What Would Ted Kennedy Have Done?

Below, I post about Third Wayers Ezra Klein and Steve Pearlstein of the Washington Post and their attempt to use Ted Kennedy to prop up their attempts to promote Democratic capitulation on health care reform. Brian Beutler write a nice post on what Ted Kennedy would have done:

Both of those ideas--that the Senate will not pass a public option, and that Ted Kennedy would support giving up on it--are pretty deeply seeded in the media at this point. But compare that to Lawrence O'Donnell--chief of staff of the Senate Finance Committee during the Clinton Care years--who says that's all wrong.

Senator Kennedy...is not an easy compromiser on health care reform. In 1994, I was in the room when he told the president that he believed the strategy should be a Democrats-only strategy and that we should not be trying to reach out and get Republican votes.

The attempts of the Third Wayers like Klein and Pearlstein to claim Ted Kennedy as one of their own is absurd and anti-historical. It is also offensive. Let's let Kennedy's own proposals speak for themselves - Medicare For All.

Speaking for me only

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    Arent (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 11:33:08 AM EST
    they basically now agreeing with what John McCain said the other day?

    McCain still won't (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by waldenpond on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 11:46:12 AM EST
    vote for it.

    Of course (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 11:56:56 AM EST
    not. It could be a reaganesque bill and they still wouldnt vote for it. The sooner the Dems learn this the better.

    Nancy Reagan (5.00 / 3) (#18)
    by Inspector Gadget on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 12:18:14 PM EST
    was interviewed by phone Wednesday night. She spoke of the close friendship she and Ron had with Ted Kennedy. When asked about universal health care, Nancy was genuinely FOR putting a good health plan in place. Maybe she needs to have a chat with some of her other friends still in office.

    Yep (none / 0) (#2)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 11:34:52 AM EST
    Effective (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Maryb2004 on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 11:40:09 AM EST
    Calling them Third Wayers.  I approve.  

    Good (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 11:42:39 AM EST
    do they dislike being called (none / 0) (#17)
    by The Last Whimzy on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 12:16:58 PM EST
    third wayers.  i thought it was a badge of honor for them?

    The Kennedy quote (5.00 / 4) (#4)
    by Fabian on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 11:42:06 AM EST
    that sticks in my brain is from NPR's coverage this week. (I should track down the exact quote and the speaker...)

    "Ted Kennedy won political fights because he was not afraid to lose."

    If you are afraid to lose, then you will fight  defensive battles and give ground to the enemy that they haven't earned.  If you aren't afraid to lose, then you'll throw all of your energy into the fight, making the act of fighting the what is important.

    Will the Dems ever stop capitulating? (5.00 / 4) (#10)
    by MO Blue on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 12:01:43 PM EST
    If after winning the WH, a 60 seat majority in the Senate and a strong majority in the House, the Dems primary game plan is capitulating on every major issue, will there ever be a time when we get anything other than Republican legislation passed.

    If not now, when?


    Apparenlty (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 12:04:15 PM EST
    never it seems and now I'm sure the excuse for any problems that happen is that Kennedy passed away. I dont know about anybody else but I'm sick of the excuses.

    Are you kidding? (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Fabian on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 12:33:54 PM EST
    While I'd much rather have the rallying cry "Win one for the American people!", I'd be perfectly happy for "Let's win it for Teddy!".

    If I were Obama, I'd deliver a stirring but sober eulogy and once the solemnities were over, I'd be "working the phones" and getting my "Win it for Teddy!" speech ready - a no holds barred, political steamroller of a speech.  Give it 110% - call out the fear mongering Republicans, the cowardly Blue dogs and every American who is tired of worrying "Can I afford to be sick?".


    Isn't it obvious (5.00 / 4) (#7)
    by Steve M on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 11:47:42 AM EST
    that the notion of Kennedy as the Great Compromiser is the Republican spin on his legacy?  Why would progressives choose to buy into it?

    Which progressvies are those? (5.00 / 3) (#8)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 11:48:52 AM EST
    On health care, Ezra Klein and Steve Pearlstein are not progressives, they are Villagers.

    And Don't Forget (5.00 / 5) (#16)
    by The Maven on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 12:15:30 PM EST
    that other prominent Villager, George Stephanopoulos, who showed up on BillO's program yesterday to note that Kennedy the Compromiser would have been willing to toss the public option aside in order to pass something, anything.

    It's astounding that even before the senator has been laid to rest, his legacy is being twisted beyond all recognition, with nary a peep of protest.


    I'm beginning to really understand (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by shoephone on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 01:43:01 PM EST
    why Hillary loathed Stephanopolous so much.

    By they way, Stephie's main guest on ABC last week was none other than... the increasingly irrelevant John McCain.


    AP is expounding this theory: (none / 0) (#29)
    by oculus on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 03:21:11 PM EST
    Sen. Kennedy

    P.S.  Why do Senators have any federal government subsidized health care coverage?  Who knew they now work 2-3 days a week!!!!


    I may have missed it, but did Sen. Kennedy (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by oculus on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 12:04:25 PM EST
    express his opinion on any of the current Congressional proposals?  

    Yes (5.00 / 4) (#13)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 12:05:23 PM EST
    The Senate HELP bill was his proposal. In addition, he continually introduced a Medicare For ALL bill.

    Indeed, the HELP bill was his compromise.


    Thanks. (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by oculus on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 12:06:08 PM EST
    Republican talking points (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by ricosuave on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 12:07:37 PM EST
    Every republican senator interviewed this last week talked about how Kennedy was willing to compromise away what he believed in to get things done.  I think that was the republican talking point, though I will give them the benefit of the doubt that they were trying to say something nice about him that wouldn't conflict with their decades long strategy of demonizing him in public (while working with him in private).

    It is sad that these guys are willing to buy the republican talking point, but in reality they are just using whatever is handy to push their strategy: get a political victory of signing a healthcare bill without worrying too much about what's in it.  I'll also give these guys the benefit of the doubt that they actually believe they are following some camel-nose-in-the-tent metaphor, and that they are honestly in favor of having healthcare reform.  But I wish they were willing to risk something to get it.

    Risk? (5.00 / 4) (#23)
    by waldenpond on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 12:46:50 PM EST
    The right hates that a Democrat is the the White House.  No bill could be watered down enough to get a Republican vote nor enough to satisfy the right.

    The majority want a public option.  The Democrats will be going against the public will.  They must be relying on the strategy of 'the left has no where else to go' and siding with the insurers and pharma.


    Very curious to hear what Pres. Obama (none / 0) (#20)
    by oculus on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 12:20:49 PM EST
    says when he speaks at Sen. Kennedy's funeral.  

    Here is what he will say (5.00 / 5) (#21)
    by ricosuave on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 12:28:52 PM EST
    • Kennedy was a national treasure, and so was his family
    • Thank him for his personal mentoring
    • Talk about now-noncontroversial things Kennedy supported in the past, like his early work against poll taxes
    • Talk about the strong outpouring from his constituents.

    It will be a good speech, and it will garner praise, but Obama will not use the speech as any kind of call for action.  He may mention that Kennedy has been fighting for healthcare for years and call him instrumental in something Medicare related, but he will not make any connection between the things the man fought for his whole life and anything we can do now to honor the man's strong commitment.  Don't look for a Wellstone eulogy.

    Amen, BTD... (5.00 / 6) (#19)
    by masslib on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 12:19:19 PM EST
    Frankly, what he would have compromised on as a politicians is irrelevant.  He told us as late as 2007 what he WANTED: Medicare for All, and may I just say he had a politically beautiful structure for getting us there (start with 55 and above, 25 and below).  As I told Turkana today, Ted Kennedy's cause was not a public option, it was THE public option, Medicare for All.  Progressives can honor him by advocating for the cause of his life or not.  But some kind of public option was a politicians compromise, and, as outsiders of the system, calling for the cause of his compromise rather than the cause of his life is not honoring him, in my humble opinion.  

    WWTKD? (none / 0) (#26)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 02:07:51 PM EST

    And does that stand for? (none / 0) (#27)
    by mogal on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 02:16:54 PM EST
    Seriously? (none / 0) (#28)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 02:20:45 PM EST
    What Would Ted Kennedy Do.

    A play on WWJD.