When I learned this morning of the passing of Senator Edward Kennedy, (D-MA) my first thought was for the closing of this chapter in the history of a great man and an American political dynasty. My earliest political memory is of the funeral of his brother, President John F. Kennedy. Ted's passing reminds me once again, how fleeting our time is on this planet.
His passing marks a milestone in American history. What a shame that rather than reflect on his life and family dynasty, the great lights of which are now gone, so many on the left are attempting to use his death for their own ends.
There was an early taste of this at Mike's America where one Obamaton asked:
"Mike, Could you attack Ted Kennedy today? It would be really good for Democrats and health insurance reform if you attack Teddy all week."Talking points along lines less overt than that, but still classless have been echoed all day in the national "news" media. Here's a sampling:
DOUGLAS BRINKLEY (CBS): Well, the health care debate that we're in the middle of right now, I mean it's been a summer of town hall meetings, we're going to head into September and October, and I think the ghost of Ted Kennedy, the spirit of Ted Kennedy is going to be with that health care debate. Democrats are going to try to push universal health care through as the legacy piece for Teddy Kennedy.
NORAH O'DONNELL (MSNBC): I think there's a huge impact. Ted Kennedy asked President Obama to promise him that this would get done because, as Ted Kennedy had said, this is the cause of his lifetime.
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE (MSNBC): I wonder what you think the impact of his passing will be now on this battle. Is there a possibility that there will be some new groundswell of bipartisanship that it could be a change of tone, or does all of that pass with him?
DAVID GREGORY (NBC): This was a great cause of his life, getting health care reform. There's no question that Kennedy will still loom large as this debate moves forward.
GLORIA BORGER (CNN): The Democrats will continue to talk about the legacy of Ted Kennedy and try to pass some version of health care reform that Ted Kennedy would have supported and would have liked.
DONNA BRAZILE (CNN): This will help to redouble the efforts of those who would truly like to see some major reform of our health insurance system in this country, and I hope that when Congress returns to work in a couple weeks they will not only remember Ted Kennedy, but also remember what he fought for. This would have been a fight that he would lead to the bitter end.
CHRIS CUOMO (ABC): His memory will be constantly interjected into the debate and in that sense he will be a part of it.
If you really want a taste on how Dems plan to use Kennedy's death in this tasteless manner, look no further than the statement by Senator Robert Byrd:
"My heart and soul weeps at the loss of my best friend in the Senate, my beloved friend, Ted Kennedy. In his honor and as a tribute to his commitment to his ideals, let us stop the shouting and name calling and have a civilized debate on health care reform which I hope, when legislation has been signed into law, will bear his name for his commitment to insuring the health of every American."And Nancy Pelosi: "[the] Kennedy health reform dream will be real this year."
Now imagine for a moment what Democrats would have said if on the news of President Reagan's death Republicans all shouted that we must pass Social Security reform to honor him?
It's appropriate that we spend some time to reflect on the life of an American icon as he passes from the scene. But Democrats only invite negative memories of Chappaquiddick or Borking if they persist in politicizing this event.
As funeral plans are made, let's hope Democrats demonstrate more decorum and maturity than they did at the Wellstone memorial which they turned into a partisan political rally.
If Democrats want a memorial to Ted Kennedy, let them raise funds for an extension of the Kennedy Library in Massachusetts. Or perhaps President Obama can approve the use of some stimulus money for that purpose. But don't sully the memory of this man by using his death as a crass, partisan political maneuver.