Andrew Breitbart seems not to have gotten the memo about treating the death of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy with sympathy and respect:
Early this morning, news broke that Sen. Ted Kennedy had passed away after serving in the U.S. Senate for nearly 50 years. Soon after, conservative commentator Andrew Breitbart began a sustained assault on Kennedy’s memory, tweeting “Rest in Chappaquiddick.”
Over the course of the next three hours, Breitbart unapologetically attacked Kennedy, calling him a “villain,” “a big ass motherf@#$er,” a “duplicitous bastard” and a “prick.” “I’ll shut my mouth for Carter. That’s just politics. Kennedy was a special pile of human excrement,” wrote Breitbart in one tweet.
When a fellow conservative tweeted to Breitbart asking him not to treat Kennedy like they believe some on the left treated the passing of Tony Snow and Ronald Reagan, Breitbart responded “How dare you compare Snow & Reagan to Kennedy! Why do you grant a BULLY special status upon his death? This isnt lib v con.” Despite his claim that his attacks weren’t about “lib v. con,” Breitbart repeatedly justified them in ideological terms.
Other Republicans and conservatives were a bit classier. Former Pres. Bush phoned Ted Kennedy’s wife, Vicki, to offer his condolences.
Sen. Orrin Hatch put a statement up on his official Web site that says, in part:
“Today America lost a great elder statesman, a committed public servant, and leader of the Senate. And today I lost a treasured friend.
“Ted Kennedy was an iconic, larger than life United States Senator whose influence cannot be overstated. Many have come before, and many will come after, but Ted Kennedy’s name will always be remembered as someone who lived and breathed the United States Senate and the work completed within its chamber.
“When I first came to the United States Senate I was filled with conservative fire in my belly and an itch to take on any and everyone who stood in my way, including Ted Kennedy. As I began working within the confines of my office I soon found out that while we almost always disagreed on most issues, once in a while we could actually get together and find the common ground, which is essential in passing legislation.
“For almost two decades we alternated as Chairman and Ranking Members of the Senate Labor Committee, now called the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. During this time we were able to come together in a bipartisan fashion to craft some of this nation’s most important health legislation.
“In the current climate of today’s United States Senate it is rare to find opportunities where both sides can come together and work in the middle to craft a solution for our country’s problems. Ted Kennedy, with all of his ideological verbosity and idealism was a rare person who at times could put aside differences and look for common solutions. Not many ever got to see that side of him, but as peers and colleagues we were able to share some of those moments.
“Elaine and I express our deepest condolences to Ted’s beloved wife Vickie, and their extended family,” Hatch added. “I am hopeful that they will find peace and comfort in the memories and life they were able to share with this giant of a man.”
Sen. Hatch also wrote and sang a song for Sen. Kennedy. Wonkette has a video. I listened to it. I’ll admit to being surprised at my own reaction. I found it very moving, and Sen. Hatch has a really powerful, beautiful voice. It’s amazing — his voice is really amazingly good.