Weekly Jackass Number Fifty-One: Ted Kennedy

How could this feature have gone so long without recognizing this week’s recipient? Perhaps it is because ANY week is a good week to honor the least-well-liked of the Kennedy clan. There is no stunt too shameless, no rhetoric too vapid, for Senator Kennedy to wallow in. Here’s the well-known crusader for women’s rights (just ask Mary Jo Kopechne!) from the well-known feminist Kennedy family (just ask Marilyn!) on Judge Alito:

“A credibility gap is emerging with each new piece of information released on Judge Alito’s record,” said Sen. Edward Kennedy, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is to begin confirmation hearings on Jan. 9.

“He bears an especially heavy burden at the hearings in January to explain the growing number of discrepancies between his current statements and his past actions,” said Kennedy, D-Mass.

This, from the man who didn’t even see fit to notify authorities of the death of Kopechne! Talk about credibility gaps (and shame on the voters who continue to send this man who, at the very least, is guilty of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated back to Congress)!

Of course, the real problem is that Alito opposes abortion, and it is abortion rights that are the bread and butter of Democratic machine politicians like Kennedy (and it is also his abortion stance that explains why women will consent to even be in the same room with him). Here’s Kennedy on the occasion of announcing his opposition to John Roberts:

…a number of my colleagues on the Committee asked Judge Roberts about issues related to women’s rights and a woman’s right to privacy. On these important matters, too, he never gave answers that shed light on his current views.

No one is entitled to become Chief Justice of the United States. The confirmation of nominees to our courts — by and with the advice and consent of the Senate — should not require a leap of faith. Nominees must earn their confirmation by providing us with full knowledge of the values and convictions they will bring to decisions that may profoundly affect our progress as a nation toward the ideal of equality.

The problem here is the problem that affects most modern liberals: moral relativism pervades Kennedy’s statement.

To a person like Kennedy, as his statement clearly shows, the law is an ever-changing social document, subject to the whims and changing morality of the populace. Thus, judicial nominees should be weighed on the outcomes for social justice and equality that their nominations might enable (some of us call this legislating from the bench).

The truth of the matter is that the role of the Supreme Court is highly limited: its only proper function is to decide on the constitutionality of the questions of law before it. There is no room for sociology coursework in the deliberations of this branch of government. That is the proper domain of the legislative and executive branch.

The proof in the pudding is the fact that justices are appointed for life. If Kennedy’s view of the Supreme Court was the correct one, why wouldn’t we want our justices to face the electorate, and stay in touch with the will of the voters?

If such questions ever cross Kennedy’s mind, the record does not show it…

Thus, we award this broad distinction on a narrow basis to a man who is surely overqualified…congrats, Teddy Boy, and have a drink on me…

67 comments to Weekly Jackass Number Fifty-One: Ted Kennedy

  • The only people talking “moderate” muslims are infidels.

    There is no room in Islam for American secularism. There is no room in Islam for anything but sharia law. Islam and democracy cannot ever and will not ever mix.

    To believe in Islam just a little is to believe it all. That’s why there is no huge “moderate” outcry – because the Quran condones and even commands murder. That’s why muslims cheer when infidels die.

    You cannot understand this through the rose-colored lenses of political correctness.

  • peter

    I’m not a soak-the-rich advocate. I’m intrigued by a flat tax. The original question was whether the Bush tax cuts are skewed to the rich, not the wisdom of doing so.

    To Knemon’s point: it is true that all income levels received tax relief, which is one reason why we have a deficit. However, in my view, the wealthy benefitted unfairly from the cuts. This is evident in the unseemly juxtaposition of the recent benefit cuts for the poor and the legislation afoot to extend the dividend tax cuts and provide other tax relief to the rich.

  • Knemon

    peter, when we talk “benefit cuts for the poor,” are we talking slowing the rate of growth in programs from 6.3 to 6.2 percent, or something more substantive than that?

    There are economic arguments for dividend tax cuts.

    You can be for those cuts because you want Scrooge McDuck to buy another gold waterbed … or because you think they’ll remove disincentives to invest, assist in capital formation, help the economy.

    It all goes back to the same damn argument: cut up the pie differently, or “make the pie higher?” (one of my favorite Bushisms – a mangled utterance that is nevertheless perfectly understandable. The man sure has a bizarre way of speaking sometimes).

  • peter

    The article in this morning’s Times reported that the cuts were substantial — I think in the $50 billion range — they include things like food stamps and aid to help pay heating bills. It’s not hyperbole to say that people will die as a result of the cuts. Consider the senior citizen who has to choose between prescription drugs and paying the heating bill. You could make the case that a President who is very vocal about the “sanctity of human life” and who flew to Washington to “save” the life of Terri Schiavo might think that eliminating the budget cuts by jettisoning the tax cuts would be a good thing to do…

    I personally benefit from dividend tax cuts, but I think they should be abolished. (My goal is to live like a Republican but vote like a Democrat). I think the economic argument for dividend tax cuts is weak, and I think they do little if anything to stir the economy. Dividend paying stocks are typically mature companies like banks, utilities, phone companies, etc. The high growth companies which contribute the most to job creation are more likely to pay little or no dividends.

    If you want to boost job creation, you would logically give tax relief to venture capital and start-ups (which is supported in the tax code by subchapter S corporations) or to the exercise of stock options (which are currently punished in the tax code by triggering the alternative minimum tax). However, I’m not sure if the government ought to use tax policy to manipulate the economy — I believe that the marketplace should determine winners and losers, and tax policy should be a neutral mechanism to raise revenue.

  • Knemon

    Okay, but is this $50 billion an actual cut, or a reduction in the rate of growth? More on that in a second, but first:

    Isn’t the problem precisely that there are people dependent on government support for survival? Shouldn’t we look for measures to reduce that population (not by killing them off, obviously – you know what I mean)?

    In my eyes, neither party is offering such measures right now. (This is why, by the way, James Carville was the best strategist you guys have had in DECADES. He knew how to spin all these things. Clinton screwed up in firing him. Kerry *really* screwed up by not putting him in charge of his campaign).

    Obviously there’s always going to be a certain number of poeple who can’t support themselves, and whose families can’t either (or who don’t have families, or are estranged, whatever). Where private charity is insufficient, I’m not one of those Ebeneezer Scrooge/Grover Norquist Republicans – I’ve got no problem with some governmental assistance too.

    So let’s say the subsidies were supposed to increase by 6.3 percent from year N to year N+1. Under the new plan, they will increase by only 6.2 percent – and this will kill people (according to you. And you may be right).

    Well, by that logic, why stop at 6.3 percent? By not increasing spending by 6.4 percent, wouldn’t we already be killing lots of old people ?
    Why not increase it by 10% per year? Why not 20?

    On this particular issue, you may be right. The Republicans may be kicking Granny out on the street (or at least cutting off her heat). Fine, raise the top tax bracket back to 39%, spend the money on Granny’s heating oil. When that money runs out … what? Back up to 45%? 50%?

    The real isssues are demographic, structural, and cultural. Neither party has the courage to propose real solutions. The Republicans will (knock on wood) keep us out of the European trap (although they may be leading us towards the Argentinian trap. So says Krugman, FWIW).

    If you don’t mind my asking, who’d you vote for in the primaries last year? (If that’s too personal, feel free to ignore my question. I’m just interested – lots of the time you sound straight-up DLC/Clintonite, which I can understand. A candidate from that wing of the party, running against Allen [e.g.], has a chance of getting my vote. Feingold? Dean? Kerry? Not so much).


    “(My goal is to live like a Republican but vote like a Democrat).”

    Are you in fact Alec Baldwin?

  • Uh-oh, peter, or should I say Alec – I think your secret has been revealed!…

  • Knemon

    So you don’t own any guns, Mark? Isn’t that illegal in Texas?

  • Yeah, but it was reduced to a misdemeanor in 1997…

  • Knemon

    You know, I’ve only been in Texas once.

    San Antonio, one of my brothers and I went with my dad on a business trip.

    I was 13 or so. I remember it being a really cool city.

    Hopefully I’ll have cause to go there more often in the future …

  • peter

    As a California resident, I think the primary was late enough that the nomination was already decided. However, if I lived in New Hampshire, I would have voted for Kerry as the best of an unimpressive lot. He was an awful campaigner but probably would have been OK as a President. I thought Howard Dean was a one issue candidate; Wesley Clark did not have the resume; and Al Sharpton is a joke. For the governor’s race, I voted to recall Gray Davis and then I voted for Bustamante (but if I had to do it over, I would have voted for Arnold, who I think is doing a first rate job).

    Regarding how much ought to go to entitlements: I think you have to draw the line based on what the needs balanced against other priorities. The government can never feed everyone who is hungry and pay for everyone who is sick — there have to be limits. We cannot afford to pay for $500,000 heart transplants for every 90 year old who needs one. On the other hand, we are building bridges to nowhere in Alaska while, according to today’s Times, the number of homeless kids has grown to 600,000. The government ought to help those who cannot help themselves. While I can’t point to the precise level of what entitlement spending ought to be, I believe that the Bush administration is far short of the goal of helping the helpless, and far too generous to those who have ample resources to take care of themselves.

  • peter

    And as for Alec Baldwin: I wish…

  • Knemon

    You are so damn resonable, peter. Please say “Bushitler” or “chickenhawk” a few times, to reinforce my preconceived notions.

    So, not a fan of Lieberman, I take it?

    Hey – I like Arnold too! I think we agree more than we disagree. “We’re not so different, you and I …”

  • Knemon

    But I do have one quibble: cutting someone’s taxes isn’t being “generous” to them – or at least, that’s not the first word I would use.

    Giving someone something = generous
    Not taking something from someone = ?

    Again, one of these differences that I don’t think we can rationally convince each other of through argument. Maybe political differences, at bedrock level, are like aesthetic preferences – you’re either a Beatles man, or an Elvis man?

  • peter

    Oh, definitely a Beatles man. Attended the Bengladesh concert in Madison Square Garden and later saw John Lennon (with Yoko and Elephant’s Memory) at the same place. Saw them on Ed Sullivan, too. Elvis never did it for me.

    I am sure that there are many things we agree on — I try not to be dogmatic and to go where (I think) the truth leads. And I do like Lieberman (as well as people like Orren Hatch and Sam Brownback — even though I think they are 100% wrong about everything — because they are men of principle).

    As for generosity — well, maybe. As a recently deceasied Senator (Herman Talmadge?) said, “don’t tax you, don’t tax me, tax that guy behind the tree.” You have to raise taxes somehow, so you might as well raise them equitably.

  • Knemon

    “You have to raise taxes somehow”

    Or you could cut the budget. Not (just) granny’s heating oil – first go after the “bridge to nowhere” crap, sugar subsidies (which will mess up FL’s economy, and so this will obviously never happen because FL is one of the two most important states, electorally speaking [with OH]).

    Plus means-testing Social Security. (Which will also never happen, of course, because old people have nothing better to do with their time than vote and write angry letters to politicians).

  • Ted Kennedy is proposing legislation to make obsolete military bases like Fort Devens into permanant housing for the nation’s disabled war veterans and their families. It is an example of the kind of thing the legislature should be focusing on instead of ignoring, since the military is the tool the legislature uses when our freedoms are threatened. When they decided to spin the wheel and it landed on Iraq (not even a logical first choice) they knew in advance there could be thousands of dead and wounded,with families that would be left to struggle on their own. It’s a national disgrace, and it’s good to see someone trying to do something about it before Fort Devens and other closed military bases get sold to contractors.

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