John McCain said the other day that Kennedy's great gift was in making concessions to Republicans. That may be correct, but not in the way McCain meant it to be. Kennedy's great gift was fighting for progress without shame or obfuscation, making the moral argument for liberalism, and always trying to move the ball forward, inch by inch if that's all he could get and in great leaps if the opportunity presented itself. If he made the right concessions, it sure as hell wasn't in service of McCain's pinched and cruel agenda.There is, indeed.
He was everything the conservatives hate: a proud, fighting liberal who didn't shirk from the label. Each day his presence was a rebuke to everything they believed in. So when you hear the inevitable lugubrious paeans from the right over the next few days, keep in mind that their movement and its people spent the last 40 years treating Ted Kennedy the way they treat Barack Obama today -- with utter, single-minded contempt.
And all the while, Kennedy just kept going, getting more concessions from Republicans by being true to his principles than mealy mouthed centrism ever did. There's a lesson in that.
At the 2008 Democratic Convention, Sen. Kennedy demonstrated his passion and his principles while speaking about his hope for health care reform:
For me this is a season of hope - new hope for a justice and fair prosperity for the many, and not just for the few - new hope.If you're like me, you're wondering how to ensure that the health care reform he fought so hard for is finally passed. Here's two actions you can take.
This is the cause of my life - new hope that we will break the old gridlock and guarantee that every American - north, south, east, west, young, old - will have decent, quality health care as a fundamental right and not a privilege.
Send a message to your elected representatives telling them to pass Sen. Kennedy's H.E.L.P. Committee bill. Democrats.com made it easy for us.Add your voices to the roar. We can ensure the Liberal Lion is still heard loud and clear.
For added oomph, sign the petition asking that the H.E.L.P. Committee's bill be passed.
Chris Dodd sent an email to his list yesterday that ended with these words:
I will miss him every day I serve, and every day I live.So will we.
He did so much for so many - let's do him justice in return.