In November 2002, Time Magazine asked whether Democratic misbehavior at Paul Wellstone’s funeral cost the party a senatorial seat when Norm Coleman beat Walter Mondale in a tight race in Minnesota. At the time, there was polling evidence that the service was a political disaster that cost the Democrats nationally as well. While there was no repeat of such boorish behavior at Senator Ted Kennedy’s funeral, the Democrats are shamelessly attempting to exploit his death by pushing “Teddy Care.” CNN reported, perhaps hopefully, that Kennedy’s death might bring about the changes in health care that he was unable to achieve during his lifetime.
If the Democrats continue to exploit “Teddy Care,” they will do so at a risk of a similar backlash. Even Politico weighed in on the controversy as more and more conservatives are appalled at the inappropriate politicization of Kennedy’s death in order to get sympathy votes to stop the debate and quickly pass radical health care reform measures – in the face of overwhelming rejection by the American public. Right now, voters’ voices are being heard – even over the special interest groups that are spending three times as much to promote a socialist approach to health care.
Oddly enough (but not surprisingly), the Democrats are rewriting history to make it appear that it was Republicans who politicized Paul Wellstone’s death. But the record is clear – polling by Democrats at the time substantiated that it was their party that booed GOP speakers and turned the funeral into an appalling media event. Now it is MoveOn.org, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who are trying to capitalize on their colleague’s passion for health care reform to galvanize their party faithful into ramming through the measures they haven’t been able to generate public support for. It appears that experience has given the public a much better understanding of the unintended consequences of government policies than it has the legislators themselves. But then, they opted themselves out.
Remember way back when? The DCCC was offended that some radio talk show hosts, including Rush Limbaugh, predicted that the Democrats would crassly name the outrageous health care reform bill for Senator Kennedy. The reality is that television coverage of Kennedy’s death has not been widely viewed, and outside the Beltway he is not a household name. His political positions were far to the left of most Americans, and his personal life was not admired. He was, at best, a discomfiting figure, in spite of the many reports of personal friendship and negotiating skill. Most agree with the former Massachusetts Attorney General, Edward J. McCormack, Jr., who remarked that if Ted’s name had been merely Edward Moore instead of Edward Moore Kennedy, he would never have won an election. Even so, with his inherited wealth, Kennedy was rich enough to have lived a life of leisure instead of devoting himself to public office. In death, perhaps balancing his efforts against failing you might feel – as the media surely does – that he deserves to disappear from the scene without having all his past aired again … unless, of course, you happen to put yourself in the place of a certain young staffer whose association with the man cost her life.
In many respects, it would be entirely appropriate to have a bloated package of entitlements and misguided benevolence named for a man who has spent his Senate career promoting radical causes – the “Great Society” provisions, the “War on Poverty” that dramatically increased poverty, the misleading 1965 Immigration Act and later support for essentially open doors for illegal immigration, “pro-choice” advocacy that has resulted in unprecedented numbers of abortions. Each turned into massive expenditures that increased the problems they were meant to solve. Remember that old adage: “We always get more of whatever the government pays for.” Now the government stands to play the role of “daddy” for the 40 percent of the nation’s children who are born out of wedlock. Plus, everyone knows how the “government” mismanages things. Remember Hurricane Katrina, where churches and corporations provided better and quicker responses than FEMA?
While the nation faces unprecedented national debt and a stimulus package that economists say is not working, voters are not willing to support so-called reforms that will add substantially to the financial crisis.
But there are deeper concerns.
In spite of the outcry when Sarah Palin declared that President Obama’s proposal included “death panels,” the facts lean in Sarah’s favor. If we give the government control over health care, there will be rationing, and some government bureaucrat will most certainly determine who gets medical treatment and who does not. We are just one bill away from physician-assisted suicide and situations like the Terri Schindler-Schiavo case, where a handicapped woman was denied food and water. President Obama insists that the reforms will not include federally-funded abortions, and he accused conservatives who argued otherwise of “bearing false witness.” But despite that crafty bit of Biblical stone-throwing, the health reform bill will authorize the government plan to cover “elective abortions.” The Hyde Amendment will not prevent the direct federal funding of abortions, because the health care bill allows some federal funds to bypass the Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS) Appropriations bill, directly authorizing and appropriating them and, thus, shielding them from coverage by the Hyde Amendment and other provisions that have historically prevented the direct funding of abortions.
“Teddy Care” will not be a warm, fuzzy policy that the public can embrace with affection and appreciation. Instead, the anti-life provisions in the Obama-Pelosi health care plan will prove to be as lethal as a hungry grizzly bear and, like avoiding contact with the grizzly bear, voters should do everything possible to avoid such a menacing threat to citizens’ health and well-being as “Teddy Care.”