican" and "Thug"? If so, you must be suffering mightily from the fact that so far the only actual thugs who've shown up in the debate are the president's men.
CC ... Presidents are supposed to say nice things in these circumstances, but we unwashed don't have to. Of course I wish his family peace while they grieve their loss, but personally I could care not a whit about Ted Kennedy and am frankly looking forward to the day they're no longer a fixture in our politics. He rode his dead brother's coattails to power, and stood for much that I do not. BTW, you copping a self-righteous position on TH's post on this topic is simply laughable.
Purple Avenger ... according to the Wiki, it was 82% of Republicans vs. 68% Democrats in the Senate. Robert Byrd, the next guy I expect to pass on, vote against it, along with almost all the Southern Democrats (including Gore's daddy, WJC's mentor, etc.) To be fair, most of the Southern Republicans vote against it also.
It is more than fair to say that Civil Rights would've FAILED without the GOP's very strong vote in favor, in spite of a Dem super-majority.
As a general rule, we shouldn't say bad things about the dead -- but a dead politician's political legacy is always fair game. We can expect many -- Obama included -- to invoke Teddy's name as a rallying cry in coming weeks as they press for Healthcare.
Lest we forget, Teddy played a big role in how Obama edged out Hillary. Part of the payback was for Caroline to be made NY senator. That didn't work out, so I expect the Kennedy name will continue to fade from active politics.
I especially liked Anon 1:54's comments.
Anon, bitter, bitter bitter. It's too bad that the republicans of today in no way resemble the republicans of the 60's and 70's. At least they got things done instead of whining and complaining and not doing much else. Tell them to grow a pair and start standing up for we the citizens, instead of their demi gods. The religious right has done nothing but bad for all of us, including marginalizing any centrist like me. Life cannot be lived and the American people's agenda cannot move forward on the fringes of either side. Calling people names like communist and socialist did no good in the 50's with McCarthy and certainly does no one any good today, considering most people don't know a damn thing about socialism.
"I'm glad he's dead! Another Democrat bites the dust! One less socialist to add the mess we're all in! Good Riddance!"
That's just a lefty trolling, along the same lines as Alinsky's KKK suggestion and the lefty who attacked the Democrat offices in Denver.
"The civil society's dead, and it's with the complicity--or I guess outright participation, of people like you who presumable (1) were taught, (2) know -better...
You ought to be ashamed of yourself."
Just back from holidays to watch Chrissy Chambers whine away like the puerile,ahistoric race-baiter that he has so clearly remained.I'm absolutely fascinated to know that he claims a Princeton undergrad degree and ...presumes to be a man o'letters. Your shallow musing is on full display...what a pity the Frankfurt School re-located back to Germany-you could have been an affirmative action nobody( like your thin-veneered "The One" ) at Columbia Univ.instead. Then you would have been eligible for a "job" with "Rev."Sharpton.You sir, represent the failure of our higher schools- you are frankly,so poorly informed and so inebriated by your emotional ahistoricism ( and knee-jerk racism )that you might even deny that Indians( as in Cherokee/Mohawk,etc.)owned and worked slaves...eh? You speak for Ted Kennedy? Well, I warrant that you wish to reside on the Democrat Plantation, ooopps, you're still in chains bubba.How's Barry's agenda going now-fool.I keep hearing the chant in the background: "where's ma money,where's ma money"- you in that chorus?Sounds like it.
It's fun to watch everybody try to wax wistful about the death of a man who was instrumental in the passage of a large body of very bad legislation, cheated on his graduate exams, left a young woman to die a horrible death and bore little or no political resemblance to the brother upon whose coattails he rode into Congress.
I really don't know what kind of reckoning lies in wait for us beyond the bar...but I certainly hope that such a reckoning actually occurs and this vicious, petty man now sits before a judgement that will not be influenced by all the money and power and nepotism that protected his sorry hide while he lived the high life in Washington.
Rest in peace? I hope he Rots in Hell.
I like to look back to see where the train tracks diverge. I look back at JFK, a man my mother loved, and I think that he could never be a 21st century Democrat - just read the 1960 Inaugural address. So when/where/how did Ted become such a lion?
I suspect he found comfort in a “thieves den,” where liberal principles gave moral cover and being on the side of “right” gave volume to his voice. He will never shed his past (much like Nixon), and whatever good deeds he accomplished will always be balanced and tempered by the vile Bork Speech and Chappaquiddic.
I bear him no ill will and hope he understands (or understood) the full measure of his life as he passed on. I for one will not mourn, nor will I fly my flag, nor will I make post-humous glad-speak over his pubic service. I will also not speak ill of him, but rather let his record, it’s legacy (and all it engenders), and his persona speak for what Edward M. Kennedy was to his country, his fellow man, and his professed God.
From Front Page.
It was a May 14, 1983 letter from the head of the KGB, Viktor Chebrikov, to the head of the USSR, the odious Yuri Andropov, with the highest level of classification. Chebrikov relayed to Andropov an offer from Senator Ted Kennedy, presented by..John Tunney, a former Democratic senator from California, to reach out to the Soviet leadership at the height of a very hot time in the Cold War. According to Chebrikov, Kennedy was deeply troubled by the deteriorating relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union, which he believed was bringing us perilously close to nuclear confrontation. Kennedy, according to Chebrikov, blamed this situation not on the Soviet leadership but on the American president---Ronald Reagan. Not only was the USSR not to blame, but, said Chebrikov, Kennedy was, quite the contrary, “very impressed” with Andropov.
The thrust of the letter is that Reagan had to be stopped, meaning his alleged aggressive defense policies, which then ranged from the Pershing IIs to the MX to SDI, and even his re-election bid, needed to be stopped. It was Ronald Reagan who was the hindrance to peace. That view of Reagan is consistent with things that Kennedy said and wrote at the time, including articles in sources like Rolling Stone (March 1984) and in a speeches like his March 24, 1983 remarks on the Senate floor the day after Reagan’s SDI speech, which he lambasted as “misleading Red-Scare tactics and reckless Star Wars schemes.”
Even more interesting than Kennedy’s diagnosis was the prescription: According to Chebrikov, Kennedy suggested a number of PR moves to help the Soviets in terms of their public image with the American public. He reportedly believed that the Soviet problem was a communication problem, resulting from an inability to counter Reagan’s (not the USSR’s) “propaganda.” If only Americans could get through Reagan’s smokescreen and hear the Soviets’ peaceful intentions.
So, there was a plan, or at least a suggested plan, to hook up Andropov and other senior apparatchiks with the American media, where they could better present their message and make their case. Specifically, the names of Walter Cronkite and Barbara Walters are mentioned in the document. Also, Kennedy himself would travel to Moscow to meet with the dictator.
Time was of the essence, since Reagan, as the document privately acknowledged, was flying high en route to easy re-election in 1984.
Really, if He had not been a "Kennedy" the Chappaqquidick incident would have spelled the demise of a political career. Sadly, it did not, although it barred him from becoming President. RIP, and more to the point, Good Riddance.
Kennedy prepetrated the vilest and the most blatant act of obstruction of justice in this country's history. Since Chappaquiddick, the contention that justice is not for sale in this country has been a bad joke.
This human turd (to use Chambers' colorful -- if you'll pardon my racism -- expression) then further cheapened our judicial system by inventing the process of "Borking" qualified judicial nominees whose politics differed from his own.
The damage that this despicable cockroach did to our legislative process was bad enough. But he deserved every second of his terminal agony for the damage he did to our judical branch (perhaps he was just peeved that they caught him cheating in law school).
Was any of his morphine-blunted suffering comparable to that of clawing and gasping for one's last breath in the back of a sinking automobile -- even as her killer was frantically calling lawyers to save his own political life instead of 911 to save her lieteral one? Is there a more eloquent metaphor for American aristocratic cruelty?
I only regret that his physical suffering ended so soon. He richly deserved every last breath of it.
Folks might be interested in this article, published 1990, which is making some rounds.
A Sober Look at Ted Kennedy.
While I hesitate to roundly condemn the whole package that was E. Kennedy, he was not a good person and that he remained in office for so long is a worse damnation of the state of Massachusetts than I could ever think up on my own.
Lindsay Wheeler wrote, What is furthering scandalous is that he will recieve a Catholic burial. This man?, I fail to call him that, was a disgrace to his Faith and to his Country; a Judas goat. No, I don't wish him "RIP" but a "RIH" adage. May Peace be the last thing that guy ever sees.
Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Luke 6:37
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. Mark 11:25
How sad for you, Lindsay. May God find it in his heart to forgive YOU just the same.
That's unfair. TH wrote a reasoned and balanced piece. What could you possibly see in his piece that would "disappoint" you?
As far as some of the invective directed at Ted Kennedy goes, I think that while some of it is a little embarrassing in it's rush to judge others, it is understandable. He was a political royal though, and Americans don't like royals. He was an archetypal big spending Democrat too, and those aren't hugely popular these days. He was a scion of inherited wealth, a man who evidently believed he was above the laws we all have to live by, and that's sort of ugly too.
All in all, there was always a feeling about Ted Kennedy that he hadn't earned anything, and didn't deserve his public place. People like that draw scorn. My own view was that simple decency should have commanded him to the sidelines, while the productive hard-working people made the real decisions. I mention all this by way of a speculation on the motives some posters might have had in making some of the over-the-top comments.
In any event, it's all pretty understandable even if one doesn't agree.
All in all, there was always a feeling about Ted Kennedy that he hadn't earned anything, and didn't deserve his public place.
Yeah, one who devotes 40 plus years to public service and is responsible for legislation that improved the lives of millions and millions of Americans including FMLA, COBRA, OSHA, AMBER, ADA, IDEA, CARE, SCHIP, Civil Rights, Gender Equity, Pay Equity, Voting Rights, Affirmative Action, Hate Crimes Prevention, Domestic Violence Against Women Act, Military Child Care Act is sooo undeserving.
May you never find yourself a shut-in need of meal. Yes, Kennedy is responsible for Meals on Wheels legislation, too.
What you posted is a laundry list of often well-intentioned laws that have often had unintended consequences.
The federal government is structurally broke right now -- expenses far exceed revenues. We're getting by because we have a dollar printing press -- it's like a big line of credit we're tapping. If the rest of the world didn't suck as bad or worse right now, we'd be seeing capital outflows and much higher interest rates. We are likely to see higher rates in coming years, because of this, and resulting stagnation.
We can't put this all on Teddy, but he made a outsized contribution. It's great to live in a two-tier society -- if you're in the more equal pig category -- and so can be rich and privileged, and can be generous with other people's money.
Teddy's health bills -- while often well-intentioned -- have added to the inefficient jumble we call American healthcare. Until Congressmen and Senators get put in the same healthcare program with the rest of us, you can be sure it's a con.
Voting rights legislation led to increased gerrymandering -- the Republicans played along. As a result our legislators pick us, we don't pick them. To me, this is a root cause for why DC continues to suck money and power away from the rest of us.
I could go on. You get the idea.
When we write federal laws they get written in stone -- they're very hard to undo. Judges and bureaucrats can often twist legislation in unforeseen ways. That's why the 1000+ pages we have in each of Energy and Healthcare are so scary. Energy would actually increase CO2 emissions. I haven't hard a credible argument yet that Healthcare would improve outcomes or reduce costs.
DC has gone insane at our expense, and Teddy made a larger-than-life contribution. We'll see this celebrated in the next few days in the orgy of smug self-congratulation that will pass for his funeral.
I bet Obama's chuckling to himself over Teddy's timing -- Obama needed this boost right now. Obama said: Damn! If I'd only known I would have waited to play the "Holder to bring charges over Bush-era torture" card until next month.
I think we need a Speaker for the Dead on this one. I'm holding off judgment until a clearer picture is taken. But from what I gather, he certainly didn't make people's lives much easier, and it looks like many of the big issues that we're dealing with now are more or less his fault.
Why are the lives of 300 million people so greatly affected by 100?
"I know, Massachusetts elected Romney, and no one will ever forgive them for that."
That's... the dumbest thing I've seen you say yet.
The more I find out about old Ted Kennedy, the happier I am that he died.
Apparently, one of his favorite topics of conversation was asking people if they could tell him any new Chappaquiddick jokes.
And before you leap on this Vicki, this is not a 'Republican hatchet job' but an extemporaneous comment by a friend and political ally, who then realized his error and tried to back off. Unfortunately, it was recorded and broadcast.
I think I am now ready to condemn the whole package that was E. Kennedy. He was a shitbag.
"I know, Massachusetts elected Romney, and no one will ever forgive them for that." (Vicki)
That's... the dumbest thing I've seen you say yet.
IMHO, this was a lame attempt at humor, which went over about as well as being a courteous driver on Storrow Drive or anywhere inside Route 128.
The Kennedy hagiography is really starting to tick me off.
This guy was a drunken lout, a foul and cowardly murderer, a political panderer of the worst sort and a failure at every aspect of life except spending other peoples money. Since he never made any money of his own, only possessing wealth protected from his desire to spend big by the bullet-proof trusts engineered by his insider trader, bootlegger of a father, he was completely unaware of the cost to ordinary Americans of his liberal roar.
But I am probably too calm about this reprehensible Kennedy worship, despite the trial posed by absolutely moronic blathering like Joyce Carol Oates spouted yesterday. I am notoriously reticent about speaking ill of the dead, ask anybody, knowing as I do that someday I too will be facing my maker and asked to account for my life.
So, for a less constrained representation of the morally correct way of viewing Ted Kennedy's miserable life, you will have to turn elsewhere. I recommend you read the en fuego Mr. McCain.
The lib hagiography of Kennedy reminds me of a joke I heard long ago and is all too true today: "The American public has such a short memory that Ted Kennedy will run for President as the hero of Chappaquiddick."
Iowahawk memorializes the diseased. Oops, sorry, the "deceased".