Thursday, August 27, 2009

"Fighting for Progress Without Shame or Obfuscation"

Another wonderful tribute, with lessons for Democrats, this one from Digby:

The Kennedys always pissed off the wingnuts to an absurd degree, and yet they never complained about it, even though they paid such a huge price for their public service. It's one of the things I like the most about them.


But once it became clear, he didn't just turn his seat into a sinecure or retreat into cynicism, he carried on valiantly, becoming one of the few master legislators in American history, insisting on making progress by hook or crook even during the long era of conservative rule in which he served. And he took the slings and arrows from his enemies along the way with humor, dignity and class.

John McCain said the other day that Kennedy's great gift was in making concessions to Republicans. That may be correct, but not in the way McCain meant it to be. Kennedy's great gift was fighting for progress without shame or obfuscation, making the moral argument for liberalism, and always trying to move the ball forward, inch by inch if that's all he could get and in great leaps if the opportunity presented itself. If he made the right concessions, it sure as hell wasn't in service of McCain's pinched and cruel agenda.

He was everything the conservatives hate: a proud, fighting liberal who didn't shirk from the label. Each day his presence was a rebuke to everything they believed in. So when you hear the inevitable lugubrious paeans from the right over the next few days, keep in mind that their movement and its people spent the last 40 years treating Ted Kennedy the way they treat Barack Obama today -- with utter, single-minded contempt.

And all the while, Kennedy just kept going, getting more concessions from Republicans by being true to his principles than mealy mouthed centrism ever did. There's a lesson in that.

Read the whole thing.

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