Ted Kennedy dead (updated)

AT's writers are sending in their comments on the passing of Sen. Kennedy. Rick Moran begins:

This will be a "just the facts, ma'am," post by me, Rick Moran. Ted Kennedy succumbed to brain cancer at the age of 77.

Kennedy's home town Boston Globe has the obit by Martin Nolan:

Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who carried aloft the torch of a Massachusetts dynasty and a liberal ideology to the citadel of Senate power, but whose personal and political failings may have prevented him from realizing the ultimate prize of the presidency, died at his home in Hyannis Port last night after a battle with brain cancer. He was 77.

"We've lost the irreplaceable center of our family and joyous light in our lives, but the inspiration of his faith, optimism, and perseverance will live on in our hearts forever," his family said in a statement. "We thank everyone who gave him care and support over this last year, and everyone who stood with him for so many years in his tireless march for progress toward justice, fairness, and opportunity for all. He loved this country and devoted his life to serving it. He always believed that our best days were still ahead, but it's hard to imagine any of them without him.''

I think it a fine epitaph that many, many conservative blogs repeat James Taranto's quip:

Mary Jo Kopechne could not be reached for comment.

Consider the rest of this post an open thread.
Thomas Lifson adds:

Ted Kennedy was the poster boy for redemption by liberal politics -- the sense that many on the left have that no matter how badly they behave personally, they have a claim on virtue because they support liberal policies. By mobilizing the power of the state to take money away from some to cater to the needs of others, they suddenly become great humanitarians.

Even the liberals on MSNBC this morning are framing their eulogies in terms of Teddy's battle with his dark side (and concluding that in the end light won because he got the government to spend a lot more money).

But Ted Kennedy faces a Judge far more powerful than any pundit, or indeed the electorate now.  What any other mortal thinks of him now is irrelevant to his fate.

C. Edmund Wright adds:

A couple things stand out this morning. First is the unspoken irony that a Senator being hailed today as a "lifelong champion of the poor and working people" passed away at his home in Hyannis Port." Enough said.

Second: As predicted many months ago by Rush Limbaugh, the left will use the death of their "liberal lion" to callously push health care reform in his memory. Already this morning one Democrat lawmaker has done just that. And I mean literally used his death for specifically that purpose.

Congressman Gregory Meeks of New York said on CNBC this morning that "I think his memory definitely will (play a role in the health care debate) .. and I would hope that this (meaning Kennedy's death) would cause us to sit down like never before to pass a bill -- and do it in a bipartisan way and do it in short order...that would be a fitting tribute to Senator Ed Kennedy."

You just can't make this stuff up.

Cliff Thier adds:

 For those readers unfamiliar with the events at Chappaquiddick Island, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts in 1969, here are the salient facts:

After a party on the island, Senator Edward Kennedy was driving a young staff worker, Mary Jo Kopechne somewhere late that night. He later said he was driving her to her hotel. She had, however, left her hotel key and pocketbook at the party.

Kennedy drove off the bridge to the mainland and plunged the car into the Poucha Pond inlet.

Kennedy managed to extricate himself with the car which was filling up with water. He later claimed that he had tried swimming to the car several times. Instead of immediately notifying the police he called a "Kennedy advisor." Kennedy spent the rest of that night huddled with "Kennedy advisors" to come up with a story. Later, Kennedy and two "Kennedy advisors" went to the scene of the accident and tried to swim to reach the car. None of the men thought they should notify the police.

Later Kennedy went back to his hotel room where he complained during the night that he couldn't sleep because of a loud party. That next morning Kennedy chatted with the winner of a sailboat race. Then Kennedy met with the same two "Kennedy advisors." The three men then went back to the scene of the accident. Still no one called the police. Using a pay phone there, Kennedy did call friends asking for advice.

Around that time fishermen had spotted the car in the water and called the police. A police diver later testified that, "Had I received a call within five to ten minutes of the accident occurring, and was able, as I was the following morning, to be at the victim's side within twenty-five minutes of receiving the call, in such event there is a strong possibility that she would have been alive on removal from the submerged car"

Kennedy who was standing nearby at a pay phone and saw the police had discovered the body. The police had run the license plate and discovered that the car belonged to Kennedy.

At around 10:00 AM Kennedy presented himself (with "Kennedy advisors") at the police station.

By the time he presented himself to the police a sobriety test was impossible.

The judge at the inquest decided that some of Kennedy's testimony about the events that night were lies. Nevertheless Kennedy was not prosecuted for anything more than leaving the scene of an accident. He got a two-month suspended sentence. The judge said that Kennedy had an "unblemished record" and that he had "been, and will continue to be punished far beyond anything this court can impose."

A man whose shtick was about fairness and equality was only too happy to be treated by Massachusetts officials in a manner no person not named Kennedy would be treated. The rest of us would have been sent to jail for criminally negligent homicide (at the least).

July 18, 2009 was the 40th anniversary of Mary Jo Kopechne's homicide. She would have been 68 today.

Ed Lasky adds:

Yesterday, Randall Hoven pointed out that Barack Obama has insulted an amazing range of people. So it's no surprise to note that he insulted Ted Kennedy, too.
In late, 2003, this is what Barack Obama had to say of Ted Kennedy on Kennedy's efforts to pass a prescription drug bill:

He is getting old and getting tired.

Jack Kemp adds:

What is Dr. Ezekial Emanuel's position on the late Ted Kennedy's treatments?
As Noemie Emery states in the Washington Examiner about Sen. Kennedy:

"According to the Politico, some of his drugs may cost $50,000 for one treatment, while the Obama plan relies on trimming back the expense and the scope of the end-of-life treatments given the elderly when they become very ill."

My more-than-rhetorical question for Dr. Emanuel is this: Do you consider these expensive treatments given to the late Sen. Kennedy a waste of the medical resources? Ted Kennedy's Senatorial medical insurance was funded by the federal government. These days few private institutions do not benefit indirectly or directly from the federal governments expenditures on medical education, Medicare or other programs.
So I ask again, we know Dr. Emanuel's general position against using extraordinary and expensive measures to extend the life of senior citizens. Does his position also apply to Sen. Kennedy's situation and is he willing to say that in public?

David Jeffers adds:

 After the lionization is over; the casket is removed from the Capitol Rotunda, and the senator is laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery next to his brothers, the Democrats at the prodding of Rahm "never waste a crisis" Emanuel will come out with a revised health care plan in honor of the late and "great" Ted Kennedy.
As Thomas Paine once wrote, "these are the times that try men's souls", our elected Republican representatives in Congress are going to be tested.  Will they be able to stand up to the vitriol sure to come if they oppose TeddyCare?  Will they be able to overcome the wave of emotion during the Teddy hero-worship that will no doubt come from the Democrats and their public relations firm, the mainstream media?

The Republican Party will no doubt crumble under the pressure if we the people are not there to man the ramparts of their crumbling spines.

We conservatives are going to have to be the badge of courage our Republican Cowardly Lions are going to need in the days ahead.

Thomas Lifson adds:

Rush Limbaugh framed the story brilliantly. Conservatives should celebrate the way Kennedy lived and died. He held on to the end, taking advantage of all that American medicine offers. He and his loving family all understood that life is precious, so very precious.

Sen. Kennedy faced no death counselors; nobody went through the VA deathbook with him, asking if he ever is moody.

It would be a travesty, sheer hypocrisy, Rush posits, to put Kennedy's name on a bill that offers Americans anything less than the treatment Kennedy's valiant fight with death embodied.

This strikes me wonderful jiu-jitsu. Republicans celebrating Kennedy's example at the end of life, his valiant spirit. The lion went out like a lion. The man of the people.

 Richard Baehr adds:

Well it did not take long.   West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd is out with a statement calling for the health care reform bill to be renamed the Kennedy bill.  And Speaker Nancy Pelosi is out with her press release on the need to pass health care reform to honor the recently departed Senator.

In all the talk of Kennedy's health care legacy, and his long Senate career, and personal foibles, one story not receiving enough attention is a key part of the Kennedy legacy --  poisoning the Senate confirmation process for Supreme Court nominees, starting with his defamatory slander of Robert Bork.

"Robert Bork's America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the Government, and the doors of the Federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is -- and is often the only -- protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy...."  ....

"President Reagan is still our president. But he should not be able to reach out from the muck of Irangate, reach into the muck of Watergate and impose his reactionary vision of the Constitution on the Supreme Court and the next generation of American. No justice would be better than this injustice".  

Steve McCann adds:

Can we we now finally say good-bye to "Camelot" and the Jack Kennedy/Bobby mystique that was drapped by default around Ted Kennedy as the lone surviving brother. Ted owed his career and place in the pantheon of liberal icons thanks to an accident of birth. Please identify one major accomplishment of Ted Kennedy that has bettered the lives of the American people. Nonetheless may he rest in peace.

Cliff Thier adds:

A column by former CBS correspondent Roger Mudd from January 2008 illustrates just how much this country is indebted to Ted Kennedy. Because without Ted Kennedy's behavior one evening in August 1980, the Soviet Union and might not have been toppled, thousands of nuclear missiles might still be on a hair-trigger aimed at the cities of the United States, and millions of people might not have been freed from slavery in Eastern Europe. The American economy in a Jimmy Carter-induced tailspin that year-with mortgage rates as high as 20-21%, and the US government having to pay 15.5% to borrow money - might not have been righted until many years later.

The scene was the Democratic National Convention in Madison Square Garden on August 14, 1980. Carter had just finished his acceptance speech. As the band played "Happy Days Are Here Again" and the delegates cheered, Carter and his vice-president, Walter Mondale, bounded about the stage, their hands together, their arms outstretched like two triumphant prize fighters. The podium began to fill with the powers of the Democratic Party, governors and members of the Congress, all waving, smiling, winking and clapping. That final convention photograph had become mandatory - the televised symbol of party unity, with the victor and his vanquished opponents on the podium in happy harmony. But on August 14th, the vanquished, Teddy Kennedy, was missing from the picture. (snip)

Kennedy did finally arrive at Madison Square Garden. He gave Carter a perfunctory handshake and then seemed to turn his back on the President, skirting around the edges of the podium as party officials tried to arrange a victory photograph. Jules Witcover and Jack Germond, in Blue Smoke and Mirrors, quote a Carter intimate as saying the President "looked like a puppy dog" trotting after Kennedy. They also quote party chairman, Robert Strauss, after a reporter told him the scene "looked like hell," as saying "it looked worse than hell." Carter himself never recovered. He carried five states and the District of Columbia. In his memoir, Keeping Faith, he wrote that the news stories about the podium scene "emphasized his [Kennedy's] lack of enthusiasm as an indication that the spilt in our ranks had not healed. This accurate impression was quite damaging to our campaign, and was to linger for a long time."

Maybe not quite the destroyer of Carter's kingdom but close.
Senator Kennedy, I remember watching you that evening. I remember watching President Carter chasing you around the stage. Senator Kennedy, if not for your childish petulance the United States might never have elected Ronald Reagan. Thank you.

James Simpson adds:

We must also lament that Kennedy will no longer be able to commit treason as he did in 1983 by contacting the KGB in an effort to coordinate strategy with Communist Party Chairman Yuri Andropov to undermine President Ronald Reagan's foreign policy. Then again, with Communist fellow travelers occupying the White House now, he won't have to worry about that anyway. I pray God may find it in his heart to forgive you, Senator Kennedy, for all the wreckage you have caused in the name of good intentions.

Jan LaRue adds:

In 2000, I was among a group of people who were invited to the Oval Office to witness President Clinton sign the "Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Person's Act." Ted Kennedy was there to celebrate. He and leftist groups like the ACLU had managed to weaken the bill as much possible.

As we gathered around the "Resolute Desk" waiting for Clinton, who was about 45 minutes late arriving, Sen. Chris Dodd stood on the fringe holding Kennedy's huge, white standard poodle on a leash. I thought, "who but Ted Kennedy would bring a dog into the Oval Office, and who but Dodd would act as dog sitter?" He let the dog off the leash, and the dog started running around the office and barking. Kennedy finally motioned for Dodd to remove the dog.

It would have been apropos if the dog had conducted some business on the President's rug. Fortunately, the dog had more respect for the office than Kennedy and Dodd, and Clinton, for that matter. It was post Lewinsky.

Robert Bork lives.

Joseph Ashby adds:

Speaker Nancy Pelosi had this to say about Ted Kennedy’s passing:
Ted Kennedy’s dream of quality health care for all Americans will be made real this year because of his leadership and his inspiration.
Using a son of Joseph Kennedy to socialize massive portions of the health care industry is an old trick for Democrats. Lyndon Johnson did the same thing in the 1960s. This from usnews.com:
[President Johnson] immediately [after John F. Kennedy’s death] pushed Congress to pass Kennedy's agenda to honor the martyred president….

"Johnson believed that in the months after the assassination he needed to link himself to the deceased president, who seemed to become more popular after his death," says Princeton historian Julian Zelizer. "And he used that connection to build popular support for his bills.”
To paraphrase Rahm Emmanuel, “Never let a serious death go to waste. It's an opportunity to do things you couldn't do before.”


If you experience technical problems, please write to helpdesk@americanthinker.com