Cons Continue to Politicize Kennedy Death
by Jonathan Singer, Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 12:52:12 PM EDT
Yesterday, I noted that conservatives were already beginning work to politicize the death of Ted Kennedy in an effort to stifle those memorializing the former Senator in a way that honored his life service and decades-long effort to provide healthcare to all Americans in a way not at all dissimilar to the attempt to politicize the memorial of Paul Wellstone. These movement from the right shows no signs of abating.
Hannity on Kennedy's death: "a lot of this was the politicizing of -- remember Paul Wellstone's death?" Discussing Kennedy's death during his radio program, Sean Hannity asserted, "We've got The Wall Street Journal reporting -- and by the way, a lot of this was the politicizing of -- remember Paul Wellstone's death? You know, 'Let's do everything for Paul.' And we're now being implored to get behind Obamacare because it's what Ted Kennedy would have wanted." [The Sean Hannity Show, 8/26/09]
Savage fill-in Markowski on possible naming of health care bill after Kennedy: "It's political theater" like the "Wellstone memorial." Chris Markowski, filling in for Michael Savage on his radio program, took a caller who said that "if Ted Kennedy had wanted his name on this health care bill, I think that he would -- I would want to see where he said that in writing before he died. He had plenty of time." Markowski responded, in part, by asserting: "I don't think he's requested -- you got to understand, it's a show. OK? It's political theater. Like the Democrats thought that whole Wellstone memorial was going to -- it was going to force them to -- it was going to allow them to win the Senate race in Minnesota. This is political theater. It's a show." [The Savage Nation, 8/26/09]
Lopez on Kennedy's death: Wellstone service "turned into a political rally." The National Review Online's Kathyrn Jean Lopez wrote in an August 26 post to the blog The Corner titled "Re: The Politics of Ted Kennedy's Passing": "All politicos need to remember the Wellstone funeral when a well-known politician dies. Instead of memorializing his life, his service turned into a political rally. Some of the MSNBC coverage today I'm catching looks like a [sic] Obamacare convocation. Human life is about more than poltics. And politics isn't American Idol. Or, even, The Lion of the Senate."
Conservatives, who constantly evoke the name and memory of Ronald Reagan for political purposes, may try to browbeat those who wish to honor the memory of Ted Kennedy into stripping any references to his life work -- a life spent in public service, much of which involved a struggle to help provide more Americans with health coverage. However, there would be little better to honor the memory of Kennedy than by doing for him what has been done for a number of longtime advocates and public servants in years past (Republicans and Democrats alike) -- naming the program he sought for so long to enact in his memory, just as was done for Sens. William Roth (IRA), Claiborne Pell (educational grants), or J. William Fulbright (scholarships).
Update [2009-8-27 17:18:38 by Jonathan Singer]:Ben Smith has more on the effort by the right to politicize the death of Ted Kennedy. One point of context worth noting is that Americans have a long history of memorializing their fallen public servants. I mention the Roth IRA and other programs above, but the renaming of National Airport after Ronald Reagan -- even before he passed away -- comes to mind as well. So how this is controversial, rather than sheer chutzpah, escapes me.