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Posts tagged with “Ted Kennedy”

Thank Goodness for Public Education!

My occasional drinking buddy Robert Stacy McCain points out how Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift seemed emotionally grounded in the fact an entire generation of school children wasn’t taught the full events of the middle of July 1969.

The city editor at a small daily in Iowa sent a reporter out last week to gather reminiscences of Senator Kennedy. “Be sure to ask about Chappaquiddick,” he said, a request that drew a blank look. The young reporter had no idea what he was talking about. When this story was related to me by the editor’s wife, who is a baby boomer steeped in Kennedy lore, I thought how relieved the Kennedy family must be that a generation of Americans doesn’t automatically reflect on the tragedy that for so long clouded Ted Kennedy’s life and career.

Try it’s a generation of kids with history teachers who didn’t bother to inform them Eleanor.

Personally, I never heard the word “Chappaquiddick” let alone could spell the word until I was 15 and it was brought up in a video on the 1960s I watched in my spring semester U.S. History class as a freshman at Kiel High.  My history teacher — a battle-axe of a woman and the type of history teacher who focused on dates and facts they don’t make anymore — Miss Eichelkraut (Miss “Ike” for short), was no political conservative by a long shot, but she knew history was important.  So after we watched video, I wasn’t as politically charged as I am today, slowly raised my hand and recall asking something close the following question:

“Um, Miss Ike. Did Ted Kennedy just leave that woman to die in his car?”

Miss Ike didn’t really stand there dumb-founded, but she did pause in my statement and say something along the lines of “Yes Kevin, in all likelihood he did.”

I didn’t really leave the classroom that day proud I pointed out to my classmates what was the obvious fact of Chappaquiddick.  I left it aghast that a man elected to such high office and held in such high honor by segments of the population would do such a thing, let alone not report it, let alone not be held responsible for it.  At that age, I cared little about professional politics and the back and forth of who won and lost.  All I cared about then was typical teenage stuff of the mid-90s and had a moral compass based on what my parents told me was right and wrong.

That’s why something like this by Chicago Tribune columnist/blogger Eric Zorn is so telling to the American political and media environment.  In it, Zorn laments that if the 24/7 news media environment of today was around in 1969, Ted Kennedy would have been destroyed politically.  That all of Kennedy’s actions that weekend — as well as all actions done by the investigators on Martha’s Vineyard and Cape Cod — would have been under a media heat lamp from the moment the news broke.

Well no duh.

It’s that attitude around the events of Chappaquiddick that astonishes me the most around most media and liberal intelligentsia I’ve run into this past week.  “Oh God, do we have to talk about Chappaquiddick?” seems to be the most telling squeal from a cable talking head.

This is me no doubt speculating, but I often wonder if liberals have ever asked themselves when it comes to Chappaquiddick if they’ve put someone other than Ted Kennedy in his place, what likely would have happened to them when dealt with by law enforcement.  Or does that just not matter, that ‘equal treatment under the law’ and all the other platitudes are just that — empty phrases — when it comes to backing someone who shares the same ideology as you?

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Cartoons of the Day



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Cartoon of the Day

It’s okay folks, they just gave the left over wing William F. Buckley didn’t want.


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The Bills Still Suck

William Jacobson lays out what’s happened in the past four days in the health care debate.  In terms of actual changes to the legislation, deals struck behind closed doors, and so on, there isn’t much.

All that’s occurred is the long expected and tragic news of Ted Kennedy’s succumbing to a malignant brain tumor Tuesday night.  After that, not much.

As of August 24, 2009, the two Democratic draft health care restructuring bills were horrible monstrosities which contained a myriad of pernicious tax and other provisions which put at risk the well-being of hundreds of millions of Americans while doing precious little to help the 10-15 million chronically uninsured. For the reasons repeatedly posted here, the bills stank and had little chance of passing due to opposition from Republicans, Independents, and moderate Democrats.

On August 25, 2009, Ted Kennedy died.

On August 26, 2009, liberal Democrats decided to use Kennedy’s death as a rallying call to get the bills passed.

As of August 27, 2009, the two draft health care restructuring bills still stink. Kennedy’s death may have changed the politics, but it didn’t change the bills.

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Ted Kennedy 1932-2009

A week after a brain tumor claimed another American Political icon in Bob Novak, it claims the youngest child of Joseph Kennedy Sr.

May he find peace in his eternal rest.

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, the liberal lion of the Senate and haunted bearer of the Camelot torch after two of his brothers fell to assassins’ bullets, has died at his home in Hyannis Port after battling a brain tumor. He was 77.

For nearly a half-century in the Senate, Kennedy was a steadfast champion of the working class and the poor, a powerful voice on health care, civil rights, and war and peace. To the American public, though, he was best known as the last surviving son of America’s most glamorous political family, the eulogist of a clan shattered again and again by tragedy.

His family announced his death in a brief statement released early Wednesday.

“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,” the statement said. “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.”

Virginia University professor and political handicapper Larry Sabato just pointed out on Twitter this fascinating fact:  Ted Kennedy likely served in the Senate longer than any of his brothers ever lived.

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We’ve Found the One Man Feingold Won’t Call Out (Apparently)

Remember when Russ Feingold was pushing this in February?

Ninety-six years ago, voters won the constitutional right to choose their own senators. But in all but four states, the governor decides who will fill the seat after a vacancy. Now, there’s a drive in Congress for a constitutional amendment requiring a special election to fill a Senate vacancy.

The push comes in the wake of several recent Senate shake-ups — most prominently, the controversy surrounding President Obama’s vacant Senate seat.

In December, federal authorities arrested Rod Blagojevich, then-governor of Illinois, and accused him of trying to sell Obama’s former Senate seat to the highest bidder. At a news conference the same day, Dick Durbin, Illinois’ other senator, declared there was only one way out: “I think the Illinois General Assembly should enact a law as quickly as possible calling for a special election.”

Here’s why a new law would be needed: The assembly, like 45 other state legislatures, long ago gave its governor the exclusive power to fill Senate vacancies. The option to bestow such power is part of the 17th Amendment, the same one that provides for the direct election of senators.

Illinois lawmakers did not pass a special election law, but they did impeach Blagojevich — though not before he appointed Roland Burris to the Senate. Burris is now struggling to hang on to his new job; earlier this week, he pleaded in Chicago for understanding after admitting he tried to raise money for Blagojevich while seeking the Senate appointment.

“I ask you … to stop the rush to judgment,” he said. “You know the real Roland. I’ve done nothing wrong, and I have absolutely nothing to hide.”

Wisconsin Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold says “enough is enough.” He wants every state to do as Wisconsin has done: fill Senate vacancies only by special election.

“It’s time to put the power to replace senators where it belongs — with the people,” he says. “That’s the way it’s been for the House since the Constitution was written, and I don’t think the Senate should be any different.”

To make special elections the law of the land, Feingold is proposing what would be the Constitution’s 28th Amendment. Joining him are several prominent House Republicans, including the former chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Wisconsin’s James Sensenbrenner.

“Elected senators have a mandate from the people,” Sensenbrenner says. “Appointed senators have a mandate from one person: the governor. And in terms of effective representation in the Senate, you’ve got a lot more clout if you were sent there by the people, rather than having a friend who happened to be governor at the time.”

It appears, the news yesterday of Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) asking the Massachuestts State Legislature to change his states laws (currently now a special election after Democratic worries in 2004 Republican Governor Mitt Romney was going to replace Sen. John Kerry with a member of the GOP if he was elected President) from a special election back to a governor’s replacement pick has seen no such statement from Feingold.

Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, terminally ill with brain cancer, has asked state legislative leaders to change the law and let Gov. Deval Patrick appoint a temporary replacement upon the senator’s death.

Under current law, the seat would be vacant until a special election could be held 145 to 160 days later. But Senator Kennedy, a 77-year-old Democrat, wrote in a letter to the governor and leaders of the legislature that he wanted Massachusetts to have full representation in the Senate during that five-month period.


Until 2004, state law called for the governor to appoint a temporary replacement if a Senate seat became vacant. But when Senator John Kerry, a Democrat, was running for president that year, the Democratic-controlled state legislature wanted to deny the governor at the time — Mitt Romney, a Republican — the power to name a successor if Mr. Kerry won.

In his letter, Mr. Kennedy wrote that he supported the 2004 law, but he added, “I also believe it is vital for this Commonwealth to have two voices speaking for the needs of its citizens and two votes in the Senate during the approximately five months between a vacancy and an election.”

Mr. Kennedy also asked that Mr. Patrick “obtain, as a condition of appointment of the interim Senator, an explicit personal commitment not to become a candidate in the special election.”

Anyone else think of the name “Benjamin A. Smith” when Kennedy asked for the place-holder specifically not become a candidate in the special election?  Historical buffs will remember him as JFK’s roommate at Harvard he had as his successor to his Senate seat when he was elected President in 1960.  Ted, then 28 or 29, was too young to serve in the Senate and had to wait for the 1962 Special Election to win the seat outright.

History has reduced Smith to the butt of jokes as “the Kennedy Brothers’ Seat-Warmer.”

Kennedy is no doubt creating another scenario in which the Massachusetts Senate seat will have another “Seat-Warmer” until the Kennedy-family approved candidate — likely Ted’s own wife Victoria — can win the seat in the 2010 or 2012 election.

The reason why I raise this question is that Feingold is notorious for not letting his pet-projects die, let alone get railroaded in the process.  Is Russ Feingold — a notorious caucus bickerer — going to just let Ted Kennedy’s own personal demands that his Senate seat become some sort of “family heirloom” only he can pick and choose should fill it?

Who knows, but this was one heck of a floor speech by Feingold in February.  Hate to see it go to waste.

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