The American corporate media and the Beltway crowd that runs it are working overtime with folk like Max Baucus to lie like a rug about how Teddy Kennedy got to be the most effective Democratic Senator outside of Lyndon Baines Johnson. They’re claiming he did it by constantly "compromising" in the name of "bipartisanship", which of course in Beltway Villager-Speak means "caving to Republicans on all matters of substance". Specifically, the Villagers are using this lie to tell Obama and the Democrats to cave on health care reform, Teddy’s life’s work, in a way that Teddy himself in his last months was horrified to see even being contemplated.
It’s telling that the Beltway Bozos waited until he was dead and couldn’t correct them before they cut loose with their nonsense. Well, since he’s not around, that job falls to me.
Max Baucus and his fellow travelers for Big Pharma and Big Insurance are pretending that longtime single-payer champion Teddy Kennedy would approve of their selling him out with their co-op bills, saying he would welcome that "compromise". What they aren’t telling you is that Teddy already did compromise by dropping single-payer for the public option, and eliminating the public option would make a "reform" bill worse than no bill at all.
Here’s the deal: First off, the Beltwayers are trying to pretend that the Democrats haven’t already compromised on health care reform, when in fact the biggest compromise — the decision to abandon the fight for immediate universal single-payer — happened right at the start, and with Senator Kennedy’s knowledge.
Second off, the public option was itself set upon by Max Baucus and his fellow Senate Finance Committee beneficiaries of Big Insurance’s big bucks, even as the bill from the Senate’s own health committee — which includes the public option — has been shoved to one side by Baucus and the other bozos who are working to kill Teddy’s legacy even as they say they’re upholding it. (Baucus is talking so sweetly about how he’d been meeting with Teddy on health care reform right up "until the spring", implying that only Senator Kennedy’s worsening condition kept Max from continuing the conversations — but what he doesn’t say is that the end of his dealing with Teddy came after the May debacle wherein Baucus officially sold him out to the insurance companies.)
Finally, Teddy Kennedy never allowed anyone to corrupt or destroy his desired bills in the name of "compromise". He would find other means to get Republicans on board. When he pushed for legislation to create the National Cancer Institute in 1971, then-president Richard Nixon offered to back it on the condition that Teddy take his own name off the bill he’d created. Teddy did so without a gripe or a grumble — his ego didn’t matter, the bill did, and so long as all that was changed was the name, he didn’t care who got the credit or why.
Remember all that the next time you see Max Baucus or Kent Conrad flap their gums about how a bill without a public option must pass "because we must do this for Teddy". They’d better hope ghosts don’t exist, otherwise Teddy’s is going to reach out and throttle them for their lies. Or he might well "compromise" by kicking them in the crotch a few times.