Scott Brown and the “Kennedy Seat”

Read Adrian Walker’s outstanding column today, in which Walker convincingly thrashes Brown for disrespecting the legacy of the guy whose Senate seat Brown is now warming.

The fact is, falsely invoking a deceased political icon is sleazy. Ted Kennedy never wavered on the right to contraception, and distorting his words to score cheap political points should be beneath a sitting US senator. Refusing to back down [after Ted Kennedy's son called him on it] – as though he is defending some issue of principle, which he isn’t – is even more reprehensible….

Kennedy would never have worked with Brown to restrict contraception; he would be firmly against him.

Brown has every right to disagree, but a senator worthy of his seat should be able to own his positions, without buttressing them with phony alliances and outright deceptions.

To be sure, Brown is not the first to invoke a “deceased political icon” – witness the video clips of Ronald Reagan that surfaced during the chatter about the “Buffett Rule.”  But at least in those cases, we had Reagan himself speaking on video.  Here, Brown is seriously distorting Kennedy’s position, as we’ve already discussed twice, and yet insisting that Kennedy would have agreed with him.  It’s disrespectful, and it’s dishonest.

It’s also, frankly, pathetic.  If Scott Brown believes the crazy Blunt Amendment is the right thing to do, he should just man up and say why, without trying to hide behind Senator Kennedy’s legacy.  It’s ironic indeed that Brown, who in almost every significant respect stands in opposition to what Ted Kennedy was trying to accomplish – including, not irrelevantly, universal health care – seems to think that his best chance at reelection is to persuade the voters that he’s the true heir to the Kennedy legacy.  Maybe it really is the “Kennedy Seat” after all.

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21 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. The difference between

    referring to Kennedy and Reagan is simple and important. As you say, there’s a difference between what Kennedy believed and how he’s quoted. He’s referring to Catholics in health professions, about abortions, not birth control: ,

    I believe in a conscience protection for Catholics in the health field and I’ll continue to advocate for it as my colleagues in the Senate and I work to develop an overall national health policy that guarantees health care for everyone

    Brown is distorting what Ted Kennedy said, pure and simple. My guess is that he will pay the political price for it.

    Reagan, however, was not shown out of context. Showing clips of Reagan supporting a position akin to the Buffett Rule was merely documenting his apparent belief. As a sainted Republican, it presses the point of whether or not the current GOP is being true to his memory.

    • I find it strange

      that most people looking at the language of that letter from Kennedy will read it as such, and Brown just decides to ignore centuries of English speakers to put his own spin on this??

      “conscience protection for Catholics in the health field

      This whole thing fails on such a basic reading comprehension level (as does his reading of the Blunt amendment) that I worry that maybe he’s losing his mind – early onset Alzheimers? Or something. This is just crazy town.

      • Incoherent, Not Independent

        This move by the Brown campaign just makes no political sense. In fact, it makes Brown look like he makes no sense. Calling on the ghost of Ted Kennedy is something that could get lost in the 24-hour national media, but it won’t get lost in at the state level.

        Brown has no deep feeling on anything. I’m willing to be that he’s never had a deep thought in his life. At least there’s no evidence of it. He’s a good-looking, unobjectionable guy who was good enough at retail politics to make it on the state level. He could still get elected, but he lacks the chops for a real election.

        I’m starting to think the internal polls done by his campaign have scared them witless. On the other hand, the GOP organization hasn’t had much luck in the last few elections. In an election in which Brown’s running as an “independent,” he signs on with one of the biggest social conservatives in the country. This all makes Brown’s alleged moderation an election issue. It brings his judgement into question. His responses have been stupid. Bringing in Kennedy’s statement works with the Boston Herald crowd, but it’s a prick move, easily refuted and offensive to anyone who liked our former senator. Given that it threatens not just free birth control, but health insurance in general, he’s going to end up looking stupid.

        Best of all (for us), this will be in play and he’s going to have to debate this stuff with someone who is intelligent and articulate. Add this to his veto of his own jobs bill, and there’s going to be some damaging questions asked.

  2. Patrick's letter and Brown's Response (PDF)

    Via the Herald:

    Patrick’s letter

    Brown’s Bizarre Response

    • Restore to law ...?

      What law exactly is Brown restoring, in his PS?

      The more I read Brown’s response the more bizarre it sounds.

      • It is

        a complete misreading of the Blunt amendment vs. medical doctors and health care PROVIDERS the ability to say, no, I won’t perform X or Y.

        One is a church or private company dictating coverage based on religious views, and the other one is about a personal religious view of a practitioner having to PERFORM a given procedure.

        I do not know in what f*cking universe the two things are the same. Then again, I do not know in what f*cking universe you can claim that the Blunt amendment language is restricted to churches denying coverage, or that the language does not also allow Jehovah’s Witnesses-run hospitals to not offer COVERAGE for EMPLOYEES of blood transfusions or Scientologist-run schools from providing COVERAGE of mental health disorders, etc etc ad naseum, even for NON-religion employees. Or how a decade or more of many states’ laws that mandate coverage for birth control for Church-run enterprises that are not the actual church itself (universities, hospitals, schools, etc).

        I mean, he is really that stupid? That empty-headed, that he cannot be made to see the goddamned difference??? I knew he was dumb as rocks, but this is like Rita Mercier level dumb (Lowell City Council reference – Rita is our resident “Edith Bunker” of the City Council…).

        I also cannot see how this is even remotely an electoral winner for him here in Massachusetts. We are NOT Alabama or Virginia, moron. Nor are Alabama or Virginia Alabama and Virginia – this issue is NOT a winner even in the most conservative of states!

        • Ugh

          So incoherent I am, when faced with such stupidity.

          Should read: “Or how a decade or more of many states’ laws that mandate coverage for birth control for Church-run enterprises that are not the actual church itself (universities, hospitals, schools, etc) was NOT controversial all this time, and Brown even VOTED for MA’s law.”

      • He means "The Law"

        He means the whole law code, not a specific law. It previously was not illegal for an employer or an individual to purchase health insurance that did not fund abortion or contraception, up until these mandates started being mandated this year.

        • Actually, in Massachusetts,

          it’s been illegal since 2002 to do that with respect to contraception. And Scott Brown voted for the law that made it so.

          • And this has been the case

            For about as long in many, many other states as well.

            • Right, so he means the Federal law

              I know its mandated in MAssachusetts, since RomneyCare, right? I even made this point to someone here yesterday:

              Perhaps you have gotten used to the situation in Massachusetts, where we have had been mandated to purchase BC coverage since RomneyCare, along with IVF, sex change surgery, and all sorts of other things. I don’t think the Blunt Amendment will apply to our state mandates, which is why in New Hampshire someone has woken up and filed a similar bill there. We need one here too.

              The fact is, now that we have woken up to our first Amendment Constitutional right to not have to subsidize abortion and contraception, we need to restore the law to preRomneyCare.

              • And I don't want to

                subsidize your articular use of our roads, bridges, or anything that helps you get to the internet to make inane commentary, or anything else for that matter since I think our public education system was wasted on you, but hey, I’ll get over it.

              • Baloney

                The fact is, now that we have woken up to our first Amendment Constitutional right to not have to subsidize abortion and contraception…

                You may object to a great many things, but you still have to follow the law. Merely having a moral objection to death for example doesn’t give you a ‘get out of paying taxes’ card for states that do things like executions and war.

                This concept that one’s objections can constitute a ‘break-the-law-for-free’ card is a canard.

              • "since RomneyCare, right?"

                Wrong. Romney didn’t take office until 2003. Please, try to keep up with the class.

                • Oops

                  OK, thanks. So it seems RomneyCare only added the individual mandate to purchase insurance. But that’s what I was referring to, the individual mandate. I knew that the requirement for employers to offer contraception coverage already existed, and actually it dates back to 2000, not 2002:

                  In fact, employers have pretty much been required to provide contraceptive coverage as part of their health plans since December 2000. That’s when the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that failure to provide such coverage violates the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act. That law is, in turn, an amendment to Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which outlaws, among other things, discrimination based on gender.

                  So Massachusetts was pretty much compelled by that ruling to enact the 2002 law. Plus, Massachusetts was probably already paying for abortion and contraception through various free care pools and programs (right?) so shifting that cost to the private sector by requiring employers to pay for it would save the state money, which, combined with the 2000 ruling, might explain Brown’s voting for the 2002 law.

        • Sadly,

          you are zero for 629. Care to try again?

  3. death penalty

    brown makes a good case against his own lust for the death penalty

  4. Dear Patrick,

    Your father and I didn’t always agree, but I know what he meant in the letter he wrote to the Pope and you don’t. Granted, you knew him almost as well as I do, but you obviously don’t understand what he was talking about. Luckily, I was elected to his senator seat and that means I can interpret for him. So take my word for it, were he with us today, he would agree with me.


    Senator Scott Brown

    P.S. In spite of appearances, I’m not a douchebag.

    • LOL

      I find it rather crass, also, that since Senator Kennedy is no longer with us, to tell us one way or the other or defend his views on this, that Brown would be so insistent.

      It’s sort of like saying to someone whose mom just died, “Hey, your mom really loved the color blue!” And you respond, “No, she really hated it! And please be respectful and stop saying that.” And that person says, “No, I REMEMBER her saying she loved the color blue, and I have every right to keep saying it.”

      Sure you do, but you look like a douchebag.

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