When Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts was first diagnosed with the brain tumor that killed him tonight, Songbird Sen. Orrin Hatch, the Republican representative from Utah, serenaded the “legendary liberal.” Hatch’s court poetry is nothing compared to what we have coming now that Ted’s dead. Prepare for non-stop, wall-to-wall eulogizing.
Here’s some of what the “Praise Singer” wrote for Kennedy last year:
Through the darkness, we can find a pathway,
that will take us halfway to the stars.
Shoo the shadows and doubts away, and touch the legacy that is ours, yours and mine.
The legacy? Some time back, my father in South Africa reminded me of who Ted Kennedy REALLY was:
“A man who left a young girl to drown”:
“On the evening of July 19, 1969, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts drove his Oldsmobile off a wooden bridge on Chappaquiddick Island, drowning his passenger, a young campaign worker named Mary Jo Kopechne. The senator left the scene of the accident, did not report it to the police for many hours, and according to some accounts considered concocting an alibi for himself in the interim. … At the time, Kennedy managed to escape severe legal and political consequences for his actions thanks to his family’s connections…”
A truism about the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island soon developed that alluded to the young woman who died as a result of Kennedy’s criminal negligence: “More people died in the back seat of Ted Kennedy’s car at Chappaquiddick than died as a result of that accident.” One person—Mary Jo Kopechne—died because of Kennedy’s inaction.
Amidst the genuflection to TK, Americans would do well to reflect on one of this man’s defining acts.
Another was the reshaping of America through state-engineered immigration policies. Kennedy, almost single-handedly, helped pass the legislation that has transformed America: The 1965 Amendments to the Immigration and Nationality Act.
Before 1965, immigration occurred in manageable ebbs and flows, ensuring the new arrivals were thoroughly assimilated and integrated. Multiculturalism was unheard of. But in 1965, with no real debate or voter participation, the U.S. Congress, pushed by that great democrat TK, replaced the national-origin immigration criterion (which ensured newcomers reinforced the historical majority) with a multicultural, all-nations-are equal quota system, which effectively resulted in an emphasis on mass importation of people from the Third World.
This new immigration policy has produced a continuous human tsunami. Every qualified immigrant holds an entry ticket for his entire extended family.
Among his many charming attributes, and like all liberals, Senator Edward Kennedy was also a NIMBY—a not-in-my-backyard environmentalist: he opposed wind farms in Nantucket Sound, offshore from his Hyannis Port compound. Naturally, he recommended them almost everywhere else.
Update I (August 26): Some of the “Liberal Lion’s” legislative feats:
* The unholy McCain-Kennedy-Specter trinity attempted to legalize 20 million deadwood illegal immigrants in the Bush era.
* The AG JOBS Act (Agriculture Jobs Opportunity Benefits and Security). Known in the immigration industry as “camouflaged amnesty,” this program turns illegals aliens into born-again “guest workers” and then puts them on the fast track to his salvation: the status of permanent residence.
Update II: Can we agree that with the following legislative “accomplishment,” no legislator did more than Ted to sunder the old, decentralized republic of property rights and limited government?
* Head Start “as part of the 1964 Economic Opportunity Act, the centerpiece of the War on Poverty.”
* Title IX
* Endless increases in minimum wage
* Family and Medical Leave Act
* Americans With Disabilities Act
* No Child Left Behind Act
* Hate crimes legislation
* Championed “unrestricted access to abortion even in late term and for teens crossing state lines.”
* Opposed the nomination to the SCOTUS of Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito, and borked Robert Bork in a singularly malicious manner.
A support for nuclear reduction treaties and an opposition to the Iraq war may have been his only merits as a politician. Of course, about his boy Obama’s wars, Ted was “too sick” to pipe up.
Update III: MORE ON TED’S MOST treacherous impetus against his country. “Kennedy fashioned the modern day immigration system,” writes Kathy Kiely approvingly:
“Sen. Edward Kennedy’s first major legislative victory helped change the face of the country and shaped his own political career.
In 1965, Kennedy had been in the Senate less than three years. His party’s leaders gave him the job of pushing a bill to eliminate the quota system that had made it virtually impossible for anyone from anywhere but western Europe to immigrate to the USA.
Eliminating national quotas for immigration had been the goal of every U.S. president since Harry Truman— including Kennedy’s brother John F. Kennedy. That was probably one reason that ‘Ted seized the cause,’ in the words of his biographer, Adam Clymer. Passage marked ‘the first of many times Ted Kennedy fulfilled an unfinished dream of one of his brothers,’ Clymer wrote.
It was also the first of many times that Kennedy found himself at the
forefront of an issue of a cause that he came to see as a personal crusade.
‘From the windows of my office in Boston … I can see the Golden Stairs from Boston Harbor where all eight of my great-grandparents set foot on this great land for the first time,’ Kennedy told Senate colleagues in a 2007 speech. ‘That immigrant spirit of limitless possibility animates America even today.’
Beginning with the 1965 bill, which opened the doors for the flood of Latin American and Asian immigrants who dramatically altered the nation’s demography, to the end of his life, Kennedy remained the Senate’s most impassioned advocate for widening opportunities for America’s newcomers.
‘He fashioned the modern-day legal system of immigration. He created humane refugee and asylum policies. And he has set the stage for a 21st century solution to the problem of illegal immigration,’ said Frank Sharry, an immigrant rights advocate who worked with Kennedy on legislation.
Among the immigration measures that Kennedy helped shape:
*A 1980 bill that established a system for refugee resettlement in the USA and nearly tripled the number of people who would qualify for admission.
*A 1986 bill that granted amnesty to an estimated 2.7 million people living illegally in the USA and established penalties against employers who hired illegal immigrants.
*A 1990 bill that revised the legal immigration system to allow for more
immigrants and more high-skilled workers.
For all of his accomplishments, Sharry thinks Kennedy will be best known for the work he did with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., on a bill that failed. The legislation would have put an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants on a path to citizenship and plugged holes in the employer sanctions system. It collapsed despite its powerful backers, including President Bush.
Sharry remains convinced that Kennedy ‘laid the groundwork’ for a bill that eventually will pass. President Obama has made an immigration overhaul along the lines of the Kennedy-McCain bill one of his top legislative priorities.
On the day the bill failed in 2007, Kennedy himself predicted its backers
would be vindicated. ‘We will be back and we will prevail,’ he said.”
Update V: Ann Coulter put the Kennedy borking in perspective:
“Sen. Teddy Kennedy accused Reagan nominee Robert Bork of trying to murder women, segregate blacks, institute a police state and censor speech – everything short of driving a woman into a lake! – within an hour of Reagan’s announcing Bork’s nomination.”
Update V (August 27): SACRED COW SYNDROME STRIKES. I’ve been strict to remove any excessively splenetic comments from BAB, but why spare the readers the measure of the man? Michelle Malkin is acting all schoolmarmish, exhorting the faithful to “mark this passing with solemnity.” And “There is a time and place for political analysis and criticism. Not now.”
Against that folly, I quote the great Hebrew sage Hillel:
“If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?“—Hillel.
The same mushy headedness leads Michelle to declare this incoherent tract “the best reflection and round-up on Kennedy’s death I’ve read.”
A slightly better exercise in silly positive thinking can be found at Reason, in Nick Gillespie’s breathy “The Good things Kennedy did.” Yes, let’s do celebrate the deregulation of the interstate trucking industry and airline ticket prices, courtesy of Kennedy.
Always keenly attuned to futuristic, dynamic, Big Picture themes, Gillespie’s thesis is, well, ridiculous:
“In an increasingly flat, dispersed, networked world in which power, information, knowledge, purchasing power, and more was rapidly decentralizing, Kennedy was all for sitting at the top of a pyramid and directing activity. … Kennedy was in fact a man out of time, a bridge back to the past rather than a guide to the future. His mind-set was very much of a piece with a best-and-the-brightest, centralized mentality that has never served America well over the long haul.”
What has cultivating the best-and-the-brightest have to do with centralization? And how is centralization a thing of the past, when local and global overweening government is growing? Yes, the state is at odds with the market. But the state is not at odds with the demands of the mass of mankind.
Reason is so pompously puerile.
Update V (August 28): “Some important lessons from Ted Kennedy,” by Roger Kimball:
“I am deeply grateful for the contribution that Ted Kennedy, who died last night, made to my education. Until Kennedy delivered his intemperate tirade against Robert Bork’s nomination to the Supreme Court in the summer of 1987, I hadn’t known that a United States Senator could brazenly lie to his colleagues and the American people and get away with it. I’m not talking about little fibs, or broken promises, or private dissimulations: all that I took as standard operating procedure in a fallen world. No, Ted Kennedy raised — that is to say, he dramatically lowered — the standard by standing up on the floor of the Senate and emitting one lie after the next against one of the finest legal minds America has ever produced. “Robert Bork’s America,” he said
A breathtaking congeries of falsehoods that, were they not protected by the prerogatives of senatorial privilege, would have taken a conspicuous place in the annals of malicious slander and character assassination. In The Tempting of America, Judge Bork recounts his incredulity at this tissue of malign fabrication. “It had simply never occurred to me that anybody could misrepresent my career and views as Kennedy did.” At the time, he notes, many people thought that Kennedy had blundered by emitting so flagrant, and flagrantly untrue, an attack. They were wrong. His “calculated personal assault, . . . more violent than any against a judicial nominee in our country’s history,” did the job (with a little help from Joe Biden  and Arlen Specter ). Not only was Kennedy instrumental in preventing a great jurist from taking his place on the Supreme Court, he also contributed immeasurably to the cheapening of American political discourse. The fact that “bork” has entered the language as a transitive verb is, I’ve always thought, a final unfairness. Really, the verb should involve the name “Kennedy.” Less staccato, I admit, but in that scenario, the malfeasance was practiced not by Robert Bork but Edward Kennedy and his cronies.
Indeed, Kennedy was a veritable fount of enlightenment. A waddling argument for the wisdom of term limits, he showed the world how, provided you came from a rich and unscrupulous family, you can get caught cheating  on a Spanish test at Harvard and still manage to graduate a few years later.
But of course, Ted Kennedy’s most important lesson for the world involved Mary Jo Kopechne…”