I have written on this before so please no righteous indignation that I'm using the Mr. Kennedy's passing for some evil or exploitative reason. To the contrary; poor Senator Kennedy was exploited by members of the Congress and the Administration in his final year who were more concerned with their own agenda than what was best for Ted Kennedy.
Here is NOT how Mr. Kennedy died: two days ago, Senator Kennedy, returning from his normal 20 mile jog feeling invigorated, received a phone call from his doctor stating that, while in perfect health otherwise, unfortunately had a brain tumor and would be dead within 48 hours. Poor Ted Kennedy has been in failing health for years; diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor in May of last year. He collapsed during President Obama's Inaugural lunch. He has spent more time in the hospital or at home bedridden than in the Senate for this entire session. Most recently, he missed his own sisters funeral because of his poor health.
Senator Kennedy should have retired as soon as his health began failing. He should have been allowed to live his last years with his family. His "friends" and colleagues, both in Washington and Massachusetts, should have convinced him to. But instead they exploited Ted Kennedy's Achilles Heel. All the Kennedy children were raised under the mantra Great Wealth brings Great Responsibility. That concept is an admirable one. Agree or disagree with his politics, the Senator did so to the best of his ability for over 46 years. As an aside, I do support term-limits for members of Congress for the same reason our Presidents are limited to two terms. In the case of Senator Kennedy, he served to the point where he was not physically or mentally able to properly do so.
That didn't stop Senate Democrat Leaders from literally wheeling him in on a gurney when they needed his vote. The Kennedy/Waxman Bill; now the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, was created by special interests, does more to encourage cigarette smoking than to stop it, and was hastily signed by President Obama "for Senator Kennedy".
If healthy members of Congress publicly and freely admit to not reading Kennedy/Waxman or most other bills they vote on because "they are thousands of pages long and they would never have the time to do anything else if they did", I'm very confident Ted Kennedy never read the entire bill bearing his name. As liberal as he was, I wonder if the Ted Kennedy of twenty years ago would have been able to stomach half of what was in this now-law.
President Obama could not have possibly read Kennedy/Waxman before signing it. As a struggling nicotine addict like the 46MM American cigarette smokers not to mention American smokeless tobacco users, he would have immediately seen it for what it was and vetoed it....probably. I admit to being among the millions of Americans who have absolutely know idea what Mr. Obama's agenda, philosophy, or vision for America is anymore. Freeze Social Security cost of living adjustments for three years, then cut Medicare benefits and raise premiums in the name of efficiency? Is that how Government delivers affordable health-care? Set up a White House web page where fellow travellers could email the names of honest Americans who disagree with him? Who knows what he would have done even if he did read Kennedy/Waxman before signing it.
Rest in peace and in dignity, Edward Kennedy: I hope so, at least. I'm reminded of the movie 'Weekend at Bernies'. As low as Washington seems to have sunk into the mud, I don't think even THEY would follow that example. Well, maybe Nancy Pelosi, but she rules the House; not the Senate.
FORMER Smoker; CURRENT Swedish Snus User; PROUD but disappointed American
Reporting From SnusCENTRAL.org