While obituaries and remberances of Senator Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., abound, here are some things you will only find on the Web, including a tribute video from another Republican Senator, reflections on Kennedy’s politics and the implications of his death for health overhaul legislation.
Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, longtime friend of Sen. Kennedy known for his talents as a lyricist, posted a “tribute song” for today on YouTube. Hatch writes, “I think this song captures a small part of Ted’s legacy of service.” One verse is:
Just honor him
And every fear
Will be a thing of the past.
WSJ’s Jacob Goldstein notes:
Where you fall on the political spectrum will likely determine what you think of his health care legacy — his work increased government-backed health insurance coverage for children and seniors, and it added to regulation of health insurance and tobacco.
Kennedy was at times controversial, and a search for his name on Twitter certainly provides a glimpse of that.
The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein writes:
There is an impulse to honor the dead by erasing the sharp edges of their life. To ensure they belong to all of us, and in doing, deprive them of the dignity conferred by their actual choices, their lonely stands, and their long work. But Ted Kennedy didn’t belong to all of us. He didn’t even belong to all Democrats. He was not of the party that voted for more than a trillion in unfunded tax cuts but cannot bring itself to pay for health-care reform. He was not of the party that fears the next election more than the next failure to help America;s needy. Rather, he belonged to the party of Medicare and Medicaid, the Americans With Disabilities Act and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the Civil Rights Act and immigration reform. He belonged to the party that sought to advance the conditions and opportunities of the least among us. He was, as Harold Meyerson says, “the senior senator from Massachusetts and for all the excluded in American life.”
Reason’s Nick Gillespie has a very different take:
The legislation for which he will be remembered is precisely the sort of top-down, centralized legislation that needs to be jettisoned in the 21st century. Like Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.V.) and the recently deposed Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), Kennedy was in fact a man out of time, a bridge back to the past rather than a guide to the future. His mind-set was very much of a piece with a best-and-the-brightest, centralized mentality that has never served America well over the long haul.
The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder mulls over potential political implications:
So will Democrats use Kennedy’s death as a rallying cry to unite and pass health care reform? It is hard to tell whether his death — inevitable as it has seemed — is priced in to the politics of the debate so far. But Orrin Hatch, and other Republicans who worked with Kennedy, might be in a more expansive mood to compromise. Kennedy would probably encourage such speculation and not find it unseemly — so important to him was the goal of getting something done, this year, under this president.
Pondering policy outcomes, Critical Condition’s Ed Howard says:
It could push Democrats towards a more partisan approach (if that’s possible) by redoubling support for the “public option” to compete with private insurers and broad subsidies for Medicaid and SCHIP in a misguided attempt to claim victory for what Kennedy called “the cause of my life.” Or they could recognize — as Senator Kennedy sometimes did — that bipartisan compromise for half a loaf is better than none at all.
Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey puzzles over the decisions by Conservatives for Patients’ Rights to suspend heir ad campaign criticizing Democrats’ health reform bill:
It’s gracious of CPR and Rick Scott to pay their respects to the Kennedys, but that’s another issue entirely. While Ted Kennedy made health-care reform his signature issue, the debate doesn’t hinge on Kennedy’s presence or non-presence. It’s not a personal issue at all; it’s a national debate, and it continues today and every day while the ObamaCare proposal remains on the table. Unless CPR’s ads specifically mentioned Kennedy — and I’m not sure why they would have — there’s nothing at all disrespectful about running them today or any other day, in relation to Kennedy’s death.
Finally, The Guardian’s Michael Tomasky writes:
But the tragic irony of the timing is even greater, because we see in the very healthcare debate that so needed his input the precarious state of the institution to which he devoted his life, and which he shaped and influenced more than probably any other senator in history.