We never know what the future holds, but for the present, Senator Kennedy is still fighting the good fight.

Mr. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, flown in virtual secrecy to Washington, stirred the normally staid chamber to a rousing ovation and moved many colleagues to tears when he made a surprise appearance in the Senate in the late afternoon to break a Republican filibuster on a Medicare bill. ... Once it became clear that Democrats had the votes to push the bill through, Republican resistance collapsed and the procedural obstacle was cleared on a vote of 69 to 30.

You could call the appearance a profile in courage.

Mr. Dodd said that Mr. Kennedy’s medical team had cautioned against the visit but that Mr. Kennedy would not be deterred.

I join Jeralyn (who discussed the merits of this important bill yesterday) in saying: Thank you, Senator Kennedy.

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    He's definitely NOT a cowardly lion. (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Maria Garcia on Thu Jul 10, 2008 at 11:45:36 AM EST

    He's a great Senator. (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by masslib on Thu Jul 10, 2008 at 11:47:26 AM EST
    We're lucky to have him.

    Courage and anti-courage. (5.00 / 9) (#3)
    by Steve M on Thu Jul 10, 2008 at 11:50:59 AM EST
    Sen. Kennedy showed great courage on this, just as he has on so many issues throughout his political career.

    But it's worth remembering that the only reason he had to be there in the first place, is that the Republicans gleefully seized the opportunity to filibuster this bill a couple weeks ago when the Democrats were 1 vote short due to Kennedy's condition.

    That's right, they were more than happy to take advantage of Kennedy's situation to block billions of dollars in Medicare funding.

    And then when Kennedy defies his doctors and shows up to cast the deciding vote, what do the Republicans do?  No fewer than NINE of them switch sides and vote against the filibuster, so they can go home and tell voters "oh, sure, I supported that Medicare bill!"  I hope people find out about the disgusting stunt they pulled by filibustering the bill in the first place.

    I actually have (none / 0) (#29)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jul 10, 2008 at 02:11:21 PM EST
    a little respect for people like Sununu, who (gasp!) stuck to his rancid principles and still voted against it, despite being in a tough race.

    The irony is (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by LarryInNYC on Thu Jul 10, 2008 at 11:51:12 AM EST
    that his vote was thought to be the deciding 60th vote but so many Republicans abandoned their own party due to pro-Medicare ads run in their states that the final vote was a veto-proof majority without Kennedy's vote.

    I mentioned the look on Chuck Schumer's face (none / 0) (#5)
    by andgarden on Thu Jul 10, 2008 at 11:54:59 AM EST
    yesterday. He knew this was a winning issue for the Dems no matter what.

    Indeed (5.00 / 5) (#6)
    by andgarden on Thu Jul 10, 2008 at 11:55:26 AM EST
    I hope Teddy makes a full recovery; the Senate needs him.

    Kennedy lost any respect I had for him (5.00 / 3) (#7)
    by TimNCGuy on Thu Jul 10, 2008 at 11:59:20 AM EST
    when he attacked Clinton's record on SCHIP for Obama when at the time SCHIP passed Kennedy made public statements that it would not have passed and become law with the work of Hillary Clinton.

    I had no problem with his deciding to support Obama over Clinton.  But, the attackes on her SCHIP record were way over the line.

    Well (5.00 / 3) (#8)
    by Steve M on Thu Jul 10, 2008 at 12:00:57 PM EST
    That was a pretty low moment for Sen. Kennedy.  He had a few of them during this campaign.

    But I think the man has earned way, way too much respect from liberals over the years to lose it all over one or two intemperate moments.  All in all, he's done a lot of good for a lot of people.


    Agreed. (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by dk on Thu Jul 10, 2008 at 12:09:43 PM EST
    I'm sure many here agree with me that Kennedy bet on the wrong horse in this race, but all in all he's one of the good guys.

    As an MA resident, I take comfort in the fact that while our most high profile liberals (Kennedy, Kerry, and Patrick) supported Obama, our smartest liberal (Barney Frank) supported Hillary.


    Heh. (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by LatinoVoter on Thu Jul 10, 2008 at 12:48:36 PM EST
    I know that liberals on the coasts lurve them some Ted Kennedy but I'm a liberal from fly-over country and Ted has never really floated my boat. One of the rare instances where I agreed with Barack was back in '03(?) when he said that Ted Kennedy was getting "a little old" and that he needed to "grow some spine and fight the Republicans." When he attacked her on SCHIP and Hillary's chances of being VP it just cemented my indifference for the man.

    The Ted Kennedy that showed up yesterday to me looked more like the Ted Kennedy that liberals on the coasts have praised all my life and for once I was able to see it. I don't like the way he went out of his way to undermine my candidate but I'm glad he showed up yesterday and actually grew that "spine and fought the Republicans."


    Teddy should grow a spine? (none / 0) (#30)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jul 10, 2008 at 02:13:59 PM EST
    How embarrassing for you to actually put something so spectacularly ignorant in print.

    Gyrfalcon.....looks like it was obama that (3.00 / 2) (#32)
    by PssttCmere08 on Thu Jul 10, 2008 at 04:12:59 PM EST
    is being quoted as saying Ted should grow a spine....a fine example of look who's talking.

    I was quoting Barack (none / 0) (#31)
    by LatinoVoter on Thu Jul 10, 2008 at 03:00:41 PM EST
    and if you think it is ignorant in print I'd love to see your reaction of Barack saying it on video.LOL.

    typo (none / 0) (#10)
    by TimNCGuy on Thu Jul 10, 2008 at 12:05:54 PM EST
    of course i meant to say

    would not have passed withOUT the work of Hillary Clinton


    I did do a double-take (none / 0) (#36)
    by weltec2 on Thu Jul 10, 2008 at 06:38:24 PM EST
    but then assumed correctly as I'm sure most did.

    For once the Dems deserve praise (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by BernieO on Thu Jul 10, 2008 at 12:08:29 PM EST
    If my info is correct they managed to pay for this by cutting the subsidy that has been going to the private, for-profit Medicare Advantage plans that Bush enacted to make Medicare more "competitive". The only way the private plans could compete was through subsidies that have cost taxpayers billions. There was an excellent discussion of this yesterday on public radio's Diane Rehm show.

    Glad to hear of that little known fact (none / 0) (#27)
    by hairspray on Thu Jul 10, 2008 at 02:07:06 PM EST
    about for profit agencies sucking off taxpayer money being upended by this bill.  I agree with you on Ted Kennedy whom I always supported until he became smacked with the koolaide fever.  I have always wondered why Dems were so aggressive on spending for programs for the needy and apathetic about things like the FISA bill.

    He is one of the reasons (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by mmc9431 on Thu Jul 10, 2008 at 12:08:46 PM EST
    I'm reluctant to endorse term limits. There are more than enough losers in the Senate. They get elected and then they hide. I also hope he recovers. Obama will need someone in the Senate that can push his agenda through. I certainly don't think McCaskill or Kerry could do it.

    Don't you mean that America (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by dk on Thu Jul 10, 2008 at 12:12:55 PM EST
    needs someone to actually push through a liberal agenda and work to pressure Obama to sign off on it against his will?  Because that's how I see it.

    dk....thinking the same thing myself. Does (4.00 / 4) (#18)
    by PssttCmere08 on Thu Jul 10, 2008 at 12:32:37 PM EST
    obama even know what his agenda is?

    IMHO, the only thing (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by dk on Thu Jul 10, 2008 at 12:46:49 PM EST
    that BO is personally invested in is the whole Department of Faith stuff.  Conversion narrative and all.

    What Kennedy represents is the notion that policy is something that you can sink your teeth into and internalize and make your life's work.  Very few national politicians seem to do this.  And people are threatened by it.  That's why Kennedy is the boogey man of the right, and Clintons are the boogye man/woman of the right and the fauxgressives.  


    Agreed. As the hard working pragmatist (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by hairspray on Thu Jul 10, 2008 at 02:10:02 PM EST
    that he is, why did he endorse Obama who doesn't seem to be that kind of a person?

    The timing of his support (none / 0) (#37)
    by weltec2 on Thu Jul 10, 2008 at 06:51:07 PM EST
    for Obama I felt was inappropriate. I was very proud of MA for voting for Hillary anyway. Nevertheless, I understand why he felt drawn to Obama. BO has a strong speaking voice just like JFK did.

    I remember as a teenager just hanging on ever word of a JFK speech. I repeated them to myself over and over again as did other kids my age. One would hear kids in the hallways trying to imitate JFKs MA accent which we in California all thought was very entertaining.

    But the major difference I think is that with JFK there was always some fascinating substance worth repeating over and over again. With Obama it's all, "We're going to change this country and we're going to change the world!" Really now... does anybody, even the most loyal Obamaite, believe that?


    I heard that too. I can't believe the (none / 0) (#39)
    by hairspray on Thu Jul 10, 2008 at 08:51:38 PM EST
    chutzpah. Since he hasn't spelled out anything specific in terms of a major plan, I can only speculate.  I am simply amazed.

    It's important for people with serious (5.00 / 6) (#16)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Thu Jul 10, 2008 at 12:14:18 PM EST
    illness to take control over their life, especially when they feel they have no control over their disease.  This was an example of Sen. Kennedy doing this.

    I applaud him, because we needed him yesterday.  I also understand that he needed to do this for himself.

    Kudos to Senator Kennedy for taking risks (5.00 / 3) (#17)
    by MO Blue on Thu Jul 10, 2008 at 12:22:48 PM EST
    on an issues that he support. Wish that "courage and risk taking" were something that could be spread by exposure as easily as catching a cold.  

    livestrong Sen. Kennedy! (5.00 / 0) (#20)
    by Little Fish on Thu Jul 10, 2008 at 12:34:39 PM EST
    We need him fighting in the senate and as a mentor and example to those new Dems we'll be getting in the fall.

    Good for Senator Kennedy. (5.00 / 0) (#22)
    by pie on Thu Jul 10, 2008 at 12:42:04 PM EST
    He did display courage, something we've seen far too little of from our congressmen for a long time.


    so my comment that was critical of TK... (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by john b on Thu Jul 10, 2008 at 04:46:33 PM EST
    ...was erased, and the comment asking if critical comments are erased was erased.  is there a policy on this site of erasing posts that don't toe the line?

    So it seems (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by MsExPat on Thu Jul 10, 2008 at 05:00:41 PM EST
    And I'm rather dismayed by this--my comments were not troll bait, not off-topic, nor were they obscene or disrespectful.

    I'm really wondering what I have done to violate Talk Left policy, and since my comments have all been erased (and I expect this one will be, too) it effectively cuts off discussion of the matter.


    I really hope that the mediator responds... (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by john b on Thu Jul 10, 2008 at 05:12:04 PM EST
    ...because I like the TalkLeft forums.  But I won't keep reading a blog that erases contrary posts.  

    What stark, stark contrast on the same day (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by pluege on Thu Jul 10, 2008 at 08:46:20 PM EST
    in the courage of Kennedy and his drive to do what's right,
    from the FISA capitulation of Obama

    This was, more or less (none / 0) (#40)
    by MsExPat on Thu Jul 10, 2008 at 11:04:47 PM EST
    the issue I raised in my (deleted) post earlier today. If Kennedy had arrived just two hours earlier on the Senate floor, he could also have added his voice to the chorus of those who stood up to vote NO on FISA. Why didn't this leading, legendary progressive of the Senate make this simple act?

    My theory doesn't cast Kennedy in the best of lights. I think he didn't want to mix up in the FISA  vote because of Obama. Kennedy didn't want to dramatically show up on the floor to cast a vote on the opposite side of his guy.

    Kennedy isn't just an Obama supporter. As far as I can see, he's one of Obama's kingmakers. It was Kennedy's support and imprimatur that began to draw the critical mass of superdelegate and party stalwarts away from the Clintons, and into Obama's camp.

    So I have very mixed feelings about Kennedy. Certainly he's been tireless in his support of good policy, and he's been more on the good side of politics than not. But for whatever reason--animosity/jealousy towards the Clintons?--he decided to snub Hillary (who, ironically, is more like him in terms of wonkishness and dedication) and make Obama his protege.

    And the legacy of Kennedy's choice is something we're going to have to live with.


    I dunno (none / 0) (#41)
    by Steve M on Thu Jul 10, 2008 at 11:09:11 PM EST
    I'm going to assume medical reasons unless evidence to the contrary emerges.

    If it's tiring being up and about, a couple extra hours can be a big deal.  And Kennedy's vote wasn't going to make a difference on FISA, unlike the Medicare legislation.


    It wouldn't have made a difference vote-wise (none / 0) (#42)
    by MsExPat on Thu Jul 10, 2008 at 11:18:30 PM EST
    but it would have been a dramatic gesture that would have been invaluable in drawing attention to the Senate's FISA cave, I think. As it stands, the FISA  passage barely registered in the media.

    But the story of Kennedy's appearance for the Medicare vote put it in the headlines.

    You're right, though--maybe his stamina really wasn't up to the extra hour or two of being around the Senate.


    Still, you are right... (none / 0) (#45)
    by weltec2 on Fri Jul 11, 2008 at 04:36:07 AM EST
    It really would have helped and surely he knows that. I would like to believe that it was medical. I just... can't.

    Obama didn't need Kennedy to make (none / 0) (#44)
    by pluege on Fri Jul 11, 2008 at 03:18:24 AM EST
    himself look bad on FISA... to progressives (he came off as bad as possible), and maybe a little better to republicans...which would seem to be the only logical explanation as being the Obama campaign's intention: sucking up to republicans.

    Regardless of my thoughts on his backing (4.00 / 4) (#19)
    by PssttCmere08 on Thu Jul 10, 2008 at 12:34:10 PM EST
    obama, I do hope he makes a speedy recovery and gets back to work....Ted does know how to work!

    fwiw, according to NPR (none / 0) (#43)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Jul 11, 2008 at 12:37:04 AM EST
    W's gonna veto the legislation.