Thursday, August 27, 2009

Edward M. Kennedy, 1932-2009

My purpose is not to contribute to the hagiography being built up around the late Sen. Edward Kennedy. I disagree with, probably, 90% of what he stood for in his public life. I pray that he is at peace, and that his family will find comfort in its sorrow.

One of the problems with being in public life is that everything, the good (able to work on bipartisan projects), the bad (Chappaquiddick), and the ugly (protesting windmills in Cape Cod) are out front and in public. The privacy we ordinary mortals take for granted is denied to such people. Of course, it is part of the price one pays for being a public person; but it is something that most of us hypocritically tend to forget.

If a health care bill is passed, it would be fitting that it bear his name; but I object to the idea that a health care bill should pass just because he supported it. This is not the first time "memorial legislation" has been offered. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 at the time was billed as a memorial to his brother John. Legislation should always be judged on its merits and on nothing else.

Health care legislation is too complex and too intrusive to even be considered at the federal level. At the state or local level, it needs to be considered very carefully with the needs of all the competing interests taken into account.

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