Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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August 27, 2009

PREDICTING POLITICIZATION.... It looks like word went out yesterday about what leading conservative voices should say about Ted Kennedy's death: complain about the memorial service that hasn't happened yet.

Hannity on Kennedy's death: "a lot of this was the politicizing of -- remember Paul Wellstone's death?" Discussing Kennedy's death during his radio program, Sean Hannity asserted, "We've got The Wall Street Journal reporting -- and by the way, a lot of this was the politicizing of -- remember Paul Wellstone's death? You know, 'Let's do everything for Paul.' And we're now being implored to get behind Obamacare because it's what Ted Kennedy would have wanted." [The Sean Hannity Show, 8/26/09]

Lopez on Kennedy's death: Wellstone service "turned into a political rally." The National Review Online's Kathyrn Jean Lopez wrote in an August 26 post to the blog The Corner titled "Re: The Politics of Ted Kennedy's Passing": "All politicos need to remember the Wellstone funeral when a well-known politician dies. Instead of memorializing his life, his service turned into a political rally. Some of the MSNBC coverage today I'm catching looks like a [sic] Obamacare convocation. Human life is about more than politics. And politics isn't American Idol. Or, even, The Lion of the Senate."

Allahpundit "sure" Kennedy "eulogies won't be politicized at all." Hot Air blogger Allahpundit wrote in an August 26 tweet: "Looking forward to the Democratic line-up at TK's memorial service. I'm sure the eulogies won't be politicized at all."

Instapundit: "A Wellstone Memorial on steroids?" An August 26 post on Instapundit.com linked to a post by JammieWearingFool with the headline "A Wellstone Memorial on steroids? And how did that work out?" JammieWearingFool asserted in the post, written the same day, "While we have no doubt the Democrats will do all they can to exploit his death and will probably have a Wellstone memorial on steroids, we'll stay above that." The link on the words "Wellstone memorial" were to an October 30, 2002, Slate.com article describing Wellstone's memorial services as a "pep rally."

All of this came the same day Kennedy's death was announced. In other words, one of the foremost concerns conservatives had yesterday was over a memorial service that hasn't happened, eulogies that haven't been delivered, and possible similarities to a Wellstone event that didn't happen the way they think it did.

There may be a genuine fear on the right that Kennedy's passing may inspire Democrats to complete his unfinished work, and give the left new resolve. A stirring memorial service with inspirational eulogies may have political consequences, so conservatives have apparently decided to try to crush that spirit now, before anyone starts to feel motivated to honor Kennedy's legacy.

Indeed, they're just laying the groundwork. Far-right bloggers and Fox News personalities may feel tempted to condemn Kennedy-related services when they occur, so they're letting everyone know now, "We'll be watching closely, waiting for rhetoric we don't like."

Hold services for a progressive champion that meets the demands of right-wing activists, or face their wrath.

Steve Benen 11:30 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (53)

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Bet on Ted Sorenson and the eulogist.

Posted by: theAmericanist on August 27, 2009 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

Democrats never learn that you have to attack -- you have to carry it forward. And so they reward this kind of meretricious behavior by cynical GOPs and then get a lot more of it.

Time to lead. Time to focus on a good bill -- not a bipartisan bill. Time to go on the attack when GOPs dirty political discourse this way.

Instead they are endlessly defensive and negotiate with themselves.

They are losing support not because they are 'too left' but because they are not leading.

Posted by: Artermesia on August 27, 2009 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

In the wake of this piece I can think of only one thing: what a bunch of fucking assholes these guys are. And, you know what? I do my best to avoid and ignore assholes, and if the rest of the country just did the same, we'd all be a lot better off. I know, though, that the Village can't get ENOUGH of assholes, apparently.

Posted by: LL on August 27, 2009 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

gosh, could you imagine? what sort of monsters would mention politics at the funeral of a lifetime politician, from a family of politicians? that would be like discussing taxes at an accountants funeral, or football at a quarterback's! monsters. monsters, I tell you.

Ted Kennedy would not want his funeral to be about politics. I can tell you that. he would want it to be about his lifetime of fighting for the working class in this country, and a lifetime quest, so often appearing quixotic, for decent universal healthcare in this country. to not mention those would be like having a eulogy for Dominick Dunne (RIP) that didn't mention his work on Victims' rights or as a diarist.

but still, MONSTERS!

Posted by: northzax on August 27, 2009 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

They need to shame people who try to make Kennedy's memorial an occasion to attack the values he stood for. People who rally support for what Kennedy stood for need to take to task people who sully his memory and his efforts by attacking health care reform.

Or are Democrats hopelessly slow learners?

Posted by: Artemesia on August 27, 2009 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

just wait til they organize a bunch of teabaggers to disrupt the eulogies...

Posted by: sadly on August 27, 2009 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK
"We'll be watching closely, waiting for rhetoric we don't like."

But they already don't like anything. Obama could say that "Kennedy was a good man" and they'll scream about the rhetoric.

They might as well all write their reviews of the eulogy now. What actually happens won't matter.

Posted by: gbear on August 27, 2009 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

That much Stupid in one place has to be as infectious as walking into a room full of flu victims.

Posted by: TCinLA on August 27, 2009 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

Just like whenever there is a mass shooting incident, gun-nuts always say they hope the tragedy isn't politicized in order to disarm their critics. That strategy always works.

Artermesia above is correct. Dems must learn to constantly attack. The GOP has made politics into total war, the Dems must respond accordingly.

Posted by: g. powell on August 27, 2009 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

Reading the Hannity and NR etc. stuff, I try to imagine what it would be like to have a 4-year-old Young Republican in one's household. Gimme, gimme, gimme, and if you don't, I'll buy a gun.

We need to develop some new genetic tests.

Posted by: PW on August 27, 2009 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

Riiiight. And there was no politic ideology injected anywhere in the Reagan memorial service [Scroll down a bit]

Posted by: K Ashford on August 27, 2009 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

For many on the Left and in the working class more generally, Teddy Kennedy is a hero. He is a man that saw TWO brothers MURDERED while fulfilling their internal obligations to civic duty and he never waivered. Not once. He fought longer and harder for working people that any person ever to have a seat anywhere in US government. He could have retired to a life of wealth and privilge. No. He was a patriot with true (non-jingoist) love of country and her ideals.

These smug disgraceful self-serving lilliputians have not had one-one thousandth the impact on American life, unless of course, you understand impact to really mean undermining the "puruit of happiness" for the majority of America's citizens.

Eff them. Brutus and Cassius will soon leave satan's jaws, for these ungodly hypocritic christian brutes have a new home awaiting them.


Posted by: eric on August 27, 2009 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

Reagan memorial service:


Posted by: K Ashford on August 27, 2009 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

Paul Wellstone's memorial was a political rally and Paul would have loved it.

Posted by: Beret on August 27, 2009 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

Ha, just like clockwork. I think I mentioned the Wellstone situation the other day, and here come the self-appointed memorial police all over again.

It's true, they'll claim it's being "political" no matter what anyone says, so let's get on with completing this great man's work they way he wanted it. He didn't want more delay, didn't want to perpetuate the same system we have now by forcing everyone to buy private insurance, he wanted universal healthcare and he's been trying to get it for decades. He just said earlier this year, with Baucus of all people, that reform requires a real public option so that people have a real choice.
He's been in politics his entire adult life, everyone knows what he wanted and what he stood for, so if you don't like people who eulogize him discussing those facts, then STFU and change the channel.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on August 27, 2009 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

Instead of memorializing his life, his service turned into a political rally.

I emailed Ms Lopez to ask her if she was there. No reply yet.

But really, I try to ignore such fools and you should too.

I hope the Kennedy funeral is loudly political. He was a great man, and sad, sorry little people like Ms Lopez are...well, sad and sorry. What has she ever done for anybody?

Posted by: Noam Sane on August 27, 2009 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

Let's see....Kennedy's constantly strove for health care/insurance reform.

Gee, you think it might be appropriate to mention this at a memorial?

Posted by: TonyB on August 27, 2009 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

Have I mentioned lately how much I hate these people?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!

Posted by: mrwaturi on August 27, 2009 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

I hope to hell that the Democrats politicize the sh*t out of Kennedy's memorial service. It is absolutely what Teddy would have wanted, and I can think of no better way of doing it than by doing nothing but reading excerpts from his best speeches throughout the years.

Posted by: Jimbo on August 27, 2009 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

Does this matter, doesn't anyone watching Hannity or readying Lopez already have a long established opinion on Ted Kennedy, and health care reform too, for that matter?

Posted by: Aaron on August 27, 2009 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

Hold services for a progressive champion that meets the demands of right-wing activists, or face their wrath.

It's more like 'wake up breathing, and face their wrath'.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on August 27, 2009 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

This is an understandable apprehension coming as it does from a faction that spends much of its time huffing the stench that wafts from the tomb of Ronald Reagan.

Posted by: Dennis-SGMM on August 27, 2009 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

It pleases me to have Ted Kennedy and Paul Wellstone spoken of together. Great men, both. Both of them were champions of working people, and both have left the world better than they found it, something that no modern Republican can claim.

I hope the memorial service is a huge political rally! I hope it inspires progressives and produces a health care bill that we can be proud of. I hope it makes the Republicans feel ashamed of themselves!

Posted by: PTate in MN on August 27, 2009 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, we should celebrate our Liberal Lions life in a noisy joyful way. We should also have a team of fact/reality checkers in place to beat back the BS we know is coming.

Posted by: the seal on August 27, 2009 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

"I hope it makes the Republicans feel ashamed of themselves!" Posted by: PTate

What planet have you been living on PTate? We republicans have no shame.

For the rest of you...
It is quite easy for the commentators from our side to know what is going to happen at Kennedy's funeral. What we made up as having happened at Wellstone's funeral after we had him killed is the same as what we will make up as having happened at Kennedy's funeral. And we will have plenty of platforms provided by our corporate media echo chambers to spread the word!

We win - you lose...

Of course we lie.
We know we lie.
There are no penalties for lying.
We will continue to lie.

We win - you lose...

To Dennis-SGMM...
May you rot in hell you slimy cretin! The abject nerve of your assholeness shows when you attack the memory of the greatest president and politician of all time. Ronald Reagan was so close to perfect that it is only our natural modestness that prevents us from comparing him to Jesus Christ.

Posted by: RepublicanPointOfView on August 27, 2009 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

These people are all stupid, ugly, parasitic little whores.

That's what they like about America, they think it's a place for them.

Posted by: cld on August 27, 2009 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

Howard Dean sent an email about leaving a memorial statement on Senator Kennedy's website. The site is www.tedkennedy.org. I can't link but if you go there you'll find the right spot...I think.

Posted by: Joan on August 27, 2009 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

Joe Hill - 1919: "Don't mourn, organize"

Hannity, Lopez, et al - 2009: "Mourning only is permitted"

Posted by: scott_m on August 27, 2009 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

So there's something wrong with honoring the memory of a beloved colleague by striving to achieve a goal he would have wanted you to achieve.

Guess we'll never again hear any Republican, anywhere, trot out the phrase "win one for the Gipper." I for one won't miss it.

Posted by: noncarborundum on August 27, 2009 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

It would be great if there were millions, maybe billions, of memorials! Lets do it and show what we thought of this really good man.

Posted by: Joan on August 27, 2009 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

Someday the truth will come out about who killed Paul Wellstone and the others aboard that plane. But to complain about a politicized celebration of his life and chance to grieve his early death is outrageous, when his very death was the result of mean politics and reckless spite.

Posted by: Giselle on August 27, 2009 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

Edit suggestion: Change the last word in this post from "wrath" to "hissy fit," and you've got it.

Posted by: Michael on August 27, 2009 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

Its MJ all over again, days and weeks and months of news and talk that the large majority of Americans really don't care about. The media, the politicians, the internet....like this site think we do, but we don't. Lets move on to real issues about real people, with real problems.

Posted by: on the fence on August 27, 2009 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

Ronald Reagan was so close to perfect that it is only our natural modestness that prevents us from comparing him to Jesus Christ.
Posted by: RepublicanPointOfView on August 27, 2009 at 12:30 PM |

Good One, RPOV!

I bet you stole it from Betty Bowers. . .

Posted by: DAY on August 27, 2009 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

I see that the wingnuts are still bleating (lying) about the Wellstone service that wasn't what they claimed it was. As*holes.

Simple way to diffuse: make sure that Sen Hatch and other prominent conservatives who were friends/colleagues of Ted's get a chance to speak.

Or how about plain old Americans who have benefited from Kennedy's legislation. Of course, that includes almost everyone in the country so it could be a *really* long service.

Posted by: Hannah on August 27, 2009 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

They hate terrorists, want to torture them, want to kill them, don't believe they have any kind of rights, but then, they are proud to be terrorists.

As Frank put it in Rocky Horror,

. . .I wanted to be dressed just the same

Posted by: cld on August 27, 2009 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK


Thanks for the reference and learning experience. I had to google Betty Bowers to learn who that is.

I do hope you understand that I am attempting to create a parody of rethugnicans.

That having been said, you must understand that we republicans will always be more morally correct than democrats. Everyone knows that democrats universally hate Christianity and that every republican is a pillar of moral virtue. Everyone knows that Senator Vitter and Senator Ensign and Governor Sanford are highly moral persons who were lead from the path of righteousness by democrats and have found their way back to the moral highground.

Posted by: RepublicanPointOfView on August 27, 2009 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

Hah! Wrong thread!

But it makes sense here, too.

Posted by: clkd on August 27, 2009 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

To honor Sen. Kennedy's life, Dems will cave to the rabid right - again.

Maybe Reid can lead the way since he's the most spineless of the lot.

Posted by: MsJoanne on August 27, 2009 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, what could be more crass than to talk about the causes a man devoted his life to at his memorial service?

Posted by: Stephen Stralka on August 27, 2009 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

And what exactly would the rabid right have EMK's eulogizers talk about? I mean sailing is fine, but...Kennedy devoted his last 47 years to progressive causes, what an insult it would be to ignore that?

Steve, maybe someone could hunt down Reagan eulogies from 2004 and see if any of them mentioned limited government, low taxes, ending the cold war..

Posted by: bruce k on August 27, 2009 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

Actually I'll bet the thing is going to make "The Quiet Man" look like something directed by Robert Bresson, but just let the sermon quote the Beatitudes--which were written by Karl Marx, BTW--and all hell will break loose at NRO.

Posted by: Steve Paradis on August 27, 2009 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

How can the Republicans be the party of the rich when they just don't show any class at all? No class. If I were rich I'd sure put some distance between me and these low-life, sub-primates.

Posted by: anonymous on August 27, 2009 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Yea, I can't wait to hear all the politicians praise Teddy. It will be a tear jerker for sure.

But I know who has met Teddy at the Golden Gates and that she kicked his lying, drunken, worthless self down into the Fiery pits of Hell where he belongs.

Papa Ray
West Texas

Posted by: Papa Ray on August 27, 2009 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

Papa Ray--

Let me guess, you consider yourself to be an upstanding Christian conservative who loves Jesus, right? Newsflash-- you're not getting anywhere near the pearly gates. (Mostly because they're fiction, but also because if there were a Jesus he'd reject hate-filled people like you first.)

Posted by: zoe kentucky on August 27, 2009 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

Teddy spent his entire life dedicated to politics and social justice-- so the idea that his funeral shouldn't be at all political is just plain silly.

Posted by: zoekentucky on August 27, 2009 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

These people are vile.

Posted by: Whispers on August 27, 2009 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

So, no one here would really contest that the Senator was a drunk, an adulterer, a murderer - and that he supported abortion, right?

I realize all of that is OK with the folks who hang out here, but....

Why the heck is the Catholic Church part of this with a big funeral Mass?

Posted by: Guns 'n Religion on August 27, 2009 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

It's not your funeral, for God's sake! It's his! If he wasn't your husband, your father, your grandfather, your brother, then what the hell business is it of yours how it takes place! He was a public, newsworthy figure so the funeral will be part of the news. But for God's sake, it's not your funeral so where it takes place, how it is organized, and who speaks are not really your business. That goes for Republicans and Democrats, liberals, moderates, and conservatives, journalists, news-entertainers, politicians, pundits, bloggers, blog commenters, and everyone else. I'm a Protestant pastor who more than once has had to remind a non-family member to butt out. And I'll defend your funeral too when your time comes!

Posted by: revchicoucc on August 27, 2009 at 8:29 PM | PERMALINK

So, Pastor. Serious question.

You don't see anything odd with a Catholic Mass celebrating the life of a man who was a leading and vocal proponent of something the Catholic Church declares an anathema?

I don't fault the family, I question the Church.

How can they expect practicing Catholics to question abortion when they celebrate this man?

Posted by: Guns 'n Religion on August 27, 2009 at 8:46 PM | PERMALINK

The Kennedy family is in charge of the memorial. I have never known them to do any thing that was not the epitome of good taste. Of course, we all know that these Rethugs are the most tasteless and classless group of people populating this country; so, they will not recognize class, good taste, and what is totally appropriate for the occasion when they see it. I think the only response to any or their unwarranted complaints should be "sour grapes" and then ignore them. (Look up the fable about sour grapes.)

Posted by: Bonnie on August 27, 2009 at 9:30 PM | PERMALINK

Okay, GnR, serious response.

Sometimes, the pastoral, caring office of the church, any church, takes precedence over the prophetic, doctrinal office. A funeral is one of those times.

Sure, I think the Kennedy family is prominent and wealthy and has given significant financial support to the Church's work, and a cynic can say that's the reason he gets to have a church funeral. I also think if the Catholic Church had wanted to withhold it's ministry from Ted Kennedy, it had ample opportunity to do so during his lifetime.

Are you suggesting Sen. Kennedy's faith was not genuine because he did not submit to the Catholic Church's doctrine on all matters? Is that the standard for judging his faith? Are you his judge? I know I'm not.

You'll have to ask the Archbishop of Boston how they can expect something of Catholics when they tolerate hypocrites in the church. That's really what you're saying, isn't it? Given what I know about human beings, churches would be empty if all the hypocrites were excluded.

I don't expect my church members to agree with everything I say. My liberal Protestant church doesn't have a set of doctrines to which assent is required. But I'll do a funeral for someone even if they disagreed with me. Done it many times. It's part of my pastoral responsibility.

Posted by: revchicoucc on August 27, 2009 at 10:13 PM | PERMALINK

I see you are being a good little lib, and parroting your masters' talking points from Media Matters. Nice to see people doing their jobs. hehehe

Posted by: Marianne7 on August 28, 2009 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK



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