The Mary Jo Kopechne Memorial Bridge

Kennedy Health Care
Photo Credit: Grouchy Old Cripple

Forty years ago, Ted Kennedy came upon a narrow, unlit bridge without guardrails and drove his car off the bridge where it overturned killing Mary Jo Kopechne.

There have been calls to name the health care bill now being rammed down our throats as the Teddy Kennedy Memorial Health Care Reform Bill (1).

I think it would be a mistake, a wrong turn in the road, if we passed this hastily cobbled together, unread thousand page bill simply to honor Ted Kennedy. We have to remember that it was a mistake, a wrong turn in the road in the first place that led to the death of Mary Jo Kopechne.

Some might say it is petty and mean to piss on a dead man's grave, but Ted Kennedy was not a good man. Because he was more interested in boosting his own image rather than truly helping the downtrodden, the poor are even more poor and miserable now than they were in the 60s when the programs of the Great Society were passed in honor of his brother J.F.K. Which only proves it is a mistake to pass bills simply to honor the dead. Read For God's Sake Stop Helping the Poor.

If the Congress wants to do some noble act, to pass a bill to memorialize someone, then it should appropriate some money to fix that bridge on Chappaquiddick Island. Call it The Mary Jo Kopechne Memorial Bridge.

But certainly it would be immoral to name anything after Ted Kennedy.



Balloon Juice Blog, Time for the Teddy Kennedy Memorial Health Care Reform Bill

When his fatal illness was announced last year, a lot of the professional cynics in the “mainstream” media were shocked at how many people, of all political affiliations and income levels, had been touched by Teddy’s kindness while their loved ones were undergoing treatment in Boston’s great medical institutions. Going back to the early 1970s, when his son lost a leg and almost lost his life to bone cancer, it seems that Teddy had done a thousand small kindness for the families of cancer patients, especially pediatric patients—visiting devasted parents and terrified children, arranging special daytrips, setting his staff to battle recalcitrant insurance companies for the benefit of people who’d never have the chance to vote for him, under circumstances where no favorable publicity would accrue to him. The man did some terrible and many very stupid things in his life, but he also spent half a century in service, public and private, as atonement.

The glee of Senator Kennedy’s enemies and ours will be unbounded over the next few days. I’m sure the birfers, astroturfers, industry shills, talibangelicals, Blue Dog DINOs, glibertarians, neocons, and general malefactors of great wealth will weep crocodile tears as they lament that Teddy’s death should not be used as an opportunity by crass liberals to pass the kind of serious health care reform he spent the last thirty years championing. And that, my friends and President Obama, is why it’s time to come back after Labor Day with a single coherent Senator Edward M. Kennedy Health Care Reform Bill, and to twist whatever arms, ears, or other parts are necessary to get a good strong comprehensive bill passed and signed, NOW. We owe the memory of a great man no less.

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