Remember the crass politicization of Paul Wellstone’s funeral? Well, the incredibly tone deaf Democrats appear poised to repeat it on a national scale with Ted Kennedy:
Democrats are hoping that the memory of Sen. Ted Kennedy will revive the Democratic Party’s flagging push for health care reform.
“You’ve heard of ‘win one for the Gipper’? There is going to be an atmosphere of ‘win one for Teddy,’” Ralph G. Neas, the CEO of the liberal National Coalition on Health Care, told ABC News.
Democrats are hoping that Kennedy’s influence in death may be even stronger than it was when he was alive as they push for President Obama’s top domestic priority. Democratic officials hope that invoking Kennedy’s passion for the issue will counter slippage in support for health care reform.
“Ted Kennedy’s dream of quality health care for all Americans will be made real this year because of his leadership and his inspiration,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a statement.
Pelosi’s sentiment was echoed by former vice president Al Gore who served with Kennedy in the Senate.
“Ted would want nothing more than for his colleagues to continue his life’s work and to make real his dream of quality health care for all Americans,” said Gore.
First of all, if you ever hear people saying things like, “We’ve got to pass the Puppies for Freedom Act because John Hawkins would have wanted it” after I die, punch them in the mouth for me. Hard. It’ll save me the trouble of coming back from the grave, learning how to move heavy objects as a ghost, and then tipping over a bureau on them while they sleep.
This sort of “Oh goody, Ted Kennedy finally died so now we can exploit his death” routine is every bit as grotesque as the classless creeps who seem to be enjoying Ted Kennedy’s death. In fact, it may be even worse because it’s coming from people who supposedly admire him.
However, here’s the hard reality: Ted Kennedy’s death isn’t going to help Democrats pass health care. Ted Kennedy is the equivalent of Jessie Helms. He’s much loved by most of hard core ideologues on his own side, but isn’t a national icon like FDR or Reagan, who were able to inspire people in the middle. So, liberals may find some inspiration in slapping Ted Kennedy’s name on the bill, but they were already on board with socialized medicine, so it doesn’t help.
Additionally, people will only go so far to honor a dead politician. Are members of Congress willing to lose their job over it? Are senior citizens willing to risk their health care over a bill they previously hated just because someone cynically slapped Ted Kennedy’s name on it?
The last time the Democrats tried this, at Paul Wellstone’s memorial service, it cost them a Senate seat. The people of Minnesota were so appalled at the cynical and gross exploitation of Wellstone’s death that it may have cost Walter Mondale his Senate seat. In the end, this tacky and hamhanded attempt to profit from Ted Kennedy’s demise probably isn’t going to accomplish much other than giving comedians lots of tasteless new jokes that they can use about the health care bill.