We do not honor Ted Kennedy‘s memory by perpetuating his mistakes.Â Â Despite all of the live prime time cable TV coverage last night of speeches extolling his legislative accomplishments and willingness to reach across the aisle on occasion, Kennedy’s extreme views on foreign policy, judicial appointments and health care are not worthy of emulation.
Unlike his brother John F. Kennedy who understood the Soviet menace and America’s special mission to carry the torch of liberty throughout the world, Ted Kennedy was a moral relativist when it came to dealing with our enemies.Â Â An anti-war and nuclear freeze advocate to the core, he wasÂ one of theÂ charter members of the ‘blame America’ crowd who tried to appease the Soviet Union.Â He was aÂ strong opponent of effective intelligence gathering programs.Â Â Â Â He did not understand the gravity ofÂ theÂ Islamic terrorist threat, and in 2007 voted against designating Iran’s Revolutionary Guards as terrorists ( Senator Obama was also against this designation but did not vote at the time).Â Kennedy was also against virtually whatever it took to prevent another 9/11 catastrophe.
With respect to judicial appointments, it was Ted Kennedy more than any other Senator who turned Senate confirmation hearings into the poisonous, partisan battles that they have become.
Within 45 minutes of Judge Robert Bork’s nomination to the Supreme Court,Â Ted KennedyÂ took to the Senate floor with a slanderous attackÂ against Bork in a nationally televised speech, declaring:
“Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the Government, and the doors of the Federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is — and is often the only — protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy… President Reagan is still our president. But he should not be able to reach out from the muck of Irangate, reach into the muck of Watergate and impose his reactionary vision of the Constitution on the Supreme Court and the next generation of Americans. No justice would be better than this injustice.”
Kennedy’s style of vicious personal attack against a Supreme Court nominee became known as “borking“.
With regard to health care, Ted Kennedy’s visionÂ to the end wasÂ a government take-over of one-sixth of the U.S. economy and crippling taxes to pay for it.Â He called it “the cause ofÂ my life”.Â Advocates of universal socialized medicine like Nancy Pelosi are urging quick passage of legislation to bring Ted Kennedy’s vision to life.Â This would be a disastrous mistake.
Let notÂ Kennedy’s Â misguided causes live on to become our albatrosses.