Thursday, August 27, 2009

Ted Kennedy's Death Draws The Wingnut Ire

The extremely classy yet morbidly elegant graphic above was created by Carol at No Sheeples Here! (you might remember her work Photoshopping me as a baby during my back and forth with Donald Douglas a few months back) and posted by my conservative counterpart Donald Douglas (yeah: That Donald Douglas) as the lead for his post "Wellstoning Ted Kennedy: Democrats 'Never Let a Crisis Go to Waste'".

If you haven't heard by now Senator Ted Kennedy, the only remaining patriarch of the Kennedy clan and the aptly named "Liberal Lion of the Senate", finally died from brain cancer a little more than 24 hours ago. Kennedy came from a family that can only be described as a political dynasty while at the same time seeming to be a living Shakespearean tragedy within American history. One should obviously expect that the political left in this country will try to celebrate his legacy while at the same time the political right will do everything within their power to tear down and destroy every good thing the man ever did as a result of his public service.

And here it comes: Don reproduces this quote from Kim Priestap:

It seems the left is intent on debasing Kennedy's death with a concerted effort to manipulate the American people into supporting Obama's health care reform. Will it work or will it turn into a Paul Wellstone spectacle with similar results? Considering how pissed the American people are at the left and the Democrats for trying to shove this down their thoats, I have a feeling they won't appreciate this new push for a government take-over of health care recycled and presented to them in Kennedy wrapping. It's crass, cynical, and simply disgusting.
Yeah, as if Kennedy would object to any effort on the part of the left to push through a universal health-care system in his name. The man lived for this type of legislative activism and I'm sure that he would have no problem with it being carried out in his name. And this bit of linking commentary from Don about the man's funeral and legacy speaks volumes as to neoconservative values:
And Gateway Pundit again with, "AP: Obama to Deliver Eulogy at Kennedy Funeral" ("Here we go ...The messiah and the saint").

Well, you get the picture ...
Yeah, calling someone else a "messiah" or a "saint" when they've obviously never referred to themselves in this manner and then tearing them down because no human could ever live up to those descriptions is fucking classy. Class, all goddamn day.

But a few readers may be wondering about the word "Wellstoning" that Don used in the title of his post. Since I assume that many readers are unfamiliar with the life and death of former Minnesota senator Paul Wellstone, I'll reproduce the words of newly elected Senator Al Franken, who now holds Wellstone's senate seat, and who also wrote a chapter in his book Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them about Wellstone's memorial. In a piece about similar dynamics surrounding Coretta Scott King's funeral in 2006, Franken explained:

The chapter was mainly about how cynically Republicans used the memorial politically as they complained that the Democrats had used it politically. And how the mainstream media, many of whom had neither attended the memorial nor seen it on TV, bought into the Republican spin.

Mainly, there was a lot of lying. Rush Limbaugh claimed that the audience was "planted," when, in fact, Twin Cities' radio and TV had to tell people to stay away because Williams Arena was jammed to capacity three hours before the Memorial was scheduled to begin. Thousands were crowded into an overflow gym to watch on a screen and thousands watched outside on a cold, late October night.

A pained Limbaugh asked his audience the day after the memorial: "Where was the grief? Where were the tears? Where was the memorial service? There wasn't any of this!"

This was a lie. I was there. Along with everyone else, I cried, I laughed, I cheered. It was, to my mind, a beautiful four-hour memorial.


It was the Republicans that tried to cheapen Paul Wellstone's life by dishonoring his death. It was the right-wing media, not the friends and family who spoke at the memorial or the people who came to it, that seized an opportunity to use a tragedy for political gain.

But wait! The right-wing class doesn't end with the shameless, partisan comparison of the supposed semblance of Wellstone's funeral with Kennedy's future service. Don's acolytes are much more vocal:
Grizzly Mama said...I couldn't listen to the memorials on this guy. He was a disgusting human being and this hero-worship that he inspires boggles my mind. The next generation of Kennedys is pretty screwed up, but hopefully they will never be as screwed up as Teddy was.
And that's just the reaction from Don talking shit about President Obama eventually giving Kennedy's eulogy sometime in the future. The comments from the post entitled "The Edward M. Kennedy Memorial Care Health Bill?" are much more indicative of Don's average readership:
Dennis said...

One should give Kennedy his due as a stanch fighter for what he believed in, but that has no bearing on anything else.
It seems rather macabre for the Left to have to use his death in this manner and denotes a realization that they do not have the upper hand or even the moral high ground.
I did not agree with Kennedy on much, but hope that GOD treats him well. Unlike those on the Left I find no pleasure in his death nor a need to use it as a reason for some cause.
By their use of Kennedy's death the Left has demonstrated how truly disgusting they are as human beings. Shades of Paul Wellstone and the disaster the left made out of his death.
Respect Kennedy's service to the country is all that is required. To do otherwise is to taint that service.

Sadly yes, even when those that cared for him did exactly as he asked the right claims that his legacy is being threatened by those same activists. Kennedy even pushed for a law in his native Massachusetts that would have let the state choose a successor for his senate seat should his death become a certainty. He had hoped that this legislative move would further the cause of health-care reform even after the event of his death. But let's not ignore this mot juste about the late senator:
One liberal paper even attributed Obama's victory to Kennedy's radical revision of our immigration policy.

This lying sleazebag deserves not one bit of sympathy or respect.
Basically, according to the right in this country, Ted Kennedy was a murdering socialist who barely skated through life on the coattails of his famous and wealthy family members. Compare this to the story you're getting from everyone else on the Internet and in the mainstream media and then tell me that I'm wrong about my relatively modest, liberal perception of this statesman.


Leslie Parsley said...

Not only do these people not have class, they have no basic human decency, and the ones who go around shouting the loudest about their Christianity are the worst. I spent the better part of yesterday reading/scanning one article after another, paying particular attention to the comments. The ones in the (Nashville) Tennesseean (www.tennesseean.com) are unbelievably ghastly, and yes, shocking.

I'm both saddened and alarmed by all this vitriol - not only from the right-wing media but from the everyday common citizen. One can only hope that they are a small, but loud, minority and that they will stir up a backlash from better informed and more decent Americans.

Leslie Parsley said...

That should be Tennessean, not Tenneesseean. And I live here?

JBW said...

Kennedy's death has certainly brought out the true feelings of those on the right, Leslie. And I'm sure nobody would have noticed that you spilled a little Mississippi on your Tennessean.

one L bill said...

Screw all this stuff. I want to know what you think of the Big Dig, which apparently he spearheaded. I just experienced it in person. I will refrain from comment until I hear your socialist libertarian take. That's essentially an entirely new post suggestion. Go.

JBW said...

It's an interesting idea one L but I'm afraid my knowledge of engineering and civil planning would be woefully inadequate to the task. If you want to write up your analysis of the project however I'd be happy to post it here.

That said, from what I can gather the problems stemmed from the city of Boston being inadequately laid out for automobiles from the start which was then compounded by several earlier projects meant to alleviate this being cancelled for different reasons. This resulted in a project of a size that the city's managers were not experienced enough to handle on their own, so they partnered with a private company.

It appears to me that this was what led to most of the problems on the project. In merging their people with the private company the city made it harder to independently oversee the company's actions, which led to widespread use of substandard materials and shoddy work by many of their subcontractors.

The city has sued several of these companies to recoup some of the cost but not much and this was coupled with delays that resulted in large cost overruns caused by monetary inflation, which is what made the project so expensive.

As to my opinion, I think that a construction project of this magnitude would have had problems no matter who undertook it, a lot of the corruption happened as a result of poor and/or inadequate oversight of the contracted companies and an ill-timed economic recession destroyed their ability to stay on budget.

But I'm curious as to your first-hand and professional takes on the project.