Skip to comments.Remembering Ted Kennedy
Posted on 08/29/2009 6:08:21 AM PDT by Kaslin
Our national media are treating the passing of Sen. Edward Kennedy as a historic event, more historic even than the deaths of presidents like Gerald Ford. Is this level of attention warranted?
We can all grant that Ted Kennedy was a major legislator with his hands in a lot of historic government action. He was at times a very eloquent speaker and was always a passionate fighter. To his side of the aisle, he was their inspirational leader.
Now add the personal story: Two of his brothers were mercilessly assassinated. He was the final Kennedy from that generation. Clearly, when the media spent countless hours mourning the death of John F. Kennedy Jr., a man who never had a political career, the death of an actual senator of 47 years should be a greater event.
It is not the amount of coverage that bothers; it is the quality of reporting.
"(The Kennedys) are the closest thing we have in this country to royalty, the clan's iconic images engraved on our national consciousness." That's how ABC's Claire Shipman put it on the Aug. 26 "Good Morning America," echoing what others have been saying across the dial. CBS anchor Harry Smith began this way: "He bore the unspeakable grief and overwhelming hopes of a nation."
This suggests a popularity that simply did not exist. The last time Gallup polled nationally on Kennedy (in February of 2008), his favorable rating stood at 40 percent, his unfavorable a whopping 48 percent. Even earlier this month, with the news of his mortal illness known by all, still his favorables according to CNN could not climb past 51 percent.
Along with the inaccurate suggestions we're hearing from the press that he was beloved by all are the suggestions, again echoed across the dial, that Ted Kennedy was a great bipartisan leader. His was "a life that was able to bring friends and enemies together," said CBS anchor Maggie Rodriguez.
That is also inaccurate. It is not questioned that he enjoyed many friendships across the political aisle, but that has no bearing on political bipartisanship, and it is simply not true to suggest that Kennedy was committed to bipartisanship. What did he do to help Nixon with Vietnam? Reagan with tax cuts? Bush 41 with Clarence Thomas? Clinton with welfare reform? Bush 43 with Iraq?
Sen. Kennedy was smart enough and pragmatic enough to reach across the aisle to get deals done -- but only to the degree that they advanced his agenda. He worked across the aisle to ensure the never-ending growth of federal taxes and spending, consistently opposing American foreign policy abroad while working tirelessly to defeat conservative nominations and initiatives at home.
And when he felt it necessary to wear brass knuckles, he did so. Conservatives (especially) will quickly recall his initial floor speech in 1987 against Supreme Court nominee 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 would be censored at the whim of government," and on and on.
It was vicious and untrue, but for a liberal like Kennedy, for whom ends justified means, it was also strategically necessary and therefore appropriate.
"The statement had to be stark and direct so as to sound the alarm and hold people in their places until we could get material together. I was confident we could win this one." That's how Ted Kennedy justified his action to Ethan Bronner, author of "The Battle for Justice."
Bronner added that Kennedy later sought out Bork's wife to say, "I hope you understand it is nothing personal."
The networks cast every law Kennedy passed as an achievement. This is true -- if you're a liberal. It's the opposite if you're a conservative. Despite their surprising generosity to Ronald Reagan when he died, the TV elite nonetheless questioned his policies. On ABC, Peter Jennings asserted "a great many people (read: liberals) thought he'd made the wealthy wealthier and had not improved life particularly for the middle class." On CBS, reporter Bill Plante asserted the Iran-Contra affair helped "set the stage for the first Iraq war and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism." And so on.
Edward M. Kennedy was a liberal's liberal. His supporters can cheer his intense commitment to a leftist agenda. His opponents can -- and should -- respect his dogged refusal to compromise on that philosophy. But his detractors (which, let us remind ourselves, outnumbered his supporters) also found his leftist agenda destructive. And the national news media are doing a great disservice by omitting that from their Camelot narrative.
From what I’ve heard of him, he wasn’t so much a passionate speaker as he was an Angry, hate-filled spewer of lies.
EVERY time I hear him go off on a rant, it’s like a dog going crazy when he sees a squirrel. And reason and fact are totally abandoned once he snapped. You can just FEEL the spit flying.
Am I wrong?
No, of course it's not warranted. But neither was the level of attention given to Michael Jackson's death, or Farrah Fawcett's death, etc, etc. Remember, first and foremost, "the media" is a for-profit business. It may be hard to accept, especially when such coverage annoys the heck out of you, but coverage of such stories bumps up viewership and readership.
It's futile to point out that the focus of such attention is morally unworthy if the businesses are making more money with such saturation coverage.
Well, this is an interesting comment. On the one hand, how can an assassin be any more merciful than by using a single, high-powered rifle on an unsuspecting individual?
On the other hand, what would be a "merciful" way to assissinate someone? The Terri Schiavo approach?
Farrah WHO??? ...OH, you mean that WHITE chick who died the same day MICHAEL died.
funny, only NOW, AUGUST, do I see Farrah getting eulogized at the news stands. But again, now that the ‘lyin-lion’ has passed, she’ll be pushed away again.
“and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!”
And after he told Bork’s wife it was “nothing personal”, I hope Mrs. Bork told Chappakennedy to go bugger himself.
Cronkhite and Kennedy are renewing their acquaintance....in hell.
That, in a nation founded on class equality and coming from an ideology that supposedly worships egalitarianism, is anything but a compliment!
"He bore the unspeakable grief and overwhelming hopes of a nation."
He CAUSED unspeakable grief and ERODED the hopes of a nation with his self-serving, ineffective obstructionism.
Ted Kennedy may have been as asset to Cutty Sark, but he was no credit to the Senate.
Did anyone catch when Obama was greeting the Clintons? Hillary tried to get a kiss and Stupid ignored her - he was chatting up Bill.
Hillary sitting next to Bush. The only one at the Mass to fight for the unborn, is the one who is not a Catholic, Bush.
O/T my greatgrandparents put one of the stain-glass windows in the church.
Yesterday evening Sheperd Smith had the Kennedy Special on from the Kennedy Library. Needless to say I changed the channel. Once in a while I checked to see if it was still on. this morning he is hosting the funeral. I turned my TV off. I am so tired of the coverage. Also the coverage from the Kennedy Library reminded me of the President Reagan coverage at the Reagan library. I just wonder do the democrats ever have an original idea, or do they always copy others?
Actually. it is quite on topic - the sacrifices that all our ancestors made being wee-wee’d away at light speed.
Why would anyone remember this piece of human trash?
Thank you. I think about how the Kennedys probated Rose’s will in Florida, for a more favorable inheritance tax, and
deprived the people of MA those taxes. Now the City of Boston gets to pick up the tab for his funeral. Makes me sick.
Kennedy stood for everything the Democrats are. He lied, cheated on his wife, drank himself into oblivion and got away with murder. He legislated liberal law that should have been against his religion and kept a true constitutional scholar off the Supreme Court, single handedly. Democrats loved this guy. They will use him as a reason to pass Obamahealthcare, Kennedyhealthcare, and trample over his grave tomorrow. This in part from an Illinois blogger.
I heard a wonderful limerick today, effectively read with a thick Boston accent:
There, ah, once was a maaan from Mass
Lookin’ for a fresh piece of as*
He lucked out and found herh
But effed up and drowned herh
And the What Howse slipped out of his graaasp.