We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Enough already. I do not need to add to it nor can I, as I can do neither saccharine nor sentimental very well. I have yet to hear the word "controversial" or "extreme Left-wing" or "limousine Liberal." If the guy was such a saintly historic figure, how come nobody told me before today? (It does sound as if he was kind to people in person, but I never thought much of his personal or political integrity, even if he had good manners.)
...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.
Mary Jo, and the chicks in the Georgetown pubs that he and Chris Dodd reportedly entertained constantly, were probably the only regular people he ever knew. But "he cared" - always with other peoples' money, of course.
But I am voluntarily off duty for news, so I will shut up.
Nobody likes to speak ill of the recently dead, but you are right to say this. He was a tough and often dishonest Leftist political adversary, with a noblesse oblige and arrogant attitude typical of those who, like him, kept his wealth offshore protected by teams of accountants and lawyers. Saying he was kind to people sounds like damning with faint praise.
NPR went on for 10 minutes or so about Ted this morning. I counted the mentions of the "health care debate": 14
Yes, he was a tireless champion of health care reform. Apparently from the 60's onward.
Little did you know you grew up in a country that for at least the last 40 something years has had a completely backwards and unfair health system. Ted fought ceaselessly for reform. Right to the end. (and beyond)
Around 1980 I lived in DC for a bit and rented a room. My landlady was Hungarian and I believe she ran from the tanks in '56. She was in the gov't herself and would often say, "you wouldn't believe what that murderer said today in the Senate!" She never said Ted Kennedy's name; it was always "that murderer." It still makes me chuckle today.
I have to disagree with Powerlines appraisal; though the treatment of Judge Bork was disgusting and has shown over time to have significant consequences in the makeup of the Supreme Court, it pales in comparison to a vote Kennedy participated in during 1975.
This was the year the communist North Vietnamese invaded the South and the United States of America, through their elected representatives, voted to not honor our commitment to Saigon with materiel and air support in case of just such an attack.
Kennedy, as did all the democrats of the-then democrat controlled senate (remember, this is post watergate; Ford is president; the church hearings on the subsequent emasculation of our intelligence capabilities was underway), voted against supporting Saigon.
The consequences of that vote:
The South fell, with some units on the ground valiantly fighting to the last man.
The boat people.
The communist indoctrination camps.
The genocide against the Montagnards.
The killing fields of Cambodia.
An ally who had learned to defend themselves on the ground, asking only for the bullets and bombs needed to fight a war, betrayed.
all of this upon this man's head.
And ultimately... upon our own consciences as well. For are we not a government "of, for & by..." the people?
My prayer for Ted Kennedy? One in retrospect; may the last thing his dimming eyes saw before closing forever be a nice, neon sign that read:
ABANDON HOPE, ALL YE WHO ENTER HERE
The Jacksonian Grouch
In the spring of 1977 we toured Washington. A highlight was viewing a session of the Senate. In the deserted chambers Senators Kennedy and Brooke led a discussion of--what else?--their health-care bill. Strom Thurmond proposed a rider to the bill requiring a warning label on alcoholic beverages. The irony was staggering as these two legendary tipplers and philanderers agreed to the merits of the rider but suggested it be brought up in a separate bill. I'll never forget my day spent watching democracy at work.