Ted Kennedy's last battle

If the late senator had been well enough for the healthcare fight, he might have pushed Republicans toward sanity

Published August 26, 2009 9:30AM (EDT)

I'm on vacation Tuesday and Wednesday but I had to at least acknowledge Sen. Ted Kennedy's death. I wish healing and comfort for his family. As an Irish Catholic I've spoken before about the impact of the Kennedys on my personal and political conscience; I may write more later.

But it's my job to talk about the political impact of Kennedy's death, and I have to say: Despite Sen. Orrin Hatch's statement this weekend that Kennedy would have brokered a bipartisan healthcare bill, absolutely no evidence supports that point of view. So Democrats must actively refute Hatch's (now multiple) statements insisting healthcare reform would have Republican support if Kennedy were still in the Senate, glad-handing and arm-twisting.

That's completely dishonest. If Kennedy moved hearts and minds in the Senate, it would be by moving Republicans towards sanity. Since I don't believe Republicans have any interest in bipartisan compromise, a healthy Ted Kennedy would be kicking Republican asses -- while possibly treating them warmly in person. A healthy Ted Kennedy would never have put up with the unhealthy politics of the Republican Party on healthcare -- and Orrin Hatch should be ashamed, on the occasion of Kennedy's death, to have said otherwise.

By Joan Walsh

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Democratic Party Healthcare Reform