Friday, April 21, 2006

Ted Kennedy Does Late Night

Ted Kennedy was on the Daily Show last night, raising my blood pressure just before bed. Anyway, he's running for re-election. Again. And he has a new book. Fine. If I could get my hands on a full transcript of the interview, it might make for classic fisking fodder, but there were a couple of choice statements that stood out last night.

  • At one point, Kennedy said that his vote against the Iraq War was the "most important" of his Senate career. He seemed to have forgotten a few other votes:

    • The Civil Rights Act of 1964

    • The Voting Rights Act of 1965

    • The Americans with Disabilities Act

    • The Department of Housing and Urban Development Act

    • The Higher Education Act of 1965, which developed federal college financial aid.

    • You know, all of those major votes that Kennedy built his senate career on? Even Jon Stewart looked like he wanted to call the liberal lion out.

  • He noted that the "Democrats got us out of Vietnam." Ahem, the Democrats got us pretty well entrenched in Vietnam, including a Democrat who Teddy knew quite well. I'm not saying that the Republicans had their hands clean by any stretch, but good God -- he had a ringside seat on this one!

  • He also noted that there was too much money in American politics. Of course, he's sitting on $8.5 million dollars to run unopposed in a state that has not sent a Republican to Congress in, what, over 20 years? He's not noting a problem; he's a part of the problem.

Does he listen to himself anymore, really? I have no delusions about the GOP picking up his seat anytime soon, but can we just put him out to pasture already?

And, it's sad, actually. I heard another interview with him yesterday on NPR's "Fresh Air". When asked about how one would fund all of the proposals in his new book, he made a point about the GI Bill: a government study some years ago found that for every dollar spent on the program, the government got back seven. A 600% return on investment gets anyone's attention.

Kennedy, for the first time since he's been my senator, sounded eminently reasonable.

I'm not saying that his data marks the end of the inquiry -- we would obviously take a closer look at the numbers -- but it's a better starting point than we usually have when it comes to policy discussion about social issues. Unfortunately, though, the junior Democratic members of Congress don't have the institutional knowledge on hand to make those arguments, and the senior ones like Kennedy usually opt against it in favor of some nonsense that appeals to the progressive interest group of the week.

And, as a result, I endeavor not to burst any blood vessels when he is on the television.

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Anonymous Cardinal Martini said...

His most important vote. Ya gotta wonder if he's out of his mind or if he's just playing to all the morons out there who can't remember anything that happened more than a few years ago.

3:12 PM  
Anonymous Libby said...

It's so time for Teddy to hang it up and get some fresh faces in there. Of course Byrd has managed to stay in office way past the point of senility.

10:19 AM  

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