07.31.2009 0

Kennedy Passing will not Pass ObamaCare

  • On: 08/27/2009 09:38:50
  • In: Health Care
  • By Robert Romano

    Shameless. There’s no other way to put it.

    As even the most casual readers of the news are no doubt aware, Senator Ted Kennedy has passed away. While Americans for Limited Government offers condolences to his friends and family, the organization simply cannot condone the shameless political pandering that has occurred within hours of his passing.

    For example, Congressman Jim Moran said in an interview, “Maybe in his passing, he has done as much to advance his cause, because we all know that we owe it to him to get this bill done, to make this his legacy, to name it after him so that future generations know that there was somebody who cared about them.” And this cynical exploitation was echoed by others.

    In short, Congressional Democrats are using the death of their esteemed colleague for political gain to pass legislation that they know is failing on its own merits. According to Rasmussen Reports, 53 percent of voters oppose Barack Obama and Congress’ plan to take over the health care system, with only 42 percent in favor.

    Americans oppose socialized medicine because they do not want a government bureaucracy coming in between of them and their doctors. Whether or not they honor any one man has nothing to do with it. One-seventh of the economy ought not to be nationalized just “because that’s what Ted Kennedy wanted,” as Congressman Moran suggested.

    In a cold calculation, members of Congress are hoping that public sympathy for the Kennedy’s in their time of loss will translate into public support for legislation that Senator Kennedy supported in life. It will not work. And it reeks of political coordination by the Democrat Party to exploit the late Senator’s death.

    Yesterday Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) issued the following statement to push Barack Obama’s moribund health care bill, “In his honor and as a tribute to his commitment to his ideals, let us stop the shouting and name calling and have a civilized debate on health care reform which I hope, when legislation has been signed into law, will bear his name for his commitment to insuring the health of every American.”

    Similarly, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) invoked Kennedy’s passing for political purposes, “Senator Kennedy had a grand vision for America, and an unparalleled ability to effect change. Ted Kennedy’s dream of quality health care for all Americans will be made real this year because of his leadership and his inspiration.”

    And so, of course, did Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), one of the most shameless politicians in Senate history, “As we mourn his loss, we rededicate ourselves to the causes for which he so dutifully dedicated his life.”

    This is positively unseemly. And it could most certainly backfire. As Politico writer Ben Smith noted, conservative blogger Instapundit suggested that this tactic might be a “Wellstone memorial on steroids”, because of “the sense in Minnesota in 2002 that the Democratic Party inappropriately used the late Sen. Paul Wellstone’s funeral to advance former Vice President Walter Mondale’s campaign to replace him.”

    Really, though, it was more than just a “sense” that the tactic was politically costly. There was statistical research done. According to the November 27th, 2002 edition of the Eugene Register Guard, “Mark Penn, who conducts polls for former President Clinton, told Time magazine he found 49 percent of voters thought the service made them less likely to vote for a Democrat. About 67 percent of independent voters felt that way, and overall 68 percent of voters had heard about the service.”

    In other words, if the American people find the “do it for Ted” tactic as distasteful as they did the 2002 Wellstone “memorial,” then chances are that it will backfire politically. And it will cause Americans to believe that Democrats do not have enough faith in the legislation for it to pass on its own merits.

    It is nothing short of shameful political pandering. The spectacle surrounding his death will unfortunately overshadow the celebration of Senator Kennedy’s life. And decent Democrats should seriously ask themselves, “Is this really the way to honor his memory?”

    In the words of Ted’s brother, John, “Sometimes party loyalty demands too much.”

    Robert Romano is the ALG Senior News Editor.

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