Yesterday before heading home, I was reading a few articles on liberal blogs and saw a lot of sentiment towards the effect of “we should pass this Health Care bill in the name of Ted Kennedy” or “Republicans should get on the bandwagon and honor Ted Kennedy”. Senator Byrd and other colleagues asked for the bill to be renamed in his honor hours after the announcement was made. For the most part I think the coverage of Kennedy’s passing has been respectful on both sides. But reading these sites soured my mood about where this topic was heading. I mean, Ive been called a racist, pig-headed, and un-American for not supporting the still yet undefined Health Bill…I really don’t feel like adding “disrespectful to the dead” to that list.
But before I could even gather my thoughts on the politicizing of Ted Kennedy’s death, I found out there were already many on the right on the defensive – ready to attack this political ploy. I first heard it brought up on Sean Hannity’s radio show. Later that evening, I read an interesting article by Dan Perrin at Red State. Today, I caught Laura Ingraham subbing for Bill O’Reilly use it as her Talking Point Memo. Then finally, while preparing to write this post, I noticed that Google already has 105,000 results when searching for “politicizing ted kennedy death”.
But the analysis and prediction about this politicizing phenomenon doesn’t stop there. The left is already claiming that the right is exploiting Ted Kennedy’s death by being preemptive in their defense. Media Matters provided a sampling of right wing commentators that have already expressed their concern about potential politicizing. At the DailyKos they are choosing to angrily defend their right to be able to politicize his death.
This escalated quickly. If you are scoring at home, it has taken less than 48 hours for the left to minimally politicize Sen. Kennedy’s death; the right to call out the left and try to anti-politicize the debate; and the left to re-politicize the right’s anti-politicization and confirm their right to politicize. Damn, the information superhighway has speed limits faster than a German autobahn.
I think its important that both opinions leave the distracting media static out of the Health Care debate. There will be so much more practical merits to discuss once a final bill is finally released. Those refusing to acknowledge the warts of the proposal and looking for a mascot to spearhead their opinion should look no further than to heed the paraphrased words of a certain wise man:
(He) need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life – Ted Kennedy, delivering his brother Robert’s eulogy in 1968