Kathy Petersen’s Blog


Posted in politics by Kathy on August 30, 2009

Ted Kennedy passed away recently. Many people, particularly women, have mentioned how he championed women’s rights and women’s causes. Of course, his dealings with Mary Jo Kopechne are well known; less well known are his other dealings with women. Perhaps they were intentionally ignored by liberal feminists who would have castigated him personally, but felt that he was too important politically to their particular cause to disavow. Perhaps, like so many people about my age or younger, they just didn’t know. After all, it’s old news — Mary Jo Kopechne drowned 50 years ago, after all; and even the William Kennedy Smith rape scandal was 18 years ago. I remember it, of course — quite a tawdry affair. I did not remember that Ted was involved in the happenings of the night, though. Perhaps his part was downplayed by the media. My recollection of it, was that had it not involved a Kennedy nephew, it wouldn’t have even been news — I didn’t realize that a sitting U.S. Senator had played a role. And, indeed, for the past nearly 18 years, Edward Kennedy kept his nose clean, and apparently kept his pants zipped — always a good thing for politicians!

One of my online friends posted a recollection, perhaps a video, or an old article (or a recent eulogy of a past occurrence) of Kennedy grilling formula manufacturers for their role in reducing breastfeeding and thereby increasing infant deaths. I didn’t read it — just saw the headline. Frankly, I don’t really care too much about Kennedy, and am only glad that this “royal family” [barf] in America is dying out — or at least, the political influence is. [Clarifying to say that I don’t wish anyone death, nor rejoice in the death of anyone, but I look at the Kennedy family, and I say, “WHY?? Why were they so revered? Why were they so honored? What did they really contribute? And since they are on the opposite side of the political spectrum as I am, I can only be glad that their influence is diminishing, and hope no one comes up to take their place, so that conservatism becomes stronger and liberalism — particularly the peddling of influence, which is, I think, what made the Kennedys so important — becomes weaker.] The article I linked to already talks about how various feminist organization joined in the general eulogizing of the late Senator. So that is one point of irony.

The other point of irony, is that socialized medicine has apparently been a driving force, a life-long desire of Ted Kennedy. While the bills look a little sick at the moment, they may still pass, and it is the first time in a long time that that has been even a possibility. So, now he’s dead. Of course, they are now talking about reviving more interest in the bill(s), and renaming the Senate version in his honor. Fair enough. Although the Democrats hold a significant majority in both houses, there are enough moderate and conservative Democrats to hold this up, so every liberal vote counts. With Kennedy’s death, Massachusetts is short one Senator. Up until 2004, the governor could appoint a successor to fill the empty seat; but during 2004, Senator John Kerry was running for President, and the Democrats in the state legislature got worried that Republican governor Mitt Romney would appoint a Republican should Kerry win and thus vacate the seat. With Kennedy’s help and encouragement, the legislature quickly passed a bill stating that the governor could no longer appoint a successor, but there would have to be a special election, no sooner than X days after the seat became vacant, and no later than X days after the seat became vacant (I think the spread was something like 120-165 days). That law still stands, although there is a movement afoot to repeal that law, because suddenly it would be horrible should Massachusetts be without a Senator for any serious length of time. But at least for the moment, it stands; and Kennedy’s seat is vacant. Should the bill come up for a vote, it may fail. Kennedy can’t cast a vote for it, and the supreme irony is, that if it fails by one vote because his seat is empty, it would be his own fault, for being so partisan 5 years ago, and helping get a law to pass, that is now biting his precious socialized medicine bill in the butt. How ironic.


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