Mourning for Ted Kennedy

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dnc2008-ted-kennedy.jpgI just received word at Charles de Gaulle International Airport in Paris that Senator Ted Kennedy has died at age 77.
While his passing was increasingly expected, it doesn’t make the time and day of his death any less significant and sad.
As John McCain said, Ted Kennedy was probably the United States Senate’s last lion — a powerhouse politician and sculptor of vital national policy designed to help those that our increasingly winner takes all system leaves behind.
I’ve had the privilege of a long line of encounters with the late Senator, his long time core staff, and several members of his family. I used to see Senator Kennedy in the back halls and corridors of the Senate — sometimes looking “flat”, “lost”, sometimes even confused or checked out — only to see him moments later on the floor of the Senate turn an internal switch on and give some of the most compelling, detail-rich, sweeping calls to legislative action that I have ever heard from that chamber.
Senator-Ted-Kennedy.jpgI have really enjoyed in recent years, particularly during the Obama campaign, watching Kennedy’s fire burn more consistently and brightly.
When I worked in the United States Senate for now Energy Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), I made it a practice to study the structural characteristics of a Senator’s office and watched how a variety of Senators managed (or not) to move past the passive act of legislative assent or disagreement by showing executive capabilities at deploying their financial, staff, and political resources to achieve and enact major policy.
Senator Kennedy’s political franchise had no rival in the legislative branch of government, and the younger brother of the three Kennedy political trio may very well have been the very best “Executive Legislator” this country has ever seen.
Kennedy’s political franchise is enormous. While I watched many US Senators see staff come and go — mostly indifferent to the young people who gave so much to help their Senators or Congressmen in their important work — Kennedy and his top generals acquired and nurtured policy and political talent and then made sure that those people stayed connected to “the family.”
I will never forget the Kennedy family, staff and friends “holiday parties” in the Senate — — in which Ted Kennedy and his wife Vicki would come out dressed in surprise costumes. One of the most memorable was the year that Ted and Vicki came out as “Beauty and the Beast” singing specially crafted songs that were usually self-spoofing.
Barack Obama is a mesmerizing, inspirational leader — but he is also a highly capable mergers & acquisition synthesizer of political franchises. Obama started with elements of the Daley franchise in Chicago and then morphed in Tom Daschle’s political machine. He built in John Edwards’ crowd — and then was able to build in the Kennedy franchise with Ted Kennedy’s all important blessing. The Clinton franchise is under the tent — but still has its own distinct character — but that is a story for another day.
Barack Obama would not have made it to the Presidency without Ted Kennedy.
splash ted kennedy.jpgWhen the American Prospect was redesigned, editor Robert Kuttner and then DC editor (and now Talking Points Memo uber-blogger) Joshua Micah Marshall invited me to Ted Kennedy’s Kalorama home for a great launch party. I ended up having a fascinating night with Kennedy who regaled a small group of us with some of his more memorable political war stories. He gave me a tour of his house as we got into a discussion about some of the old prints on his wall — other versions of which I owned after finding them stuffed behind an old cabinet in a very dusty Irish antique store.
I owe the Kennedy clan a lot for my relative success in Washington — and also want to send my condolences not only to his family members but to his long time staff members and spear carriers — particularly Gerry Kavanaugh and Nick Littlefield.
Kennedy would want his passing used in the very best of political senses by Obama to pass sweeping health care policy. In fact, Kennedy would insist on it.
My dog, Oakley the Amazing Weimaraner, used to run and play with two of Kennedy’s portuguese water dogs, Sunny and Splash. Kennedy would use a tennis racket to whack out tennis balls to his hyperactive dogs….and my dog would chase them as a puppy. Ted Kennedy was always “on” when he was with them — and was a delight to chat with in that park.
I will seriously miss Senator Kennedy’s presence in Washington and in national politics. He had foes and friends alike — some who despised all he stood for — but all saw his political machine as one of the most formidable and effective forces for the common man in American history.
Ted Kennedy, R.I.P.
– Steve Clemons

Comments

61 comments on “Mourning for Ted Kennedy

  1. Outraged American says:

    Kathleen, I think I might have seen the same Hopi Snake Dance
    in 1982.
    I honestly don’t remember the year, and we were dragged
    around the reservations and the pueblos in AZ and New Mexico
    when I was a kid so much that I get them, and all the years,
    confused.
    We might have been there together! It could have been
    Shungopovi. I just remember my mom telling me that it was the
    first time that “whites” had seen the Snake Dance for decades,
    and that the Hopis wouldn’t let us even draw it, much less
    photograph it.
    And the fry bread at the ceremony. Yum. There’s a great fry
    bread place in Phoenix now. I haven’t tried it yet, but it gets
    rave reviews.
    Kathleen, you come out here and you have a place to stay. And
    I’ll treat you to a Navajo taco. You’ve done fantastic work –
    Native American issues are close to my heart — so I will spring
    for a $5 meal. As long as you pay the tip.
    THAT WAS A JOKE.
    I would love to go up to the nations with you Kathleen. Just let
    me know.

    Reply

  2. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    OutragedAmerican…Hotevilla, 3ed mesa, hasn’t done the Snake Dance in many, many years…2nd Mesa, Shungopovi does it….I saw it in 1982… it is a transforming experience…\I worked with Hopi from Hotevilla for many years and got them an official appointment to present their Porphecy to the UN on Sept.30, 1985..we went on to file a formal complaint against the US with the Commission For Human Rights in 1986 for racial discrimination against the red race. I took them to the UN in Geneva in 1987, and succeeded in getting two human rights experts appointedf to come to Hopi and Washington, D.C., on the forced relocation of Hopi and Navajo, which the tradtional Hopi elders opposed….that was in 1989. As a result of Hopi, the UN established a UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in 1992..before that, indigenoyus issues got one item on the agenda of the SubCommission on the Prevention of Discriminqation and Protection of Minorites, once a year…now there is a standing UN Agency headquartered in New York with Indigenous representatives.
    I live in CA, half the year and went to Hopi with a Finnish friend in 1980..they asked me to help them bring their Prophecy to the UN. It took 5 years.
    I’m kind of stuck for while till I finish with my vision issues, etc.. but if I do get it together, to go out there again, I’ll let you know…all the elders are gone now, so it’s very different for me now…sad, really.

    Reply

  3. Outraged American says:

    Kathleen, I got to be one of the first “whites” to see the Hopi
    Snake Dance after decades. That was incredible. IIRC it was at
    Hotevilla on the Second Mesa. It was a long time ago, so I could
    be wrong.
    There was a thunderstorm coming in, so from the top of the
    mesa in the background you could see both these immense dark
    blue clouds, with flashes of lightening, and the sun streaming
    through underneath them.
    And then the Snake dance itself…indescribable. Really an
    experience of a lifetime.
    I’m serious about the apartment, if you’re ever out in Phoenix.
    Actually I would love to go up to the rez with you. I love it up
    there and would love to meet your Hopi friends. I used to
    backpack up there all the time. Rainbow Trail. And I just love
    the mesas.
    What were you doing up there? It’s sure a long way from
    Connect-ti-cut and presidential conventions.

    Reply

  4. Wendy from Rochester, N.Y. says:

    The image which will stay with me forever: Watching H.W. Bush speak to Congress on the effort to push Iraq out of Kuwait, an effort of which I greatly feared the environmental and long-term geopolitical ramifications, and watching the camera pan a room full of our representatives cheering or at least politely applauding this smiling grandfatherly man…except for one sober face: Ted Kennedy.

    Reply

  5. Outraged American says:

    POA, were your “girlfriends” Mexican truckers in drag? Trannies
    who are Mexican truckers, I hate them.
    Kathleen, we have this apartment till December, so you’re more
    than welcome to come after it gets cool enough to touch a
    steering wheel without gloves.
    You’ll just have to deal with the meth heads next door and their
    tendency to blow things up.
    You seem to know the area: the apt. is right up at Squaw, now
    Piestewa, Peak. The hiking trails are right there. I’ll get you a
    guide dog. We have four, all worthless.
    My mom was a semi-famous Southwest artist and every summer
    she used to drag us across the Navajo and Hopi Nations, and all
    the pueblos from Phoenix to Taos in her quest for new material.
    I feel your pain. I had Hopi friends in grade school and they
    tended to the peacemakers amongst all the tribes we had in the
    school. The Navajos and the Apaches, hate them.
    Seriously Kathleen, come on over. I would love to meet you and
    hear stories about the Kennnedy’s. I hate mythology too.
    The other TWN poster and I are having dinner within the next
    two weeks. I’m not going to reveal his identity without his
    permission, because then the TSA might go after Weapons of
    Mass Destruction, purportedly harbored in his ass, too.

    Reply

  6. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “POA, you had girlfriends? Did you pay them in gold or green cards?”
    Neither. But you’re right on one count; More oft than not, it cost me dearly.

    Reply

  7. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    OutragedAmerican…I love roses..thanks…tooo hot in Phoenix for me right now…too hot in Ojai too but I’n here…trying to stay cool..usually go to CT. for the summer but got hung up this year…vision issues, dmv, yadayada…actually have spent many many months, years in AZ at the Hopi rez…have some friend begging me to take them to Hopi so I might actually make it to AZ before too long…maybe we could hook up..how did your dinner with the other twn poster go?
    POA..speaking of Teddy getting away with stuff that ordinary mortals can’t . every other Catholic does not have divorce and re-marriage as an option and annulment is out of the question when a marriage has been consummated, like Teddys. Must have bought an “indulgence”. Still, I don’t think that piece of paper is going to get him anywhere where he’s going.

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  8. bob h says:

    The biggest contribution Teddy could have made to this healthcare fight would have been to lambaste the demagogic lies being spread by Palin, Grassley, and Huckabee. It would have been a powerful blast. If only he had had a few more months.

    Reply

  9. Outraged American says:

    POA,you had girlfriends? Did you pay them in gold or green cards?

    Reply

  10. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “I can’t fly because I’m on a “special” screening list so every time I do the TSA pulls
    down my shorts looking for Weapons of Mass Destruction”
    Well, if thats what they were looking for, I can think of a coupla girlfriends in my past that would’ve gotten busted.

    Reply

  11. Outraged American says:

    Cindy Sheehan, people, the Rosa Parks of the antiwar movement.
    Tomorrow, Saturday August 29 11:30 AM Central. Stream it at the
    What Really Happened site.
    Kathleen, you’re officially invited to my new homeland of
    Feminazia. I’m going out to the rose garden right now to get some
    petals to shower on you.
    Come to Phoenix. We have a guest apartment. I can’t fly because
    I’m on a “special” screening list so every time I do the TSA pulls
    down my shorts looking for Weapons of Mass Destruction
    And they claim J. Edgar Hoover is dead…

    Reply

  12. Kathleen Grasse Andersen says:

    POA…I’m with you on Teddy….my first encounter with him was with Anne Wexler at the 1968 Dem convention in Chicago…I never in my life have met anyone so completely competitive, causes be damned..he didn’t care what happened to a cause if he didn’t take credit for it….the most blatant plagiarist…the man had no shame.
    I’ve talked before here about my experiences at the 1968 Democratic convention…the Kennedys didn’t care about ending the war in Vietnam… they just used the issue to justify challenging LBJ…Bobby didn’t enter that race until after Gene McCarthy showed which way the wind was blowing. After Bobby was shot, Teddy stopped the peace vote from coming back together behind McCarthy by placing George McGovern’s name in nomiation at the convention..this gave the nomination to Humphrey and the election to Nixon.
    At the convention, Teddy then went on to commandeer the work of the Connecticut McCarthy people on election law reform…we proposed, Anne Wexler from the floor to be precise, a national commission to examine the delegate selection process which passed..Teddy took over.. insisting that only Kennedy people be appointed… as if he had done the work…he appointed George McGovern Chairman and Anne Wexler was the only McCarthy person appointed, probably because she introduced the motion, so she could hardly be by-passed. Neither Teddy or Bobby had ever done a thing about opening up the nomination process to voters by having all primaries…but Teddy wanted all the credit. I’ve never trusted him since. and have ALWAYS kept my eye on the Teddy backstory..unscrupulous…not what I would consider an honorable man…unable to fight fair and square, he was not above cheating and going against his colleages behind the scenes….
    And then there’s Chappaquiddick… I’ve been there and driven over that bridge myself so I know how bogus that story was. The kindest thing I can say about Teddy in that episode is that he was in Chappaquiddick for hanky-panky, but I believe it was more sinister than that. I remember at the time when Gene McCarthy was asked where he thought Teddy was for all those hours inbetween the “accident” and the discovery of the car and Mary Jo. McCarthy said “Looking for the guy who took his Spanish exam.”
    Personally, I think he was waiting for high tide because its a very shallow back channel…
    Supposedly, the Kennedy crew rented a house on Chappaquiddick to have a party..absurd… in addition to their compound in Hyannis, they rented various houses on Martha’s Vineyard for staff and freinds..there was no reason to rent a tiny, stucco box on a teensy, barely inhabited island, to have a party…Chppaquiddick is a good place to have an “accident” though because that bridge was very easy to drive off…two car lengths long, one wide, huge hump in the middle, no guard rails, no need for the Foreman of the Grand Jury to see the Coroner’s Report.
    I’ll spare you the rest of my theory, but I will say that I think the Democratic party now has a chance of really representing the people because it will no longer be in the clutches of a dynasty… a king maker with a proprietary attitude toward the party and the White House.

    Reply

  13. ... says:

    and fwiw presently drugs are not developed according to public health need, but according to profitability.. this is a direct byproduct of a system (rogue capitalism) that encourages monopolies (that exercise undue political influence) as opposed to a shared environment that benefits the little person.

    Reply

  14. ... says:

    lol dan… i don’t think wigwag will like your analogy.. i certainly like the way you’ve articulated the situation though..
    for an interesting read on health care as it applies to poorer countries and what could be done to raise health levels globally as opposed to catering to the rich, read this..
    “Ethical issues in funding research and development of drugs for neglected tropical diseases” is the title, but read under the BENEFICENCE subtitle for a really interesting perspective on r&d in the pharma industry that would be worth considering in any system of health care adopted in any specific country being considered…
    http://jme.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/35/5/310

    Reply

  15. Dan Kervick says:

    WigWag and Constantine raise important points for discussion, and I have a few preliminary reactions:
    First, isn’t it the case that profitability and return on investment can be sustained, even in an environment of falling prices and revenues, if production costs go down as well, and if productivity rises? I assume the answer is “yes”.
    So in that context, the first question one has to ask whether the pharmaceutical industry as a whole is really operating anywhere near as efficiently as possible and is doing everything it could be doing to control and reduce costs. I suspect that in a more demanding market, with new US government pressures in the form of both stronger regulation and a public bargaining presence in the marketplace working to force down prices, pharmaceutical firms will suddenly find many, many, many places where they can operate more leanly, and produce more and better drugs for less. The reductions can especially be found in the areas of marketing, junkets and other unnecessary travel, consulting fees, salaries and benefits, and unnecessarily luxurious facilities. I suspect there is also much redundancy in the system.
    And even if ROI does decline and private sector investment becomes somewhat less attractive, we also have to ask, as questions does implicitly, if more of the R&D burden can and should be picked up by further substitution of public investment for private investment. The former can often be sustained by public and government recognition of the common good, especially where we’re talking about basic research as opposed to delivery technologies, and need not return a monetary profit to its investors.
    Some problems do go beyond the health care industry itself. As Paul Norheim suggests, we probably have a systematic problem in the United States caused by the ability of high-skill professionals and executives at the top end of the pay scale to bid up their services almost without limit, and to fly off to other jobs if their firms are not willing to pay their extortionist wages. We could address this systematic problem with a 20 to 1 rule applied to every sector of the economy. This would probably raise the wages of the vast majority of wage earners in our society while hurting only the ultra-affluent few. The negatively affected might grumble about the lost golden age of sky’s-the-limit salaries. But if the whole economy is compelled to operate according to the same principles, they wouldn’t have many options and the economy wouldn’t lose their necessary skills.
    Of course, no matter what kind of health care system a country operates, some balance must be struck between the amount of labor and investment that goes into the development of new medical technologies and the amount that goes into the areas of prevention, and the production and delivery of already existing technologies and treatments in the most effective and efficient way possible.
    Rather than say that the Europeans and others are free-loading on the current system, one might hypothesize that all of us – Europeans, Canadians and Americans alike – are paying the price of the stupid failure of Americans to pool their purchasing power and use it to demand more for less, and squeeze more productivity from a massively inefficient system.
    Think of it this way: it’s like we live in an apartment building in a sweltering city with Americans on the top floor. Each American apartment dweller is paying through the nose for their own separate well system that pumps vitally needed water into their hot apartments. They actually don’t make the decisions on water purchases themselves, but pay their landlords to do it for them. It’s a seller’s market, and the system of piping and pumping on the American floor is rife with redundancies, inefficiencies, and divided consumers making bad decisions on poor information. There are leaky pipes and convoluted turns everywhere, and the Americans have to pump twice the needed amount of water out of the ground just to maintain an acceptable pressure. The repairmen, installers and well-owners are getting rich on the American business.
    But the Europeans and Canadians on the floors below have formed floor buyer’s cooperatives, and have bargained effectively for more efficient, single floor water systems, the sale and service of which is only modestly profitable to the suppliers. The Europeans and Canadians on the floors below are also recouping some free water as it drips through the ceilings and walls from the inefficient and leaky American water works on the top floors. And because the Americans have paid to have deeper wells and more powerful pumps installed below the building to maintain the pressure they need, the water is pumped even more efficiently into the Canadian and European systems on the lower floors.
    Now who is at fault for this inequitable situation: the sensible and practical Europeans and Canadians? Or the American idiots who are wasting a fortune through their attachment to the every-consumer-for-himself system?

    Reply

  16. ... says:

    europe is way ahead when it comes to looking after its citizens…. take yer pick…

    Reply

  17. Constantine says:

    I am a pediatric oncologist at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) the second largest children’s hospital in the United States. This is the first time I’ve visited this site. I was referred by a regular reader who thought I might find the discussion on drug discovery and health care reform interesting.
    WigWag, I presume you are a physician. You are correct, the tumor that killed Senator Kennedy is called glioblastoma multiforme. It is the most common brain tumor and it occurs in both pediatric and adult populations.
    There are few solid tumors with as grim a prognosis. Other than primary tumors of the esophagus, pancreas and liver, glioblastoma multiforme is one of the worst cancer diagnoses a person can get. Of the non-solid tumors, only a diagnosis of AML (acute myelogenous leukemia)is as bad.
    Glial cells are the cells that provide the structure of the brain. The nourish and support the neurons which are the cells that govern sensation, cognition, consciousness and emotions. Malignant neoplasms of neuronal tissue are rare.
    There are essentially no good treatments for glioblastoma multiforme. Surgical resection can be dangerous and even if the tumor is removed completely, it invariably returns. Chemotherapy, radiation and treatment with steroids may be palliative but they are not curative.
    A particularly challenging aspect of finding medical treatments for glioblastoma multiforme is the difficulty of getting large molecules to pass through the blood brain barrier. A variety of drugs used to treat disorders of the nervous system such as neuropsychiatric diseases and seizure disorders are available to treat those conditions, but these are small molecule drugs. Anticancer medications are typically large molecule drugs that are filtered out by the blood brain barrier before they reach their target. This makes delivering the drug directly to the tumor enormously difficult.
    New treatments for this disorder (which is increasing in prevalence) are desperately needed. The National Cancer Institute spends millions of dollars on research into this condition but only drug companies can produce medications to treat patients.
    It is true that when one of these companies succeeds in bringing a drug to market, that during the period the drug enjoys patent protection, it is enormously profitable. It is important to remember that the patent on the drug is granted years before the compound is commerically available for patients so the period that the drug company has to sell the compound on an exclusive basis is actually quite limited.
    It is also important to remember that while successful drugs are quite profitable, the profit from these drugs must make up for the hundreds if not thousands of compounds the company studies that don’t pan out.
    For the last decade at least, ROI for drug companies has been falling rapidly, PE ratios on drug company stocks no longer exceed the multiple of the market in general and share prices for drug companies have been dropping or at best holding steady.
    WigWag is correct that almost all of these companies make the vast majority of their profits in the American market; the European, Asian and Canadian markets are typically only marginally profitable. Without the large profits generated in the United States it would be difficult if not impossible for these companies to maintain their enormous research operations.
    There is another point that WigWag failed to make. While the NIH is the largest funder of biomedical research in the world; the not-for-profit sector in the United States provides billions of dollars to medical research annually. This not-for-profit sector is largely absent in Europe although it does exist in Canada.
    This sector includes voluntary health agencies like the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society which provide hundreds of millions of dollars for research. It also includes large foundations. The largest non-governmental funder of biomedical research in the world is the Howard Hughes Medical Research Institute which provides hundreds of millions of dollars in grant support to investigators in the United States, Europe, Canada and Asia. The only comparable European institution is the Wellcome Trust based in the United Kingdom which is far smaller.
    The United States is far and away the largest engine of biomedical research funding in the world; despite the fact that the GDP of the EU exceeds that of the United States, Europe is far behind when it comes to medical innovation.
    Health care reform that makes drug discovery less profitable will inevitably lead to fewer new drugs and fewer cures for devastating diseases like the ones I treat.
    A discussion about health care reform that doesn’t address this important issue is an incomplete discussion.

    Reply

  18. questions says:

    WigWag,
    Some years ago, Dollars and Sense Magazine (or maybe Multinational Monitor) ran a really nice piece that detailed the extent to which universities and government supported researchers do the bulk of the drug research in this country and then turn the patents over to drug companies for commercialization.
    Admittedly, commercialization is a useful aspect of drug development, as is the mass manufacture of drugs, but the basic and insanely expensive and highly risky basic research seems not to be part of Big Pharma at this point.
    It actually makes sense that those wishing to make huge amounts of money won’t risk losing huge amounts on something like R and D for drugs for rare diseases. And should they find something for a rare disease, they will charge insane amounts of money. The whole incentive system is screwy for basic research, and whenever the market produces screwy incentives, the government has a reasonable justification for stepping in.
    I tried looking for the article, but couldn’t find it. Sorry.

    Reply

  19. ... says:

    paul – euros and canucks can start paying double and triple and thank our lucky stars that america is protecting us from everything and everyone, except maybe the odd starving pharma exec which we really need to stop freeloading on..

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  20. Paul Norheim says:

    “As for profits by drug companies and their “greedy” executives;
    do you have any evidence that return on investment or
    executive compensation is more excessive in the pharmaceutical
    industry than in banking, manufacturing or any other sector of
    the economy?”
    It`s excessive in many industries, don´t you think so?
    But then, my social-democratic views (I vote for the Labor party)
    would probably be regarded as “communist”, anarcho-
    syndicalist or some other extreme left wing label in the
    American context.
    “It must be great to live in a freeloading nation where paying
    the real cost of that medication isn’t part of the deal.”
    I don`t expect that you`ll ever stop feeling contempt for the
    various aspects of European societies, WigWag. I can live with
    that. There are admittedly certain aspects of America that I
    personally don`t admire – so feel free to insult us.
    What do you think, should I propose that the Norwegian
    government starts paying double what we now pay the
    pharmaceutical companies for our drugs?

    Reply

  21. ... says:

    freeloading… i like that word… another word that comes to mind is ‘leeching’…. i’m not sure if that is a way of defining a nation that i would want to put on someone, but you have at it wigwag…i will continue to point out the corruption of the banking system called ‘the federal reserve’ and all the attendant ramifications associated with it, most notably – war = money, something the usa excels at..

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  22. WigWag says:

    Well, Paul, the answer is certainly not for the Europeans, Canadians or anyone else to adopt the immoral, inefficient and absurd health care system that we have in the United States. Personally, I’d be in favor of a single payer system similar to what they use in Canada. Even better would be a system similar to what they use in France where providers work for the government.
    My point is simply that there are costs associated with any “fix” of the U.S. health care system; unfortunately in the debate we’re now having both sides obscure the nature and extent of those costs.
    To get fairer system (which I support), we may need to sacrifice some innovation. Any system that pays drug companies less will likely lead to fewer effective medications to address serious medical problems. This will have implications not only in the United States but in other nations as well.
    As for profits by drug companies and their “greedy” executives; do you have any evidence that return on investment or executive compensation is more excessive in the pharmaceutical industry than in banking, manufacturing or any other sector of the economy? I’m not saying there is no evidence; just that if there is, I’ve never seen it.
    … makes a good argument about antihypertensive medications. There is a real history of drug companies producing “me too” drugs to the exclusion of real innovation. With hundreds of antihypertensive medications on the market, do we really need another one? Probably not. The same argument can be made for statins which reduce LDL cholesterol; with all the medications available should resources be devoted to developing new iterations? Almost certainly not.
    But it should be pointed out that just a few years ago, people made the same argument about antibiotics; the argument was that with so many already available why develop more. Of course because of antibiotic resistance we are now grateful that the research into new antibiotics has been going on continuously.
    And of course there are scores of new and highly effective medications for conditions for which there were no good treatments only a few years ago. Gleevac for blood/bone marrow cancers; retuximab for lymphatic cancers; erbitux for colon cancer; anthracyclenes for breast cancer. The list goes on and on.
    All of these drugs are effective; they all cost hundreds of millions of dollars or more to develop and they were all developed because of profits derived from high drug prices paid by American consumers but not consumers in other developed nations.
    It may be a waste of money to develop another antihypertensive or the newest medication to prevent male pattern baldness or erectile dysfunction.
    But develop a devastating cancer and you’ll be glad many of these new medications are available. It must be great to live in a freeloading nation where paying the real cost of that medication isn’t part of the deal.
    The cancer that killed Ted Kennedy, malignant glioblastoma, is pernicious, aggressive and almost always deadly. Curing it should be a high priority. If you want to reduce the profits that drug companies make you need to reduce your expectation that an effective treatment will ever be found.

    Reply

  23. Paul Norheim says:

    “There is no easy solution to all of this (I’d love to know what your
    brother thinks having a foot in both worlds as he does).
    But one thing I think we can agree on is that it would be a fine tribute
    to Senator Kennedy who thought intensely about these matters if the
    American press would cover the issue in a serious way instead of focusing
    on idiocy like “death panels.””
    Yes, I agree. I`ll have dinner with my brother on Saturday – three days
    before he goes to Southern Ethiopia to work for six months as a doctor.
    I`ll ask him. BTW, a Norwegian doctor working at the same Ethiopian
    hospital said that Ethiopians have benefited immensely from the US money
    provided against HIV/AIDS by the Bush administration.
    If you exclude the issue of direct government budgets for R&D (where one
    could imagine a system or arrangement where Europe paid more), there seem
    to be handful of alternatives and options – and among them, in very broad
    strokes:
    1) Europe adopts the American health care system. Result A) European
    medicine is paid by private insurance companies, providing much more
    money to the pharmaceutical companies, hopefully spent to develop new and
    better medicines, also for rare diseases. Result B) Working class and
    poor people, unemployed etc, in Europe will get in dire straits, and
    often not be able to afford paying for the drugs and treatment – just
    like in America now.
    2) America adopts one of the European models where governments, not
    private insurance companies, are the main customers. Result A) Cheaper
    drugs in USA; less money to develop new and better medicines. Result B)
    ordinary Americans and the poor and unemployed can afford the same health
    care as Europeans.
    3) The American private insurance companies object against the high
    prices they have to pay, and the various governments accept to pay a
    higher price.
    Result A) Optimally the same amount for R&D as now. Result B) Ordinary
    and poor Americans may have to pay less for their drugs, while taxes have
    to be increased in Europe to afford the higher prices.
    4) Less profit in the pockets of the CEO`s of pharmaceutical companies;
    less corruption; less power to the pharmaceutical and weapons industry
    lobbies.
    5) Less spending on what the US Empire with a euphemism call “defense”,
    and more on health care and education.
    As I said: in very broad strokes, probably too broad to be of any use -
    and all easier said than done.

    Reply

  24. ... says:

    a good example of an alternative is for high blood pressure where a cheap water pill that has been used effectively since about the 1920′s is not promoted by many doctors including those here in canada and their is a REASON why.. it’is called kickbacks to grease the palm of the doctors and pharam… they push the NEW drugs that you wax poetic on how hard for reasons that you are unwilling to acknowledge, and even worse would like to slag others for…

    Reply

  25. ... says:

    wigwag to suggest the capitalist system belongs to the usa and that canada and the euro union doesn’t participate is pretty silly… perhaps you will like to reword your original comments..

    Reply

  26. WigWag says:

    “a big part of the problem revolves around how long a patent is held for these drugs with big pharma wanting to hold the rights for production endlessly and others wanting to not.”
    There is no magic about how long patent protection should apply to new drugs; it’s a highly complicated question.
    Pharmaceutical companies like all companies in a capitalistic environment produce products to make money. Reduce the duration of patent protection and the profit made from any particular drug product decreases. If profit falls below the incredibly huge cost of developing the drug in the first place, there is no incentive to develop or manufacture the drug.
    Perhaps there are better economic systems than the capitalist system. In fact, I find that highly conceivable. Maybe you can enlighten us about which particular medicines have been developed in Marxist economies for example.
    Somehow I have a feeling that if you develop chronic myelogious leukemia you will be rushing to the doctor for you Gleevic script. Of course you will be blissfully unaware of what it took to develop that medication in the first place.
    Ignorance must be bliss, …

    Reply

  27. WigWag says:

    “wigwag is speaking on behalf of big pharma..”
    Actually I find big Pharma detestable in many ways. But viewing the issue in a simplistic manner doesn’t solve anything.
    You say “alternatives exits.”
    Why don’t you tell us in detail what they are?

    Reply

  28. ... says:

    alternatives exist, but wigwag and big pharma are loath to let you know about them… then their are the ‘private’ insurance companies that have to get their piece of the action… the system in the usa screws the little person… wigwag is speaking on behalf of big pharma..

    Reply

  29. ... says:

    wigwag quotes “American taxpayers and consumers finance virtually all of the biomedical research and medical innovations that take place in the world today. The United States government, through the National Institutes of Health, spends five times as much on biomedical research than the rest of the governments in the world combined.”
    “And it’s about time that Canadians and Europeans realized that they’re not paying their fair share. Every time they avail themselves of one of the modern new miracle drugs; they should remember that they’re freeloaders; the research and development costs for that drug were not paid for by them, but by some American consumer or taxpayer.”
    wigwag i thought you were only full of it when it came to israel issues, but i see that is not correct and that you hold the same sick admiration for pharma that you do for israel.. the capital markets – stock and bond – are what allow a lot of these companies their liquidity and that is not something that only “amerikans” participate in.. too bad that little detail is avoided in your diatribe.
    a big part of the problem revolves around how long a patent is held for these drugs with big pharma wanting to hold the rights for production endlessly and others wanting to not… it is not surprising that the usa is very keen to keep the costs high as it supports big pharma more then the individual consumer… sure it costs to bring new drugs on line but has anyone failed to notice the cancer drugs have done next to nothing in preventing cancer?
    you can stick with big pharma and the rest of us will seek alternatives and stick with medicine that has worked effectively without having to resort to expensive new inventions that aside from being exorbitant, fall to do anything better then the previous products that have been on the market past the archaic patent laws big pharma has dictated for the good ole us of a..
    it would be good if wigwag pontificated from a position of knowledge as opposed to the bs he is dishing out here..

    Reply

  30. WigWag says:

    “So: how much do the pharmaceutical companies or retailers get for a certain drug? You say: “…virtually all the profit derived by these firms comes from overcharging the American consumer for medications that cost far less in other nations.” Are you claiming that they get less profit for that particular drug if it’s sold to, say Norway or the UK, than if they sell the same medicine in America? Or that the US government directly finances the R&D to a much larger extent than the average European country?”
    Thanks for the response, Paul. I’m saying both; the American taxpayer pays for the vast majority of basic biomedical research that takes place in the world today through government funding of the National Institutes of Health. The NIH budget for FY 2009 is about $29.5 billion. The second largest government funder of biomedical research in the world is the British Medical Research Council; their budget for 2009 is less than $1 billion. Many western European nations, Canada, Japan, Australia and Israel have government funding agencies similar to the British Medical Research Council; but they all give far less to biomedical research than even Great Britain does. The European Union also has a funding program for biomedical research; my understanding is that its budget is less than 2 billion Euros.
    But it’s not just the funding of the basic biomedical research infrastructure that’s the problem; it’s the prices that Europeans (and other developed nations pay for medications.)
    In the United States medicines are paid for mostly be the private insurance companies that provide drug coverage for Americans with medical insurance. Americans above the age of 65 covered by a government program known as Medicare also procure their medicines through private insurance companies (there are a few small exceptions, the Veteran’s Administration pays for drugs for former military service people and the Department of Defense procures drugs for active duty service members). These private drug companies reimburse pharmaceutical manufacturers at a dramatically higher rate than governments that pay for drugs for their citizens in nations like Canada, Norway, Great Britain, etc.
    One result of the higher prices drug companies charge in the United States is that medical insurance is very expensive (my son in New York pays for his unemployed daughter’s medical insurance; it costs $950 per month). Americans without health insurance either pay out of pocket (some asthma inhalers can cost $200 per month); they get charity care or they do without medicine at all.
    Drug companies are willing to accept far lower payments for drugs from government payers in Europe and Canada because of the inflated price for medications reimbursed by American insurance companies; this is one of many reasons the United States pays a far higher proportion of GDP for health care than other nations.
    When an average drug company negotiates a price with your government, Paul, they are willing to accept a price based on the diminimis cost of manufacturing the medicine because insurance companies like the one that pays for my drugs, pays a price based on the total cost of producing the drug including research and development (which is where most of the cost is).
    This isn’t the total story because in the United States, pharmaceutical manufacturers also build the price they charge to private insurers by including marketing costs that are a unique feature of American medicine.
    But the bottom line is that if the insurers in the United States paid the same price for drugs as, let’s say, the government of Norway, there simply wouldn’t be enough profit to justify the development of hugely costly medicines like the cancer drugs I mentioned in my earlier comment.
    By the way, this doesn’t just apply to American drug companies. There is actually one world class Scandinavian drug company; Novo-Nordisk. Based in Denmark, it’s the second largest manufacturer of insulin (for diabetes) in the world after Eli-Lilly. Glaxo-Smith Kline, Novartis, and Hofmann LaRoche are all European firms, but like their American competitors they make the vast majority of their profit in the United States by charging American insurers dramatically higher prices than they charge European and Canadian governments for medicines they provide to their citizens.
    There is no easy solution to all of this (I’d love to know what your brother thinks having a foot in both worlds as he does).
    But one thing I think we can agree on is that it would be a fine tribute to Senator Kennedy who thought intensely about these matters if the American press would cover the issue in a serious way instead of focusing on idiocy like “death panels.”
    It would also be good if Europeans and Canadians reflected on what would happen if Americans stopped subsidizing the research and development costs of medicines that they rely on in the same we that we do on this side of the ocean.

    Reply

  31. Paul Norheim says:

    WigWag said: “If American consumers paid what
    Canadians, Norwegians or Germans pay for their
    medicines, many of these drugs would never have
    been developed in the first place.
    And it’s about time that Canadians and Europeans
    realized that they’re not paying their fair share.
    Every time they avail themselves of one of the
    modern new miracle drugs; they should remember
    that they’re freeloaders; the research and
    development costs for that drug were not paid for
    by them, but by some American consumer or
    taxpayer.”
    Maybe you`re right, WigWag. I must admit that I
    have no intimate knowledge of the health care
    systems, costs of medicine etc in different
    countries. I should have asked one of my brothers,
    who is not only a doctor, but also a professor in
    health ethics – issues related to cost and
    priorities, and have made a comparative study of
    different health care systems.
    (Anecdotal curiosa: In 2005 he hosted a conference
    in Lofoten, Norway, and among the participants was
    a certain Ezekiel Emanuel (the brother of Rahm),
    who at that time – summer 2005 – suggested in
    conversations with my brother, that a certain
    Barack Obama might become the next POTUS. As you
    know, Ezekiel Emanuel is at the center of the
    current “death panel” debate, working for the
    Obama administration. That year, 2005, my brother
    moved to Boston with his family to work at
    Harvard, and a year later my father and I visited
    them in Brookline. Among other things, we saw the
    Kennedy Library – and I spent 8 wonderful days
    alone in New York. My first and only trip to
    America so far).
    In any case, if you have a chronic disease in
    Norway (defined as needing certain medicines for
    more than 3 months a year), you don`t pay more
    than 36 % of the cost. The government (the
    Norwegian tax payers) covers the rest of the
    costs.
    So: how much do the pharmaceutical companies or
    retailers get for a certain drug? You say:
    “…virtually all the profit derived by these
    firms comes from overcharging the American
    consumer for medications that cost far less in
    other nations.” Are you claiming that they get
    less profit for that particular drug if it`s sold
    to, say Norway or the UK, than if they sell the
    same medicine in America? Or that the US
    government directly finance the R&D to a much
    larger extent than the average European country?
    As you see, in Norway, the expensive drugs are
    paid by the tax payers as well – not only the
    individual consumer. There is also a strict limit
    to what the consumer has to pay – and above that
    amount the rest is covered by the government, thus
    in many cases much more than 36 %.

    Reply

  32. Chris R says:

    He worked so hard for equality and a better life for all Americans. Unlike so many self serving Senators we currently have.
    I wish he could live forever.

    Reply

  33. Mr.Murder says:

    A person who was a work acquaintance was subcontract help on the secuirty detail in Dallas on the day his brother was shot.
    He was rounding the curve into the plaza when he said “a crossfire broke out.”
    The man was no stranger to bullet angles, entry wounds, the like. He encountered such items in his line of work. One of that man’s coworkers was the man who sewed JFK’s head back together on the flight to Bethesda.
    Sounds like an inside job. Security hired out from the same crew that provided restorative work and two caskets for the flight. He did change containers on board.
    Anything planned to that degree had people in front of it working things all along.
    All I want to know is, why the Warren Commission never even took statements from all security hires who were witness to the shooting?
    Mre: “Did you say anything?”
    Him: “They never asked.”
    Maybe one day the archives will release more on it, one person as party to the commission is still alive and five years afer his death we might learn more….

    Reply

  34. Carroll says:

    Interview With Edward Kennedy
    Aired April 20, 2006 – 21:00 ET
    [..]
    KENNEDY: No. The best vote I cast in the United States Senate was…
    KING: The best?
    KENNEDY: The best vote, best vote I cast in the United States Senate (INAUDIBLE).
    KING: In your life?
    KENNEDY: Absolutely.
    KING: Was not to go to Iraq?
    KENNEDY: Yes, not to go to Iraq.
    KING: Why did you vote against?
    KENNEDY: Well, I’m on the Armed Services Committee and I was inclined to support the administration when we started the hearings in the Armed Services Committee. And, it was enormously interesting to me that those that had been — that were in the armed forces that had served in combat were universally opposed to going.
    I mean we had Wes Clark testify in opposition to going to war at that time. You had General Zinni. You had General (INAUDIBLE). You had General Nash. You had the series of different military officials, a number of whom had been involved in the Gulf I War, others involved in Kosovo and had distinguished records in Vietnam, battle-hardened combat military figures. And, virtually all of them said no, this is not going to work and they virtually identified… [..]
    http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0604/20/lkl.01.html

    Reply

  35. WigWag says:

    Some additional thoughts on the passing of Senator Kennedy.
    A great deal of attention has been paid in the wake of his passing to his views on health care reform and the role he might have played in the current debate had he been more vigorous.
    Of course the press is covering this angle with the same sophistication and attention to nuance that they devote to every other issue they cover.
    Senator Kennedy was a strong advocate for reducing prices of pharmaceuticals. He supported drug reimportation from Canada, Mexico and other nations where drug prices are dramatically lower; he believed that Medicare should be able to negotiate prices with drug manufacturers and he believed in diligent enforcement of regulations designed to prevent pharmaceutical companies from stifling generic competition after the patents on their drugs expired.
    Generally I agreed with him on all of these positions. With that said, the reality is that if his position on these issues was to prevail, it is unlikely that there will ever be effective treatments for malignant glioma, the form of brain tumor that killed him, or for a variety of other still untreatable conditions.
    American taxpayers and consumers finance virtually all of the biomedical research and medical innovations that take place in the world today. The United States government, through the National Institutes of Health, spends five times as much on biomedical research than the rest of the governments in the world combined.
    Basic research is converted into therapeutic interventions by pharmaceutical manufacturers and increasingly by smaller biotech firms. While not all of these companies are headquartered in the United States (several are in Europe, a few in Japan and Israel), virtually all the profit derived by these firms comes from overcharging the American consumer for medications that cost far less in other nations.
    Manufacturing medications typically costs very little. A month’s supply of the average drug often costs less to manufacture than the plastic bottle the medicine is dispensed in.
    On the other hand, the research and development costs associated with developing these medications are enormous. To bring the typical new drug to market frequently costs considerably in excess of $1 billion. Thousands if not tens of thousands of compounds need to be tested for efficacy before even one efficacious compound is discovered. Stage 1 and Stage 2 clinical trials often cost tens of millions of dollars.
    United States consumers subsidize consumers in the rest of the world because only Americans pay the high prices necessary to justify the extraordinary investment of time and money needed to develop these medications. If American consumers paid what Canadians, Norwegians or Germans pay for their medicines, many of these drugs would never have been developed in the first place.
    While there are still no drugs that can treat the type of tumor that killed Senator Kennedy, there are a variety of new drugs that are remarkably effective against other forms of cancer that were until recently, untreatable. There’s Gleevec for chronic myeloid leukemia, retuximab for Non-Hodgkins lymphoma and gefitinib for lung cancer. And it’s not just drugs for cancer; there are a variety of immune system modulators that fight autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis far more effectively than ever before.
    If the United States followed Senator Kennedy’s advice and adopted a system for the payment of pharmaceuticals similar to the system used by the Canadians or the Europeans, none of these medications would ever have been developed.
    Senator Kennedy was for fairness and equality of access to life saving medicines. He was right about those things. But we ignore the cost of those laudable goals at our peril.
    It would be nice if someday there were effective medicines to treat the type of tumor that killed Senator Kennedy. A debate that ignores the realities of drug development could easily leave Americans less healthy not more healthy over the long run.
    And it’s about time that Canadians and Europeans realized that they’re not paying their fair share. Every time they avail themselves of one of the modern new miracle drugs; they should remember that they’re freeloaders; the research and development costs for that drug were not paid for by them, but by some American consumer or taxpayer.
    In light of this, a little less smugness about the superiority of their health delivery systems might be called for.
    Another thing that might be called for is the New York Times, the Washington Post, Fox News, CNN and MSNBC not treating their reader/viewers like we’re morons. The coverage about the nastiness at the Town Hall meetings held by Congressmen and Sentors is just alot of meaningless hoopla.
    How about covering the issues pertinent to health care that really matter?

    Reply

  36. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Ted’s passing came at an opportune time for the torturers soiling the halls of Washington DC. The “report”, redacted of who-knows-what, was destined to have little impact anyway. Very few American’s will read it, and thanks to Ted’s passing, very few Americans will even get the standard cursury “summary” from our pathetic Fourth Estate.
    Visuals are so much more impactive. Obama’s successful suppression of the photos has taken the sauce out of this report. Were this Administration truly interested in pursuing accountability the photos would not be languishing beyond the public’s eyes, blocked from view by an Administration that treats the law with the same disdain the last gang of criminals treated it. One has to believe, considering the horrible nature of what we already know, that that that is not being revealed is beyond belief in its cruelty and disdain for human rights and suffering.
    These satanic torturing monsters still walk among us, unexposed, abetted, and protected by the Obama Administration. Is that the “change” so many Americans voted for?

    Reply

  37. sb dunks shoes says:

    I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

    Reply

  38. ... says:

    Brave Ted Kennedy could be craven when he had to be
    http://mondoweiss.net/2009/08/brave-ted-kennedy-could-also-be-craven-when-he-had-to-be.html#comments
    From Rob Eshman at the Jewish Journal, who says that Ted Kennedy voted AIPAC’s way 100 percent of the time.
    The relationship was mutually beneficial—either a testament to Kennedy’s bedrock values or his astute political instincts. Take the Carter race.
    In the 1980 presidential race, writes Jeffrey S. Helmreich, “polls indicated that Carter would beat Kennedy in the New York Democratic primary by a margin of 54 to 28 percent. But on March 1, Carter’s UN Ambassador, Donald F. McHenry, voted for a viciously anti-Israel resolution in the UN Security Council condemning Israeli settlement activity in Jerusalem. Three weeks later, Kennedy beat Carter in New York by 59 percent to 41 percent.”
    In a statement following Kennedy’s death, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “(Senator) Kennedy has been a friend for 30 years, a great American patriot, a great champion of a better world, a great friend of Israel. He will be sorely missed.”

    Reply

  39. ... says:

    wigwag i’m curious who in recent memory do you think was a ‘good’ president since you have been panning obama so regularly who is as yet finished?

    Reply

  40. PissedOffAmerican says:

    I tuned Ted Kennedy out because of the Kopechne thing. Had I of responded to a similiar incident the way Ted Kennedy did, as just a lowly peon citizen, there is more than an odds on chance that I would still be in prison.
    I suppose I should consider his actions a gift, in a way, as I was young, but old enough to recognize an injustice when I saw one. Its when the light really began to come on for me, and I began to realize that not only DIDN’T George Washington chop down the cherry tree, odds were, if he did, he sold it at a profit, and then undoubtedly lied his ass off to avoid accountability. And if the tree got replaced, it was surely replaced with the tax dollars of people that actually WORK for a living.
    I saw, through Ted, that “justice for all” is a cheap slogan that rings untrue in Washington DC. I’ve seen nothing from Washington since that has convinced me otherwise.
    And the really scary part is I think Ted was one of the good guys, compared to the slimeball standard in Washington DC.

    Reply

  41. Katherine says:

    I have just listened to Ted Kennedy’s famous 1980 speech, through YouTube. I was too young back then, but now that I’ve finally heard that speech, I find it amazing–and somewhat sad–that the issues he mentioned are still relevant today. It brings tears to my eyes. Whatever you think about Kennedy, I do believe that as long as we continue his fight for health care for all, and a better America for all, *he* and his dream shall never die.
    And Steve, thanks so much for your wonderful comments. Your human touch to politics is what we need more of. Have a safe trip home and please accept our condolences.

    Reply

  42. Outraged American says:

    Steve, I’m sorry for the loss of your friend, but the Kennedys’
    collective memory is far from spotless.
    Vietnam. Their dad’s vote fixing to get JFK into office. No
    wonder Nixon was bitter — he got screwed out of office and
    when he finally gets in he inherits Vietnam.
    I met a guy on the border of Thailand and Burma who’d worked
    for Kennedy. He said that Kennedy was always drunk and they
    used to have to prop him up for speeches.
    And then there’s the whole Marilyn thing.
    No one in the Congress in this country is honest. Except for Ron
    Paul and occasionally Kucinich.
    A few others get it together, like Congresswoman Barbara Lee
    who was the only one in ALL OF “OUR” Congress to cast a vote
    against a resolution authorizing Dumbya to use “all necessary
    and appropriate force” against anyone associated with the
    terrorist attack of September 11.
    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2001/09/alone-hill
    I’m going to invite Barbara to live in my homeland of Feminazia
    and make sure her path in is strewn with rose petals.
    Single Payer health care. Anything else is just a gyp.

    Reply

  43. WigWag says:

    I hope that Senator Kennedy rests in peace and that his family is comforted by the fact that he will be long remembered for his remarkable life and the wonderful things he accomplished.
    Kennedy’s life was full of irony. He was a man of immense privilege who fought fiercely for the poor. He believed passionately in women’s rights and the empowerment of women but he treated women in his personal life shabbily at best.
    Perhaps the strangest irony emanates from his run for the Presidency against Jimmy Carter in 1980. Kennedy ran against Carter from the left. He realized that Carter was an incapable and unpopular president who had no chance to beat Ronald Reagan. Kennedy was proven correct in this belief. Kennedy objected to Carter’s unwillingness to impose domestic price controls to fight inflation, Carter’s conservative approach to budgeting and Carter’s enthusiasm for supporting dictators around the world in spite of his hollow rhetoric about human rights. Had Kennedy won the nomination the whole sad chapter in American history known as the “Reagan Revolution” might have been avoided.
    The irony in all of this is that Kennedy’s support of Barack Obama helped seal the Democratic Party nomination for the young and inexperienced Senator from Illinois. Steve Clemons is right; but for Kennedy’s intervention, Hillary Clinton would probably have won.
    By insuring Obama’s victory, Kennedy gave the United States a President as ineffective, hypocritical and feckless as Jimmy Carter. In 1980 Kennedy tried to defeat an incompetent and inept Democratic President; in 2008 Kennedy saddled the country with an incompetent and inept Democratic President.
    It’s just another one of the contradictions that characterized the life of this extraordinary Senator.

    Reply

  44. Tahoe Editor says:

    Everybody take a drink every time Steve writes “franchise”.

    Reply

  45. Franklin says:

    Thanks for sharing this great remembrance of Sen. Kennedy.

    Reply

  46. Colleen DeVine says:

    Ted Kennedy’s death will surely be felt by many, particularly those who had an interest in the health care debate.
    There should be more senators with progressive values like him.
    I left a condolence for him at his online memorial on http://www.tributes.com/show/Edward-Kennedy-84191517. Co

    Reply

  47. Carroll says:

    This is crushing.
    Of all the Kennedy family’s virtues, and despite their all too human sometimes personal weaknesses, they really did act with the kind of noblesse oblige once in office that is the hallmark of true character and leadership.
    It is the end of an era not just for the Kennedy family but for the “old America” ideals that now and then produced some leaders of character.. warts, beauty marks and all…they kept that noblesse oblige in their public service.

    Reply

  48. samuelburke says:

    here is a transcript of a speech by former senator Ted Kennedy.
    No President of the United States should employ misguided ideology and distortion of the truth to take the nation to war. In doing so, the President broke the basic bond of trust between government and the people. If Congress and the American people knew the whole truth, America would never have gone to war.
    To remain silent when we feel so strongly would be irresponsible. It would betray the fundamental ideals for which our troops are sacrificing their lives on battlefields half a world away. No President who does that to this land we love deserves to be re-elected.
    At our best, America is a great and generous country, ever looking forward, ever seeking a better nation for our people and a better world for peoples everywhere. I’m optimistic that these high ideals will be respected and reaffirmed by the American people in November. The election cannot come too soon.
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article5530.htm
    The examination of the public record and of the statements of President Bush and his aides reveals that the debate about overthrowing Saddam began long before the beginning of this Administration. Its roots began thirteen years ago, during the first Gulf War, when the first President Bush decided not to push on to Baghdad and oust Saddam.
    President Bush and his National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft explained the reason for that decision in their 1997 book, A World Transformed. They wrote the following: “Trying to eliminate Saddam, extending the ground war into an occupation of Iraq, would have violated our guideline about not changing objectives in midstream. . .and would have incurred incalculable human and political costs. . . We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq. The coalition would instantly have collapsed, the Arabs deserting it in anger and other allies pulling out as well. Under those circumstances, there was no viable exit strategy we could see, violating another of our principles. . . Had we gone the invasion route, the United States could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land.” Those words are eerily descriptive of our current situation in Iraq.
    During the first Gulf War, Paul Wolfowitz was a top advisor to then Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, and he disagreed strongly with the decision by the first President Bush to stop the war after driving Saddam out of Kuwait.
    After that war ended, Wolfowitz convened a Pentagon working group to make the case that regime change in Iraq could easily be achieved by military force. The Wolfowitz group concluded that “U.S. forces could win unilaterally or with the aid of a small group of a coalition of forces within 54 days of mid to very high intensity combat.”
    Saddam’s attempted assassination of President Bush during a visit to Kuwait in 1993 added fuel to the debate.
    After his tenure at the Pentagon, Wolfowitz became Dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and continued to criticize the decision not to end the reign of Saddam. In 1994 he wrote: “With hindsight, it does seem like a mistake to have announced, even before the war was over, that we would not go to Baghdad…”
    Wolfowitz’s resolve to oust Saddam was unwavering. In 1997, he wrote, “We will have to confront him sooner or later-and sooner would be better…Unfortunately, at this point, only the substantial use of military force could prove that the U.S. is serious and reverse the slow collapse of the international coalition.”
    The following year, Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld and 16 others-10 of whom are now serving in or officially advising the current Bush Administration-wrote President Clinton, urging him to use military force to remove Saddam. They said, “The only acceptable strategy is one that eliminates the possibility that Iraq will be able to use or threaten to use weapons of mass destruction. In the near term, this means a willingness to undertake military action, as diplomacy is clearly failing. In the long term, it means removing Saddam Hussein and his regime from power. That now needs to become the aim of American foreign policy.”

    Reply

  49. Dan Kervick says:

    “I can think of no more fitting way to honor him.”
    Kennedy was a long-time supporter of National Health Insurance. No Senate Democrat today has the nerve to use such brazenly socially progressive language. Most of them don’t even support such egalitarian goals in their hearts. The others are so intimidated that they have to apologize and dissemble even about the effort to put in a modest public option. In Kennedy’s 1980 Democratic Convention Speech, he said:
    “Finally, we cannot have a fair prosperity in isolation from a fair society. So I will continue to stand for a national health insurance. We must — We must not surrender — We must not surrender to the relentless medical inflation that can bankrupt almost anyone and that may soon break the budgets of government at every level. Let us insist on real controls over what doctors and hospitals can charge, and let us resolve that the state of a family’s health shall never depend on the size of a family’s wealth.”
    At the time, Kennedy was eager to take on the privileged and wealthy stakeholders in the existing medical establishment in order to slash medical costs and increase equity on behalf of the common man. The current approach is not nearly so focused on the medical needs of the economically strapped many, but on playing one group of stakeholders off against another to achieve much more modest changes.
    Obama appears to be using one coalition of thriving stakeholders in the existing system – doctors, hospitals and pharmaceutical firms – to take on just one other group of stakeholders: medical insurance firms. Not bad, but certainly nothing close to the older social democratic vision for which Kennedy once stood. No current Democrat would dare take on the lordly medical establishment directly, or pose a threat to mansions and yachts that we are all buying for all those doctors and drug barons. So the current reform effort is a sad shade of the earlier cause, and is the result of a series of Democratic capitulations over the years.
    I don’t know if passing it would really “honor” Kennedy so much. But maybe it would count as a little bit of a consolation prize.

    Reply

  50. Zathras says:

    My condolences to all who knew Edward Kennedy, a man of the Senate to whom the Senate and the country owe much.
    Steve Clemons’s observations here about the importance of how Kennedy treated and made use of his Senate staff, by the way, are shrewd and true.

    Reply

  51. Jayne says:

    I was so saddened to hear of Senator Kennedy’s
    death. He was a true leader. Although, I’ve never met him, it was as if someone in my family had died. I grieve because I love him and the entire Kennedy Family.
    Sleep on strong soldier,
    go on and take your rest
    We all loved you very much
    Almighty God loved you best!

    Reply

  52. Adam Holland says:

    When Congress finally passes and the president
    finally signs a health care reform bill, they should
    do so in Ted Kennedy’s memory. I can think of no
    more fitting way to honor him.

    Reply

  53. John Waring says:

    Steve,
    We have nobody to replace him. Nobody.

    Reply

  54. Dave says:

    4 US Soldiers Dead, no coverage, A Senator Dies America mourns, makes you think what America thinks about its Veterans, active and retired
    CNN scroll at bottom of page said 4 US Soldiers killed
    Same NBC
    Same ABC
    Same CBS
    Now look at the difference between what happened overnight to a Senator to 4 Soldiers.
    America, you make me sick.

    Reply

  55. Union Jack says:

    Ted Kennedy helped fund terrorist organisations, he helped terrorists escape justice and helped free them when caught.
    Ted Kennedy raised the funds that the IRA used to buy weapons from Libya, money Libya used to fund the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie.
    Mary Jo Kopechne isn’t the only blood on Ted Kennedy’s hands.

    Reply

  56. Richard Giragosian says:

    As Steve has, as usual, already articualted so well, the passage of Senator Kennedy (or EMK to those of us sharing the Hill legacy), has added a new somber and sobering meaning to this period of US politics. More broadly, in terms of public policy, the Edward Kenedy legacy is both rich and expansive, as most clearly demonstrated and upheld by the vast network of policy experts and staffers like Nick Littefield, Gerry Cavanaugh, Rick McGahey and so many others. It is this legacy that carries on well beyond this period. And this same legacy will undoubtedly only inspire a new generation to aspire to engaging in the always rewarding work of contributing to policy formulation and good governance……our thoughts are certainly with the Kennedy family, but are also with the nation to which he so proudly and courageously served.
    - Richard Giragosian

    Reply

  57. Ellie says:

    The Kennedy family has impacted politics in Massachusetts for over 60 years beginning with JFK being elected to Congress in 1947. Ted Kennedy’s passing is truly the end of an era.

    Reply

  58. Dusty says:

    Barack Obama would not have made it to the Presidency without Ted Kennedy. ~ I believe that is a true statement.
    Rest in peace Senator Kennedy..you are among those that went before you now.

    Reply

  59. Tom Degan says:

    “….to speak for those who have no voice; to remember those who are forgotten; to respond to the frustration and fulfill the aspiration of all Americans seeking a better life in a better land….for all those whose cares have been our concern, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dream shall never die.”
    Edward Moore Kennedy, August 12, 1980
    The lion sleeps.
    I’ll never forget the night Ted Kennedy gave that speech at the Democratic National Convention after failing to win his party’s nomination for the presidency. I was staying in a one-room kitchenette in Liverpool, NY, just outside of Syracuse. It was – and remains – the greatest political oration of my lifetime. Watching the event on a small, black and white TV I instinctively knew I was witnessing one of those sublime moments in American history that would be remembered a century into the future.
    Teddy Kennedy died late last night at the age of seventy-seven. In a life that is littered with ironies, here’s the biggest one of all: His three older brothers – Joe, Jack and Bobby – are eternally frozen in our imagination as the personifications of youth. How poignant that our final image of the baby of that family will be as an old man, frail and mortally ill.
    When he first ran for the senate forty-seven years ago, I was all of four years old. Had I been writing about politics then it is a fairly good bet that I would have vehemently opposed the candidacy of Edward Moore Kennedy. Let’s be honest; in 1962 the guy was a lightweight. He ran for the Democratic nomination against another young man, Edward McCormick, whose uncle was the speaker of the House of Representatives. During a debate McCormick told him that were it not for his name, his candidacy would be viewed as a joke. It was a point well made. It is obvious when looking at film of that campaign that our boy Ted is in way over his head.
    Whom among us would have dared dream all those years ago that this punk would one day evolve into the greatest senator ever to walk those halls?
    An incredible realization just came to me: Teddy represented the state of Massachusetts for forty-six years, eight months and nineteen days. That is nearly three months longer than all the years his older brother Jack lived on earth. This truly is the end of an era, folks.
    http://www.tomdegan.blogspot.com
    Tom Degan
    Goshen, N

    Reply

  60. JohnTS says:

    Steve,
    Your remembrance is moving and appreciated and brought the
    great Massachusetts Senator into greater relief for those of us who
    admired but didn’t know him personally.
    I admire your work and passion so much. Thanks for taking the
    time to share your wonderful and clear-minded thoughts on the
    passing of this very great man on the way back from your trip to
    Europe.
    Thank you, sincerely,
    John T.S.

    Reply

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