Friday, August 28, 2009

Honoring Teddy By Opposing Health Care

Below is a small excerpt from a remarkable piece on Senator Kennedy by someone who, like me, spent many years in Massachusetts under the shadow of the Kennedy dynasty. It is a tribute to Kennedy from a liberal turned conservative, and the whole piece deserves to be read – no matter how you felt about the Senator.

Nevertheless, its main point is that conservatives and moderates from every perspective should not put aside their opposition to the horrendous government health plans now making their way through Congress thinking it would be some sort of testimonial to Senator Kennedy. This would be just the opposite of what Senator Kennedy would want. He was for government healthcare, yes, but he wouldn’t want it passed for this reason.

Honoring Teddy By Opposing Health Care

Jeffrey Lord August 27, 2009 American Spectator (Excerpt)

“For me, in a political sense, moving from a Kennedy-crazed kid to a Reaganite conservative, what I learned from Ted Kennedy are two things.

First, his liberalism wound up helping to make me a focused conservative. If you were going to combat the ideas he had you needed first to know your own, and know them well. It wasn't enough to think him wrong -- and by extension his supporters -- you had to understand why he was wrong. Then, with all the zest and zeal you can manage, just sail into the teeth of the opposition, just as Ted Kennedy did. He certainly did that, and expected no less from his opponents.

Waiting to join the White House staff, I remember President Reagan heading over to Teddy's house to raise funds for the John F. Kennedy Library. The President gave a wonderfully Reagan-esque speech, crafted in part I believe by Peggy Noonan.

Somewhere along the line, in appreciation, Ted Kennedy gave Ronald Reagan an eagle bookend that belonged to JFK and had sat on the famous Resolute desk that both men had occupied in the Oval Office. Reagan, ever the gracious patriot, had accepted the invitation in tribute to a former president whom he had opposed in life, a president who had been unable to raise funds for his own presidential library because of the tragedy of his death. There is a wonderful picture of Ronald Reagan and Ted Kennedy admiring the bookend, the photo itself a tribute to a pair of legendary American ideological bookends.

That picture sums up for me what the best of politics should be in America. The well thought out ideas, the fearless willingness to do political combat, pulling no punches. And, as President Reagan always liked to say, after six o'clock, it was time to get together and lift a glass to friendship.

As with us all, Ted Kennedy's life will speak for itself. But here in this corner, on the occasion of his death, condolences go to his family -- for whom he was such an amazing patriarch. As with all figures in history, his legacy will be debated for eternity. The legacy I most appreciated was the ever-present idealism, the commitment to his principles -- and the lasting lesson that you should not just find your principles but fight for them as vigorously as he did for his.

Right about now, Ronald Reagan is welcoming Ted Kennedy home. And after the pleasantries, I have no doubt Reagan is saying, "Teddy, about that health care reform, well…"

Rest in peace, Senator.

Now, as to that health care business that the rest of us have to settle? It would be both untrue to the facts and unwise in the moment to tiptoe around the truth that one of the things Senator Kennedy took great joy in -- and was in fact a connoisseur of -- was hardball politics. He reveled in it. He gave full political measure to his political opponents and expected nothing less in return. Senator Kennedy's death is already being used by his allies as a reason to support the Obama version of health care. Wherever he is at this moment, the Senator is doubtless cheering them on.

But to be really true to the Kennedy view of politics, he would expect from his conservative friends nothing but the best opposition to this in what he knew to be a fierce debate. He would expect -- demand -- a sharply reasoned and passionately delivered conservative response.

For conservatives to be intimidated into silence on this issue out of respect for Senator Kennedy would show, as Senator Kennedy himself would understand, nothing but disrespect to the idealism he cherished and the political clash of ideas he loved. The Lion of the Senate became that because he roared.

So now should the opposition to Senator Kennedy's position -- President Obama's position on health care -- roar. Loudly.

Ted Kennedy would expect no less
American Spectator

Jeffrey Lord is a former Reagan White House political director and author.

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At 5:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would be an honor to continue my opposition of government take-over healthcare. I disagreed with everything Kennedy stood for, but believe he was passionate in his belief. Naming this healthcare bill after Kennedy, or anyone else for that matter, would be a stigma that would ruin the reputation of anyone.

At 11:48 AM, Anonymous Joe said...

The Far Left have a habit of politicizing the dead to their advantage. Take for instance the Paul Wellstone memorial which turned into a big political rally which was led by Paul's son, with cheers of "Do it for Paul!" and "We can win in Minnesota!" One of the Republicans Trent Lott, who came to pay his respects at Paul's memorial, got booed at this disgraceful event. The Democrats dug up that "has been" Walter Fritz Mondale to run against Norm Coleman and do you know what? Coleman won hands down. The Democrats are so greedy and careless about campaigning that they are willing to not only risk their own lives to get to where they need to get to, but they are willing to risk the lives of their own families. Case in point; Paul Wellstone was scheduled to fly to a campaign rally with his wife and daughter during a fierce snow storm, a blizzard that no one in his right mind would dare to fly in a small plane, but Paul wanted to be there and he never made it. The plane crashed in some woods, and he and his wife and daughter met their demise because of his greed and poor judgment. OK,-maybe I appear to be hard on these Far Left political hacks, but I'm tired of them, and I'm tired of being dictated by them. There's an old saying that goes, "you should never say anything about the dead unless it's good." Well,--- Ted's dead, and that's good! May he rest in peace, and hopefully we can all forget him.


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