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Posted by on Aug 26, 2009 in Breaking News, Media, Politics, Religion, Society | 34 comments

Some Conservative Reaction to Ted Kennedy’s Passing

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 [email protected]#$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.

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Copyright 2009 The Moderate Voice
  • For the nonce, politics should be cast aside & we should all try to find that common ground. Alas, some will not hear of it.

    What did the left say about Snow & Reagan? I just remember condolences being given their families.

  • kathykattenburg

    I don’t know what ALL the left said about Snow. I remember my own reaction. I thought it was terribly sad. I didn’t agree with Snow on anything, but that had no relation to the sadness of him dying of cancer and leaving a wife and several young children behind. It’s terrible.

  • DdW

    Hi Kathy:I know that we want to report the news and reactions to senator Kennedy’s death as accurately as possible.But perhaps–to honor the Senator and out of respect for his family–we shouldn’t report such vile comments with such fidelity, at least until after he is laid to rest..In my opinion, that gives the hatemongers just a bigger audience than they deserve.Again, just my opinion, and thanks for all your great posting.Dorian

  • DdW


    When I wrote my post a little earlier on “Ted Kennedy’s ‘Littlest Refusenik,'” I had noticed a few comments in bad taste about the deceased Senator.

    I just followed your link, and I was aghast at the debased stuff written by the so-called “respectable” right-wing blogs.

    The title,”Right-Wingers Trash Ted Kennedy While His Body is Still Warm,” is much too kind.

    • joeaudio

      Dorian,In a way, I’m very sorry I had to bring it to your attention.It’s really vile and disgusting.But to ignore it would be like the “normal” Germans during the ’30s, who thought the “very bad people” (I won’t sink to the level of discourse that uses the N-word) would go away if they were just ignored. These people aren’t going to go away or have a change of heart. They need to be confronted and reminded of the concept of a civil society.Ted Kennedy was far from a perfect human being, but he devoted his life to public service. He followed in the footsteps of his three older brothers: Joe, killed in WWII, John and Robert, assassinated in public office.How many of the right wing commenters have lost all of their brothers because of devotion to service and country?

  • daveinboca

    Does anyone on this thread think that Groupthink is sometimes the wrong reaction to a person’s passing? The instant-MSM conclusion that passing the ObamaCare monstrosity as a memorial to Kennedy simply smacks of opportunism rather than commemoration. As some thoughtful observers have noted, had TK been able to shepherd the 1200 page gibberish into a workable legislative document, in collaboration with people on the other side of the aisle, the current bill wouldn’t be DOA. He was too ill and the Waxman/Waters/Frank whackos in the House concocted a Frankenstein monster— Baucus doesn’t have the political skills to get it through the Senate, especially with a whacko like Reid crashing into the furniture.

    Kennedy had his faults, but he was a political maestro. Ain’t none of them left in the Senate now, on either side of the aisle.

    • “As some thoughtful observers have noted, had TK been able to shepherd the 1200 page gibberish into a workable legislative document, in collaboration with people on the other side of the aisle, the current bill wouldn’t be DOA.”

      Nice spin, but untrue. Even his good friend Orrin Hatch didn’t “work with” Kennedy on the health care bill. It’s a fantasy to think that “if only” more talented people had been able to craft a bipartisan bill. The GOP has made abundantly clear that though they want concessions, they still won’t vote for it. That, Dave, is called bargaining in bad faith.

  • Kathy it is a sad day. . .my heart is sad for the loss of Senator Kennedy. . . his life speaks volumes about being human, what we can endure, dream, fail, and pick our selves up from, and then thrive. . .he made mistakes and he took the long walk in service to this country. . . i hold him with honor as a human being and as a Senator. . .but a much deeper sadness has been in reading the rancid comments made by the ones he served. . .the level of lack of respect is disheartening . . . Surely this kind of’ malice is an indication of a deeper illness in our country. . .

  • Some of us, still have class:

    That is all.


  • I don’t think that’s Sen. Hatch singing, I believe they got a pro to sing, though now I can’t remember where it was posted. Politico, maybe.

  • kritt11

    Both sides are finally admitting that the hope of working together without acrimony has now slipped away with Kennedy’s passing. THAT is what made him a great Senator- respected on both sides of the aisle.

    Even the haters can’t take 47 years of solid legislative achievement away from him. Many conservatives are remembering that without his help many major legislative packages that they backed would not have passed.

  • casualobserver

    @@Many conservatives are remembering that without his help many major legislative packages that they backed would not have [email protected]@

    I’ll respect your desire to eulogize him positively, but you are taking liberty with language. Your words suggest that he worked to pass conservative-backed legislation……..that is not true. What he did was temper his own liberal goals on certain social legislation in order to get sufficient backing for passage. Worthy of praise for pragmatism, but certainly not the selfless philosophy you are attempting to portray.

    No Child Left Behind, SCHIP and McCain’s immigration reform are hardly epistles of the conservative philosophy.

    • kritt11

      Yes, but Bush and McCain ARE conservatives who backed those major legislative packages- they knew they needed Kennedy’s help to have any hope of getting them passed. And, I’m not really totally eulogizing him- because I think NCLB is a mess. Kennedy himself thought it was a mistake to work with Bush on it because it became an unfunded mandate.

      Immigration reform is probably just about impossible to achieve now so we will just continue to face the problems with illegals

      .I realize that these are not packages that are popular with conservatives.

  • AustinRoth

    OK, I have waited a day or two so I could make sure I knew how I wanted to present this “conservative’s” opinion on the passing of Ted Kennedy.

    His passing is a painful loss to his family, and that is worthy of heartfelt sympathy.

    One should never revel in the death of any person, except the most vile of the evil, which despite his character flaws Ted Kennedy most certainly was not. He was, simply, a flawed human, as we all are.

    He was in the constant spotlight from before the age of the constant spotlight for all celebrities, and that of course magnified all aspects of his life, good and bad.

    I do not have to join the chorus praising his life for things that are, to me, not praiseworthy, but feel no need to denigrate or attack him or those who do find his life inspiring.

    • kathykattenburg

      Austin, well done.

  • tonycruickshank

    As Ted Kennedy was preparing to marry his first wife, Joan, I remember, as a thirteen year-old boy, being outside St. Joseph’s Church in Bronxville, N.Y. Ted and his brothers, Bobby and Jack, were going in the back entrance. My brother and I had been outside playing basketball and came over to see what all the fuss was about. JFK asked me to throw him the basketball and I complied. They were looking for an extra altar boy to serve at the wedding, but because we had sneakers on, neither one of us qualified.

    Politics aside, this is one of those memories that sticks with you over the years, fifty to be exact. May he rest in peace!
    [email protected]

  • $199537

    I intentionally waited a day to comment, too. Last week Robert Novak passed away and although I hope he found peace I felt he was an extremist and often divisive. I have the same opinion of Kennedy. I think the portrayal of him as a great unifier is misplaced and his personal conduct was at times unprofessional to say the least. To use his death as an excuse to pass a bad health care bill is callous and manipulative. I know it’s customary to look at the recently deceased with rose-colored glasses so I’ll stop here.

  • kritt11

    Da Goat- I share your opinion of Novak, but even Kennedy’s conservative colleagues thought he was able to move legislation because he was willing to compromise. That’s not to say that he let it distract him from his goal of achieving his liberal agenda.

    As far as health care goes— I would like to see a bill pass- and I’m sure that Kennedy would’nt have minded his death being used for something that he worked so long and so hard to pass while living.

    I see Kennedy as being more like Reagan in his ability to cross the aisle than like Novak- who had a very narrow view and usually wouldn’t dream of attempting it.

  • DLS

    “Does anyone on this thread think that Groupthink is sometimes the wrong reaction to a person’s passing?”

    On this site among the lefties who dominate it, in the liberal media (Teddy = Jacko + Di), or elsewhere?

    Yes, obviously, some of us do, even if the “groupies” obviously don’t.

    (They’re already saying “the Right is evil” when not saying “we need health care for Teddy!”)

    * * *

    “even Kennedy’s conservative colleagues thought he was able to move legislation because he was willing to compromise”

    Yes, and though a single thing can’t actually be identified about the Dems’ fracturing and failure currently with the health care effort, Ted Kennedy’s not being there is probably one contribution.

    He probably would have gotten the “public option” in the final legislation (even in a form similar to what is there now). He has faded and mellowed (and gone off stage except among the DC celeb lib crowd) since the 1990s (would probably have been more activist as “opposition” as in the 1980s, had Clinton not been elected in 1992 or in 1996 and the GOP still in the White House). CNN, during one of its silly Teddy bios and love-fests in place of “news” yesterday evening, included clips of speeches and statements he made, which included the old radical vow to impose price controls on doctors and on other providers; today he would have gladly accepted the incrementalist “public option” “alternative” to the current private-insurer model, which is still a definitive move toward what he originally demanded so loudly in the 1970s-1980s, but he also would have tossed the GOP some scraps, such as true reform measures of some kind to existing (private) insurers that didn’t truly harm them but got them all to offer more to more people, by playing by the same rules (which is how regulation typically is used), and maybe a tax credit scheme to help make “insurance” affordable (even public “insurance”).

  • DLS

    “To use his death as an excuse to pass a bad health care bill is callous and manipulative.”

    But given what we have been hearing and seeing, it is unsurprising, as it was easily predictable.

    • kritt11


      But using fear tactics about “death panels” , and the ruination of Medicare to block the passage of any health care bill isn’t callous and manipulative?

    • christoofar

      …not to mention that most of the orating about this has been done by the MSM itself, in their wish to “produce news”.

  • DLS

    “Immigration reform is probably just about impossible to achieve now”

    Now, after increasingly bad behavior by the Dems? Possibly. But the Dems want to rush that, next.

  • kritt11

    Because of talk radio hosts spreading panic during the Bush reign.

  • $199537

    But using fear tactics about “death panels” , and the ruination of Medicare to block the passage of any health care bill isn’t callous and manipulative?

    Of course it is, but one doesn’t justify the other.

  • DLS

    “But using fear tactics about “death panels” , and the ruination of Medicare to block the passage of any health care bill isn’t callous and manipulative? Because of talk radio hosts spreading panic during the Bush reign.”


    It is the Left which has attempted to manipulate public opinion, shamelessly, through fear and deception (and dishonesty), trying to panic them into agreeing with whatever rash or destructive things are being sought wrongly. This obviously is the case with “global warming” (alarmism and catastrophism and worse related to other wrongdoing (“a grain of truth—and a mountain of nonsense”) and it has been so with health care, where the Left has dishonestly tried to get the susceptible to panic and insist we rush stupidly to approve slipshod, incoherent, unintelligent, destructive “reform” with the additional panic-mongering that we “cannot afford to wait” [sic].

    “Death panels”? How many times must it be explained that not only the intelligent concern about rationing (which doesn’t involve fear, typically, but loathing and anger among those of us who are informed) but about deliberate misconduct and (as with, say, climate “science” and policy) the taint of politics over principle is already threatened by the people who not only have before us a “grease the skids” VA “death book,” hinting gently already at the “slippery slope” and even “pushing” that’s associated with many on the Left when it comes to euthanasia (and who, again, resurrected this?),

    and who are largely associated with the radical stance that is wholeheardly pro-euthanasia, but which is coupled obviously with not only rationing but with denial of care (for arbitrary as well as “cost saving” reasons), be it on the basis of “futility” (typically with the elderly), or with the example of Oregon, which ranked different treatments and “drew the line” (which to us informed people of course makes us think of politics in both the ranking and the line-drawing) at which would and which would not be supported by Oregon. Furthermore, as far back as the 1993 health care effort and with this current one, there is jabber (more than that in the earlier case) of redesigning health care and the subjecting of it to study and revision by the federal government insofar as “appropriateness” of care (what it will approve and pay for or permit, in real world terms), based on whatever elitist and also euphemistic charm word it may choose to attach to this, which in the current case is “effectiveness” (which by the way is a word well associated with “futility” and denial of care than other words).

    And even before attempting much of this, the “oversight” and revision threat already is real, for it was made part of the stimulus plan:

    [You need to see past the sappy PC stuff and bureaucratic babble and understand what’s really at issue, even if it’s evaded or merely scratched here. You don’t really believe their statement, do you?]

    “Comparative effectiveness research provides information on the relative strengths and weakness of various medical interventions. Such research will give clinicians and patients valid information to make decisions that will improve the performance of the U.S. health care system.”

    “The Council will not recommend clinical guidelines for payment, coverage[,] or treatment [yet].”

    Concern about federal meddling and not only rationing, but explicit denial of care, from present and past actions as well as words by people associated with disturbing politics in this area, is fully rational. It’s a serious concern to serious people. It’s not as big as it would otherwise be as an issue simply because it’s not the only concern we have about this current, sloppy, rushed health care stuff.

  • DLS

    “most of the orating […] by the MSM itself […] ‘produce news'”

    It’s not merely info-tainment. These Blue-cheerleader-or-soldier-costumed people are at the forefront of their customary Dem Auxiliary role, this time substantially so, as part of the Health Care Crusade.

    (CNN: “MAKE OR BREAK MONTH” … one “special” after another on health care … I overlook the health care political commercials, as these are to be expected, and predictable idiocy of “pro” ads.)

    Last night, CNN presented a program All About Teddy in place of one of its evening “news” programs (by Campbell Brown, chirpy politics-n-news-n-gossip chatter). Here and elsewhere that evening, it was All About Teddy (and if or how it will affect the health care effort).

    Kennedy is a dinosaur of an earlier, pre-1980 era, of New Deal and Great Society liberalism and the radicalism of liberalism during and after the strife in the later 1960s (which inhibited success of the Equal Rights Amendment, for example, given how it was tainted by the politics of its effort and its advocates). That was rejected by the public and has been resisted by it substantially since 1980, and that has been obsolescent for ages and is fading away as its celebrities age and eventually die, even if they have ever-new crops of naive kids each year who still feel similarly during their youth, and even have institutionalized a backward-looking, emotional world view in support of it to this day.

    The analogy here to the obsolete Detroit model and big government, big unions, and lifetime employment at a single paternalistic employer (often in manufacturing, with factory jobs as the typical model used by social workers and economists), with lavish benefits and a generous defined benefit pension at an early retirement age, something wistfully looked backward at and elevated by some contemporaries on the far to truly extreme left, such as Thom Hartmann, is appropriate to consider.

    That way is obsolete. (Bill Clinton, believe him or not, indicated and acted thusly in the 1990s.)

    I only hope the current silly fools among the liberal Dems in Washington understand what the rising concern and worse among the better informed and principled among the public is trying to tell them.

    As for Kennedy, the liberal media gave him more hype and attention yesterday (and continuing) than they have Michael Jackson or Princess Diana. I wonder if the Dead Kennedys will see an upward blip or spike for a short time in sales of their recordings. [chuckle]

  • DLS

    “the ruination of Medicare ”

    K, not only is the current health care effort incompetent and dishonest, but once the avoidance of paying for it was noted early as a huge defect, among the incompetent or dishonest means of paying partially for this effort that frantically (or cynically) was chosen was simply to take $500 billion out of Medicare and transfer it to the new expansion of federal health care. Taking $500 billion out of Medicare, at the same time Obamaco said they were going to deliberately and substantially reduce payments to Medicare participating providers (itself a serious cause for concern), only added to the concern seniors have, in addition to the substantial history here and elsewhere of “rationalization” of rationing and denial of care to people based on arbitrary, politically tainted, or cynical measures (which I’ve gone into detail already).

    No, simply saying we’ll wave a magic wand and make up the Medicare robbery (and control costs in general) by (goes the breezy, when not vapid, rhetoric): “eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse” from Medicare (and anything the feds add to their entitlements, too) does not seriously address concerns.

  • DLS

    “had TK been able to shepherd the 1200 page gibberish into a workable legislative document”

    Not only that — he might have had more control over other gibberish produced and passed this year.

  • daveinboca

    DLS, that was my original gist, but I would counter GD with noting that the House’s ramming through a $750 billion “Porculus” package with 12 hours notice and no committee hearings might be called “bad faith,” or maybe the Waxman/Frank/Pelosi abortion of a Health Care “package” that none of the Dems seem to have read very closely themselves, allowing their commissar-nomenklatura “legislative assistants” and “policy gurus” to interpret the wooly-minded gibberish for them. Conyers was man enuf to admit it. Conrad is man enough to say “enough” with the BS. And Lieberman, usually a sucker for libtard scams on domestic policy, also is staying on the sidelines.

    Not many men or even adults on the Dem side of the aisle, when it comes to “good faith” and good public policy [as opposed to massive govt. legislation nepotizing more of the Fed Govt with double-digit IQ relatives of Dem party hacks. And making The Chicago Way “early & often” into the official American Way.

    Oh yeah, finally, “good faith” isn’t a request by Teddy K. to change back the appointment law he had enacted per a new Senator when Mitt Romney was Gov.a couple of years ago. Now that a Dem hack with 10% approval numbers is in office, Ted as his last official act asked the law be changed back again.
    Whenever a Dem talks about “good faith,” I reach for my wallet.

  • DLS

    Well, they’ve been increasingly worse, and now they’re threatening “reconciliatory” nonsense if the most extreme proponents remain as desparate or more than they are currently, and the Dems are divided themselves, as they now are. Would this surprise you, given developments so far?

  • kritt11

    Many of you now remarking on the division of the Democrats were terrified of one party rule. We now are seeing the total dysfunction of government–since Congress has lost the ability to find common ground. Whatever you thought of Ted Kennedy he had that ability.

  • Leonidas

    The Democrats are trying to use Kennedy’s death to fuel a political agenda, I don’t really see how Liberals can criticize Republican for their remarks given that. Just hypocrisy.

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