Senator Kennedy: Classless Reactions to the Death of a Great Man

Although I suppose I shouldn’t expect any better, RedState’s obituary for Kennedy sadly typifies conservative America’s reaction to this tragedy. After a very nice testimony to the late Senator Kennedy’s personal charm, it devolves into parroting a distortion (Kennedy ran against Carter for the ’80 nomination: he did not support Reagan!), rebranding him as a bigoted defeatist, and, finally, closes with a tacky joke. Despicable.

Picture 1Lest we forget, there would not be a black President — of any party — without Ted Kennedy’s work on civil rights. There would not be an American national security policy, for there would be no America, without the calm, reasoned approach to warfare that Senator Kennedy and his brothers embodied. The same hot heads demanding torture and indefinite detention today are those that would have brought us to nuclear war 1962, but for Jack Kennedy. There would be no Medicare but for Senator Kennedy’s fiscal responsibility, spurned by the honorable members opposite, and there would be less help for the poor, but for Senator Kennedy’s compassion. The story of the Kennedy family in government is the story of the triumph of liberalism, as a philosophy for social change, national security, and everything in between. In each major battle of the twentieth century, the forces of the past were dealt a crushing blow, frequently by a Kennedy, and always to our benefit. We can concede the individual personal failures of the Kennedy men without fear, for the magnitude of their legacies far overshadows the petty points of their distractors. In the  life of every great man there will be disappointments, great and small, but these terminate with their deaths. The gifts they gave America live on.

He was an American Senator. Honor him.

Update: Senator Hatch (R-UT) sets the gold standard for class. “Cancer may have taken my friend, Ted, from us, but his legacy continues on. Although Ted and I fought over politics most of the time, he was a passionate man who dedicated his life to public service and did a lot of good for a lot of people.”

Update: read Tommy Christopher’s take on the same.



  1. Google some liberal reactions to the death of Reagan and then tell me how many conservatives are to Kennedy.

  2. Ugh. They were wrong if they did it, too, then. But I doubt it.

  3. Google: reagan dead+good riddance

  4. MY GOD. A few forums said they were glad that Reagan was dead! The HORROR.

    Get me a real opiniomaker or major outlet, or, don’t.

  5. RedState is neither an a major outlet OR an opinionmaker.

    Ultimately this is going to be more of the same. Conservatives won’t miss him, liberals will. And both sides are entitled to say why.

  6. RedState’s actually a pretty big deal. I appreciate your willingness to throw them under the bus, but still, major circulation, editors regularly on TV, etc. And it’s not just them. It’s the entirety of #tcot on Twitter, Facebook, etc.

  7. Some of the things you list in his legacy as positives, I believe are very much negatives. Someone who regards more of it than I do as a negative, that person I am not prepared to censure for being glad for the Senator’s death. Being glad for your opponent’s death is natural and logical, is it not? Your opponent works against your goals and thus creates an impediment to what you’re trying to achieve. No opponent, no impediment. Would you really not celebrate Brownback’s death? Santorum’s or Frist’s, had they died in office? Even if you wouldn’t have, I don’t think it would’ve been wrong of you if you had.

    1. I’m going to second that Steve. Personally i feel for his family. Professionally he will not be missed by most on my side of the aisle. Nothing wrong with admitting that.

    2. While “conservatives” might not miss him, I think he was a well respected member of the senate regardless of party.

      I could be making that up in my head in the after glow of death, but that’s how I thought it was.

      1. I’ll be honest that the only things I knew about him were “Somehow related to JFK, somehow connected to a woman drowning, lives on Cape Cod and opposed an offshore windfarm, and had brain cancer.” I think he may have run for President back in ’92, too, but I’m not certain about that.

      2. Then you’re a bad Senator!

      3. But seriously, read the bills he helped enact if you don’t know much about him.

        This doesn’t completely prove my point, but Ted Kennedy was named the highest in bi partisanship according to GOP Senators. Doesn’t mean they liked him, but I still hold that he was a respected Senator on both sides.

  8. What did you write about the Left’s reaction to the death of Tony Snow?

  9. (Kennedy ran against Carter for the ‘80 nomination: he did not support Reagan!)

    He didn’t support Reagan but he also made sure he won. His speech at the convention killed the party for that year.

  10. Ultimately this is going to be more of the same. Conservatives won’t miss him, liberals will. And both sides are entitled to say why.

    Except, Mike, the statements made by many Republican Senators yesterday were openly sad that Kennedy wasn’t there tohelp them cross the aisle. He may not be missed by conservative pundits (though they now have one less target for their punditry), and he may not be missed by work-a-day conservatives in the streets, but he will be missed by Republicans none the less.

    1. Well for one – what else can they say? It’s like the way some liberal politicians were falling all over themselves to praise Reagan when he died. They’re all operating in the interest of protecting the herd. And yeah, he would work with them. Great.

      1. I think Senatro Kennedy woul dhave wanted them to speak their minds, as he always did. And I think a lot of the Democrats who fell all ove rthemselves with Reagan did it for the same reasons that its happening for Kennedy now – genuine admiration for a colleague. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m trying to genuinely compliment your side of th aisle here.

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