Tag Archives: Ted Kennedy

Representing a People or a Party?

There’s a new kind of flip-flop in Washington. The power flip flop. One day the Republicans are flying high with their man on Pennsylvania Ave and good footing in both houses. The next, Democrats are on top with a majority in the houses and their man in the Oval office. Then an election spins out of control and into the headlines in Massachusetts and suddenly the top dogs are scrambling to keep their footing again. Up and down and in and out, Republicans and Democrats all vying and campaigning to win their seats and stay in power.

Which, for me, begs the question, are the politicians in Washington too busy being representatives of their parties to be representatives of the people?

Consider. In Massachusetts there was a mad scramble of last minute campaigning by the Democratic party to try to save Ted Kennedy’s seat from the hands of an upstart Republican. Bill Clinton and Barack Obama both put in appearances to this end, though in vain. Why? To get a Democrat back into the house. The desires of the people of Massachusetts seemed irrelevant (note: this is the second time in this paragraph that I have spelled that state correctly on the first try without the assistance of spell check), for when the desires of the people seemed to challenge the power of the party, the party flexed its muscles against them.

Last I checked the purposes and desires of our founding fathers, the goal of representative government was to represent the people of the nation, not some power hungry political party. The shift has been subtle, but its effects can no longer be ignored. No wonder the people of this country, and particularly young people, are disillusioned, cynical and frustrated about the government. They feel like they have no voice in the goings on of our country, and it is beginning to seem that this perception is not far off.

What a radical day it would be if a Democrat or Republican began to run for office in a particular state or district and then dropped out on the grounds of “I cannot accurately represent the needs and desires of this constituency; my opponent will do a better job of that for these particular people than I” instead of scrambling, biting and clawing to win a seat for their party, regardless of the good of the people.

Obama ran under the banner of “change” and said he would be a new day for the American government, would encourage bipartisanship, would consider all interests, and even a few weeks ago derided the “permanent campaigning” of Washington politics. A funny thing from the mouth of a man who scant days before had himself been campaigning for Coakley. He has not brought change to Wasington. He is a democrat, representing the democratic party, and trying to work with republicans representing the republican party.

All America wants to know is when someone will show up in Washington who wants to represent people instead of a party.

Obama as William Wallace: ‘Follow Me to Medical Freedom!’

It’s 7 bells after the noontide apex of the shining orb which lights our world (Central). Welcome to an evening of oratory with President Obama on Capitol Hill! Come, and let us together sit down and learn how we shall be healed of our goiters and our greed.

7:03 – The Cabinet’s headed into the chamber. Hillary Clinton! Remember when she was going to be president? Man.

7:04 – Watching on Fox like the right winger I am… Brit Hume has a similar voice to that which I imagine God might use if he wanted to comment on politics.

Fox's Front Page After Obama's Address7:12 – President introduced by sergeant at arms and assorted other dudes.

The President is flanked by Dingy Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell. That is one sour looking man!

Obama just passed Shela Jackson Lee. She looks like she mugged Joseph (from the Old Testament) and nabbed his coat of many colors.

There’s Hillary again. This whole… derailed by the health care thing must feel eerily familiar to Senator (and former 1st lady[and former Rodham, what happened to that?!]) Clinton.

7:14 – Michelle Obama is getting a lot of air time so far as she is clapping with typical class. I wonder if the Queen likes the IPod she bestowed upon her?

*applause & applause*

*President makes it to podium. How would you like to arrive somewhere and stare upwards into the grinning face of Nancy Pelosi?! Eeeee…*

7:15 – Pelosi just made clear the President was here… after the sergeant guy had previously done so. A nod to the ADD crowd that could be aided by the health care plan I suppose.

7:17 – John Kerry sighting! Millions of people wanted him to be President! And we wonder why we get consistently creamed by other countries in math tests and the like?!

7:18 – Obama: I have saved the economy from George Bush. It’s still not good. But I will keep spending to fix things.

7:19 – Obama: I’m building the future.

7:22 – *Teleprompter troubles!* He’s speeding up and slowing down on certain words! Bankruuuuptcy.

7:23 – One of the lawmakers is waving his hand in the air like he’s at a revival meeting…

Did you know you’re already paying a HIDDEN TAX?! Obama seems to want to bring it out of hiding and place it before our faces and bank accounts like the… tax it is.

7:24 – “These are the facts. Nobody disputes them.”

7:26 – He’s setting up straw man arguments like they were little furnishings from IKEA! He first distanced himself from those to his political left (Paging Havana, Fidel it’s for you…) by throwing Canada’s health care under the rhetorical bus. But then He said Conservatives want to take away employer insurance programs and make everyone purchase their own plans! That just isn’t even true!

President Obama! I learned in English grammar class that ‘straw man’ arguments were logical fallacies! Didn’t you go to Harvard?!

7:27 – ‘I am not a partisan. Republicans are creating a ‘blizzard’ of falsehoods!’ Brrr…

7:28 – Aha. He’s announcing his own plan now… I’m assuming that means his own bill. What about Max Baucus and the gang of 6? No gangs now?! President Obama’s not in Chicago anymore.

7:31 – Yikes! This is creepy. He’s detailing all the new regulations he’ll be imposing on the private insurers and presenting it as though he were freeing the serfs in 12th century Russia. This man is so wise. And so… I guess ‘leftist’ would be the word.

7:32 – If you fail as a human being, the government will save you.

7:33 – Teleprompter glitch #2!

7:34 – Senator John McCain gets a plug from Obama. Obama really does owe McCain quite a bit when you think about it…

Congressman Eric Cantor looks like a science professor.

7:35 – We will insure you like you insure your car. Yes!

It’s Orin Hatch! The original ‘stormin mormon!’ The man is an empire.

7:37 – Congress just chortled at him when he said ‘some significant details need to be ironed out’!

SARAH PALIN REFERENCE! Obama is decidedly peeved over her ‘death panels’ claim!

Oh man. They’re trying to set Palin up as the voice of our party. Oh man, oh man, oh man…

WOW! Someone in the chamber just shouted at Obama, ‘THAT’S A LIE!’

7:38 “No federal dollars will be used to fund abortions!” That’s good! I hope that’s true!

‘This is not a government takeover of the health care system’… well I KNOW that’s not true…

7:40 – More teleprompter issues. “Iiiiinsurance”

“I’m not interested in putting insurers out of business. I just want to hold them accountable.” Just like a big brother of sorts… Ohhhhh!

He’s sticking with his support for the public option! It’s like he’s a liberal or something?!

7:44 – Now he’s backing away from the public option. This is like watching John Kerry debate. With himself.

There are people holding up sheets of paper at the President! Is that the bill?! This is like British parliament! The revolution has come full circle! I wish George III was hear to see this.

I think he just had another change of heart with the public option now?! What is going on?!!!

7:46 – “I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficit now and in the future. I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficit now and in the future. Period.” I’m sorry, but that just makes me smile and laugh! The writers on “The Office” couldn’t have done better…

IT’S ALL GEORGE BUSH’s FAULT! Awesome! He’d gone over 20 minutes blaming that slacker for some national calamity! Consistency.

7:49 – Wow, look! There are two huge golden snakes perched behind Obama. I wonder if they are sick snakes? If they are, they must be very happy to hear that the President intends to cure & cover them.

7:50 – He just doesn’t get who he’s talking to at all. He’s speaking from the political left to the political left. Wait, is he a liberal?

He is going to pay for this plan using… magic! AND EXPERTS think it will work! I’m totally ok with this now!

7:52 – Joe Biden thinks medical malpractice is funny!

Ahhhh! Obama intends to throw the Republicans a bone with medical malpractice regulations. He said he’s going to have Kathleen Sebelius take care of this “today”. Nice.

7:54 – Rich people don’t need any more money.

Iraq was a mistake.

Nancy Pelosi is creepy!

“Most of this will be paid for with money that’s already being spent.” That’s a profound sentence!

‘I will listen to you if you are serious. I will not listen to you if you disagree with me.’

7:55 – IF WE DO NOT PASS THIS PLAN AMERICANS WILL DIE!

7:56 – And now we shall have the Ted Kennedy emotions conjured up for our political uses. Classy, classy classy. Although, to be fair – Kennedy probably would have wanted exactly that.

7:58 – Ted Kennedy was not an ideologue. HahahaHohohoho…

Liberalism sounds so beautiful! If only it worked, eh.

8:00 – *Now, history time with Barack!*

He’s only mentioning events that happened during Democratic presidents. What is this, public school?

8:01 – Obama: I AM A VICTIM!

*Here it is, the energy is building to a crescendo!*

‘Don’t be afraid!*

*A dude in the crowd is hooting and hollering like he’s coming to know Jesus*

‘Follow me! FOLLOW ME TO FREEDOM!’

8:03 – *And It’s over*

I need some Prozac. Will that cheer me up? What does Prozac even do?! Who cares. I’m sure it will be covered.

Thoughts from the Right at Kennedy’s Passing

When a giant falls, you can’t help but take notice. When that giant is one who spent nearly his entire life championing  political causes to which you stand in stark and devoted opposition, the experience is unique and confused. One wonders how to feel and what to say. The death of Senator Kennedy this past week was the passing of just such a giant.

Ted Kennedy was an Irish Catholic. He was brother to two famous heroes of liberalism and son to a man who (as US ambassador to Britain) told FDR to give up on Churchill’s Britain at the outset of World War II. Senator Kennedy was pro-choice. He led the charge to block the nomination of Robert Bork by Ronald Regan to the supreme court in 1987 and was a big reason that judicial nominations since have devolved into questions of ideology more than competence. This could go on for a really lengthy amount of time – from his stance opposing both Iraq wars to his conception of what the government should play in the private sector – this man’s worldview was diametrically and impossibly opposed to my own (and millions of others).

And yet, seeing all of the warm memories that Kennedy’s friends and loved ones (from both sides of the ever dividing aisle) poured out can’t help but make a person see the man in a different light. He obviously had a real impact on many of those he came in contact with, and appears to have had a pretty entertaining personality as well. The sheer weight of the history he represents is remarkable also. Just to think that this guy marked national tragedy and triumph in such a personal way… he was really like a living piece of history himself. I’m stifling the liberalism as history joke out of respect. Then again you got the sense that Senator Kennedy could handle a dose of humor.

Another window into Senator Kennedy’s non-monster-ness and humanity was watching Senator Orin Hatch’s remarks about Kennedy on Saturday evening at the remembrance service in Boston. Hatch is just awesome – that guy is an empire. He told stories about Kennedy’s exploits that you couldn’t help but smile over – such as an entire negotiation the two conducted while, as Hatch described it, Senator Kennedy was “clearly feeling no pain”.

But one of the phrases I did hear a great during the coverage of Kennedy’s passing was that ‘the world is a great deal better off because Senator Kennedy lived’. This is where the proverbial rubber meets the road. There can be no question that Senator Kennedy’s long life meant a great deal to his family and to many others. To these folks he undoubtedly made a great difference for the good. Intellectual honesty can’t let me escape the obvious question though – is his nation better off for his time in Washington? It’s a question of which I don’t think we can be certain of the answer. Senator Kennedy’s motives – his priorities – were excellent. He sought to better the lives of people he felt were forgotten by the powerful – whether those powers were corporations, society, or government. As the consummate liberal, he believed the way to accomplish these goals was through intervention from the capital. His crusades for universal health care provided by the government and myriad social programs were well intentioned, there can be no doubt. However, history teaches that government intervention on behalf of these priorities only serves to decrease the economic health of the whole land. While the government unquestionably has a role in regulation and common sense administration – the government Kennedy sought to (and sometimes, successfully did) create was not one that would have strengthened America or her families.

So the question is still a tough one. Whatever the answer is, I suggest we honor Kennedy’s motives. We applaud his commitment to public service. We take a look at ourselves and make sure that we can still love and value each other even when our worldviews are so completely different. And we respectfully survey the policies and ideas that the man put forward and advocated. For many, that process won’t bring us any closer to Senator Kennedy ideologically. That’s ok. A remarkable man.