Ted Kennedy, RIP

Ted Kennedy was a great man, one whose flaws occasionally dominated headlines but whose legacy will be the lives saved and improved thanks to the numerous bills which bear his name, and which benefited from his wisdom as they moved through the Senate. For a man who lived his life as American royalty ? the brother of a slain president and a martyred candidate for the presidency, one of the longest-serving members of the most exclusive club in America ? his care for and attention to the needs of the poorest and least powerful Americans is an example to us all, and a reminder to his friends and colleagues who must now carry on his legacy in the Senate.

And carry on they must. Kennedy made no secret of the fact that he wanted health insurance reform to be the crowning achievement of his decades of public service. While his illness prevented him from being as active in the public debate and private negotiations regarding reform bills in the Senate, no one could doubt where he would stand on the great questions, and no one doubts that he would have gladly been wheeled onto the Senate floor to cast a decisive vote if he only had a chance.

It is not asking too much that the Senate honor his memory by making this bill a tribute to the last lion of the Senate, that leaders in the party he served so faithfully for so long should remember both his willingness to negotiate and find bipartisan compromise when possible, and unleash partisan claws when he had to. Let his roar ring out at least this once, though the Senate Democrats be led by kittens.

And let Republicans remember his legacy as well. Despite their demonization of him as the archetypical liberal, as a murderer and worse, he continued to reach across the aisle and find real agreement on issues that matter to Americans. On everything from public housing to funding for AIDS prevention and treatment, he found agreement on principles and on the best solution to problems facing America.

He also knew where to draw the line. He made No Child Left Behind a better bill in many ways, most notably in forcing out a creationist amendment offered with no fanfare by Senator Santorum. Thanks to Kennedy’s efforts, the language was removed from the bill, relegated to a report with no legal authority. His even hand will be missed as Congress takes up federal education policy again in the next year, as it will on so many issues that affect the future of this country, and the well-being of its people.

Comments

  1. #1 scripto
    August 27, 2009

    We shouldn’t settle for anything less than Medicare for all. The taxpayer is on the hook for the oldest and sickest and private insurers get everybody who doesn’t need a walker, where profit can be made. It’s unsustainable. We need everyone in the same risk pool.

  2. #2 Modusoperandi
    August 28, 2009

    The goal of the chamber, which represents 3 million large and small businesses, is to fend off potential emissions regulations by undercutting the scientific consensus over climate change.

    Don’t you just want to cheer for the people whose mission is to fight facts with FUD? Doncha just? (Brought to you by the same kind of people who, if they’re even capable of empathy, empathize with the predators in nature films. Or maybe the parasites.)

    Critics of the finding say it’s far from certain that warming will cause any harm at all.

    “Our actions aren’t messing with the climate…but if they are it won’t be bad. I mean, plants like CO2, right? Right?

    The Chamber of Commerce cites studies that predict higher temperatures will reduce mortality rates in the United States*.

    *…and increase it for the 50%+ of humanity that’s nearer the equator than the US, either directly from heat, disease, crop reduction, lack of water or wars over food/water.
    *…and increase it for, say, old people during the hot season in Arizona (unless everyone gets AC, in which case the increased energy usage will require more coal-fired powerplants, which will spew more crap into the atmosphere, which will raise temperatures even more).

  3. #3 Modusoperandi
    August 28, 2009

    The goal of the chamber, which represents 3 million large and small businesses, is to fend off potential emissions regulations by undercutting the scientific consensus over climate change.

    Don’t you just want to cheer for the people whose mission is to fight facts with FUD? Doncha just? (Brought to you by the same kind of people who, if they’re even capable of empathy, empathize with the predators in nature films. Or maybe the parasites.)

    Critics of the finding say it’s far from certain that warming will cause any harm at all.

    “Our actions aren’t messing with the climate…but if they are it won’t be bad. I mean, plants like CO2, right? Right?

    The Chamber of Commerce cites studies that predict higher temperatures will reduce mortality rates in the United States*.

    *…and increase it for the 50%+ of humanity that’s nearer the equator than the US, either directly from heat, disease, crop reduction, lack of water or wars over food/water.
    *…and increase it for, say, old people during the hot season in Arizona (unless everyone gets AC, in which case the increased energy usage will require more coal-fired powerplants, which will spew more crap into the atmosphere, which will raise temperatures even more).

  4. #4 Who ya kiddin?
    August 29, 2009

    Kennedy killed Mary Jo Kopechne and got away with it.

  5. #5 Modusoperandi
    August 30, 2009

    Who ya kiddin? “Kennedy killed Mary Jo Kopechne and got away with it.”
    He’s a Kennedy. All the “family dynasty” kids one free negligent homicide. Dubya got five thousand and counting (and that’s just the Americans).

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