Friday, August 28, 2009

The Giants Are Gone; We’re Left With Re-Election First Mental Midget K Street Whores And Hate Mongers.

The Giants Are Gone; We’re Left With Re-Election First Mental Midget K Street Whores And Hate Mongers.

As one-by-one the few Senatorial Giants have left this earth we have become increasingly the ignored pawns of the Debauchees, Demimondaines and K-Street Gigolos who would have us accept them as our “revered” and wise leaders, intelligent of mind, serious of purpose and Truth-Sayers in ever words that passes their lips. Nothing could be father from the truth in this era of consummate re-election dwellers in the U.S. House and Senate…hypocrites all; calling them mediocre is an act of political correctness and kindness; calling them evil leeches and criminal is the truth.

Accepting, or even considering, the verbal lint and hate scented droll of far right media hate peddlers is a sign of a frightening America moral decay as is the vacuous acceptance of hate pervaded in the name of God, American Values and Christianity in general.

If you have ever read my profile biography you are aware that I have devoted my life to the history of this nation and became immersed in the political process of this nation with John F. Kennedy. You, if you have followed me, realize that I identify, historically with Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson and hold The Declaration Of Independence as the “First Law and the Highest Law” of this land.

Those men were not perfect and I do not hold them in the highest esteem in some mythical romanticized sanitized idolatry. They were human as you and I. They had their failings of character and they made mistakes. Who among us does not have flaws of character or has not made mistakes in our lives?

In the aftermath of Ted (Edward) Kennedy we are confronted with, yet again, the voices of America’s polarization hate and need for vindictive judgmental character assassination. The shrill and hysterical squealing of the right want nothing more than to relegate Senator Kennedy to the bonfires of hate and vilification crying out over-and-over again-and-again… Chappaquiddick, Chappaquiddick with total avoidance of what Senator Kennedy has contributed to this nation. It must drive them to pitchers of Martinis to drown out the near universal judgment that Ted Kennedy will go down in history in that very select, elite group of senators known as “The Great Senators”.

The facts and accomplishments cannot be erased from history by their hate. The likes of Limbaugh, Beck, Savage, Malkin, Coulter, Palin and their ilk will just have to drown their sorrows and satiate their political blood lust with the support of their demented choirs of flock following fascist hypocrite Christians.

I am not a delusional addict of “The Myth Of Camelot”. I accept reality; I acknowledge reality and I have no intention to dismiss blemishes with gyroscopic spin and white wash. I accept accomplishment and extol its virtue. Have you ever stopped and considered how easy it would have been for the Kennedy Clan to have been corporate suck up Republicans and war mongers?

And now for the hypocrites of America, those folks who are simply liars and fools and as collateral damage have opened the door to a major assault on the validity and value of Christianity …period!

If they be Christians at all; they are self-defined guardians of their version of the Old Testament; fully prepared to reject the New Testament some bastardized revisionist abomination as they forge hammer their premeditated perversion of Christianity into a hideous incarnation, a “New Jehovah” given to the judgment of all and everyone they find disagreeable, giving license to levy any punishment they see fit and to damn and scar all offenders with their venom, vitriol, vengeance and their weapons of public polarization and demonizing dialog and diatribes.

Their new cast “Old Testament” religion hails a God of anger, rage, retribution, jealousy and vengeance; theirs if the “Warrior God”. He is a “people suppressor”, not the social God of the New Testament, “a people supporter” , and at the foot of the altar of their God of absolute right, wrath and hate, they find a grant of power that permits them to damn in any way they choose anyone they choose. They become easy flock supplicants to the forces of government given to abuse, corruption and control as they are free to exercise their demented hatred in the name of their God and poisoned patriotism.

Their vindictiveness is vindicated and validated in their religious view of the world. Those they hate bear “The Mark of Cain-The mark of seven-fold vengance” branded by their self-assigned powers of righteous enforcement throughout the earth over which they seek dominion.

They embody many of the characteristics of worshipers of the Goddess Erida, The Goddess Of Hate, she who is strife and discord, and she who is the twin sister of the Goddess of War. Like Erida, these contemporary purveyors of perverted hate-base religion have and insatiable rage and lust for destruction of others.

In the wake of “what they deem to be” hate crimes, terrorism, murder or other acts of violence committed by evil persons upon the innocent, victims, their families, friends, and compatriots oftentimes wish to seek bloody revenge upon both the perpetrators and upon their country, kin, race, or religion.

They are hypocrites seeking to justify them by cloaking themselves in
speaking of God as the God of Love, while they scour scripture for examples of a vengeful and hateful god in order to justify their intense feelings which call for violent acts to be carried out against the enemy or perceived enemy.

This not religion as any normal human being would define it; this is pure psychotic hate in a sham wrapper. Hate comes not from belief; Hate comes from the ethical flaws in the human heart and human spirit. Their brand of hate is infectious like some pandemic virus it has long ago swallowed many of our corporate leaders, our politicians, our judges, and far too many common people who wish to be like the powerful. The mind set
instills greed, arrogance, hatred, bigotry, dishonesty, and power lust in the hearts, minds and “souls” of those infected.

The belief system attacks and destroys honesty, integrity, caring, love, sacrifice, ethics and other human virtues which we are capable of if willing and committed.

Once the belief system is in place and has infected malleable and willing minds: it is very difficult to cure because the infected become blind to their corrupt ways and deny that they are doing the work of evil rather than good. They are above the laws of man and no indecency or crime is intolerable in the name of their judgment and cleansing, not character or political assassination, torture, execution, libel, slander; all manner of ruination may be visited with impunity upon their perceived foes.

Congress will come back into session after Labor Day, but it's unlikely that its members will be any wiser about the course to follow than they were before the recess, and confrontation with these twisted and demented citizens will continue.

If anything, many will be less likely to support a healthcare plan based on the general principles the president has proposed. Some Democrats, fearful that Obama will drop such features as the public option in order to attract Republican votes, will want to go it alone, and forget about trying to get the Republicans on board.

Others, like Connecticut's Sen. Joe Lieberman, want to postpone action, or split the legislation into smaller packages in hopes of finding portions a majority of members will accept. In the end, perhaps recognizing that the vast majority of Republicans are more interested in defeating anything he proposes than in improving Americans' health care, President Obama may take the first course, and decide on a bill that enough Democrats will support to bring about passage of a moderately useful bill with few if any Republican votes.

The raucous atmosphere of the town meetings and the overt hostility shown by many demonstrators there have been fueled in part by so-called "Astroturf" (phony grass-roots) organizations, which have poured considerable money and effort into orchestrated opposition, but their efforts would not have been so successful if there was not a widespread willingness to believe at least some of the far-fetched rhetoric.

Orchestrated or not, the town meetings, critical letters to the editor, and hostile, anonymous comments on Web sites and message boards all reflect two more fundamental facts: Many people are instinctively afraid of change, even if it might mean change to a fairer, more inclusive health care system, and many people have been conditioned to believe that government is inherently bad.

They will have had time to absorb the hatred and vilification heaped upon Senator Kennedy’s memory and the threats against passage of a healthcare package in his name. They will be, perhaps, brought low by the forces of hate, corporate power and political Fascism, all members of frightening marriage.

How else to explain the willingness of so many to believe Palin's charge that the government plans to create death panels to decide the fate of terminally ill patients? Ironically, Palin's inspiration was the proposal of a Republican senator, Johnny Isakson of Georgia, who urged that Medicare should pay for discussions between doctors and patients of their end-of life options, a common practice not presently covered. Isakson has said her interpretation was "nuts."

For Americans, fear of government has its roots in the American Revolution, the most sweeping change Americans have ever experienced. People universally have recognized the need for governments since ancient times, to fight their wars, build their roads, protect their commerce and guard their borders, but have seldom been satisfied with those services or been willing to pay the taxes to provide them. Thus they extol the virtues of private management of what should be the public good, nowhere so blatantly as in the provision of health care.

President Obama may get a health care plan approved this year, if he can persuade enough Democrats to support it. It is unlikely to wholly satisfy anyone.

But it may start to alter the shameful truth that, because of an unwillingness to significantly change the way we provide and pay for our citizen's needs, we American citizens have put up with a lower quality of care — at more than twice the cost, than any other developed country on earth.

Commenting on the death of Senator Ted Kennedy on his radio program , Boss Limbaugh had this to say:

No matter where you watch television today – even if you turn on FOX – you are going to get the syrupy – everything they say is going to be predictable: let’s put aside our differences for today and respect the great work and achievements of Sen. Kennedy. I am going to vomit and puke all over everyone with this analysis today.

The unhinged haters cannot restrain themselves; even now. They are evil incarnate and psychotic slaves of the powers that would rule the earth. They would have been supporters in an earlier age of Henry Cabot Lodge “The Destroyer” in Senate History and imbued with every attribute of character, and singleness of purpose that typifies the religion right of “The New Jehovah”.

I want to digress for a few moments to consider the Senate and the chambers wherein greatness for the few has been fashioned before I consider in vicious attack dog fashion the hypocrites and purveyors of national carcinogenic values and vaccination against the virus of truth.

I have given my entire adult life to the study of this nation’s history and everyday am embroiled in the process of the preservation of its dream and possibilities.

When I venture into Washington I find myself wrapped in the aura of our history; that I cannot and would not choose to escape. Take the Senate; The Old Senate Chamber is indeed, a "place of resounding deeds." It is a hallowed hall. It almost wants to make me believe in ghosts that I might walk among them.

The modern Senate Chamber, with its brilliant lighting and prying cameras, is only a short walk down the corridor from that room, but it is a century and a half removed from the momentous events that took place there.

In that room, Webster thundered and Clay maneuvered, while the fading Calhoun looked darkly into his country's future.

It is a wonder that we do not still hear the echoes of their voices: Jeff Davis and Charles Sumner, Thomas Hart Benton and Stephen Douglas, William Seward and Judah Benjamin, all the giants who dealt, rightly or wrongly, wisely or otherwise, with some of the most momentous decisions our Republic has ever faced.

We are still in their debt, for we still can learn from them. We can learn, from their example, to identify and to appreciate those Senators who are worthy to stand as their successors.

The modern Senate chamber stands as a monument to Senator Mansfield's leadership. In the early 1970s, with the assistance of his predecessor, John C. Stennis, he overcame opposition in Congress to funding the magnificent restoration.

He also arranged the creation of the Senate Commission on Art to manage that restoration and to administer the Senate's museum programs. The Office of Senate Curator and the Senate Historical Office are the direct result of his commitment to promoting deeper and broader public understanding of this institution's rich past and what was still then a promising future.

The Senators who once held sway in the old chamber room could not have foreseen the day when their words and images would instantaneously be brought to the American people in their homes.

Perhaps, in the simplest of terms, that sums up just how much we have changed as a nation and how our times have changed from that of the Senators that served in this chamber.

And yet, in another light, we are not so distant at all.

Despite their period dress and antique speech, the men who worked here (for, in those days, there were only men) confronted questions which, in their broadest sense, are familiar to us as well.

Questions like the relationship between law, on the one hand, and justice on the other.

Questions of equity versus equality.

Questions about the competing values of regionalism, individual rights, and the national interest.

Those same questions are weighed by every Senator today, and they will remain pertinent and pressing when all current Senators of this feeble class recede into history. For those questions are part and parcel of representative democracy.

The form of government that we have attempts to rejects hereditary standing and the trappings of grandeur; and so, for continuity and for tradition, it must rely on the common historical memory of our people.

That brings me to question of: “How does one define Senatorial greatness?

Should the test be “legislative accomplishment?"

In addition to positive achievement, perhaps there should be recognition of, as they put it, "courageous negation."

What about those senators who consistently failed to secure major legislation, but in failing opened the road to success for a later generation?

Should any criteria include national leadership?

That would knock out great regional leaders like South Carolina's John C. Calhoun.

Personal integrity? That might exclude the chronically indebted Daniel Webster of Massachusetts.

The unanimous respect of one's colleagues? That would doom the antislavery leader Charles Sumner.

I have criteria, admittedly, that nicely evaded all of these questions. Instead, its requirements for "greatness" included "acts of statesmanship transcending party and State lines." It defined "statesmanship" to include "leadership in national thought and constitutional interpretation as well as legislation."

So let us see where I come down on this issue. You may agree, disagree or want to offer up some of your own choices. The comment section is available to you. As this is a serious discuss I would only ask that you not simply offer up a name, but take the time to prepare your supporting remarks and/or appropriate online links.

Henry Clay of Kentucky: “The Great Compromiser” Served in the Senate from 1831 until his death in 1852. A member of the Whig Party, he was "the Great Compromiser" who had a great ability to balance regional and national interests. He was largely credited with keeping the North and South together without civil war for many years despite their differences over slavery.

John C. Calhoun of South Carolina, leading proponent of "states' rights." In 1957, Senator John F. Kennedy described him as a "forceful logician of state sovereignty" and a "masterful defender of the rights of a political minority against the dangers of an unchecked majority." He was Andrew Jackson’s favorite human being.

Daniel Webster of Massachusetts, who served in the Senate from 1827 to 1850, except for a two-year stint as Secretary of State. He championed the concept of a strong national government, and was a great orator. He could be a menacing presence.

Robert Marion La Follette, a Republican from Wisconsin, was a leading progressive. He served in the Senate from 1906 until his death in 1925. He championed the regulatory reforms of Presidents Roosevelt and Wilson, and also a more direct democracy, pushing the Seventeenth Amendment (1913), which provided for direct election of senators.

Robert A. Taft, Republican of Ohio, served in the Senate from 1938 to 1947. He helped write the Labor Management Relations Act, which placed controls on labor unions and prohibited "closed shops." There is much more to this man. I may not agree with everything he believed but he was a man with a quality intellect, principled integrity.

Robert Wagner of New York, was the architect of The Labor Relations Act.

Arthur Vandenburg of Michigan, who switched dramatically from isolationist to internationalist in early 1945.

Richard Russell He was a founder and leader of the Conservative coalition that dominated Congress from 1937 to 1963, and at his death was the most senior member of the Senate. From 1952 on, Russell fought a hopeless battle, trying to preserve the institution of segregation as it was dismantled piece by piece. After the historic 1954 Supreme Court ruling known as Brown v. Board of Education Topeka, Mississippi Senator James Eastland stated "The South will not abide by nor obey this legislative decision by a political court." Richard B. Russell took a more moderate approach:

Ways must be found to check the tendency of the court to disregard the Constitution and the precedents of able and unbiased judges to decide cases solely on the basis of the personal predilections of some of its members as to political, economic and social questions

Texas Senator Lyndon Baines Johnson, who had been a Russell protégé, moved Civil Rights legislation through the Senate in 1957. It was the first such legislation passed by Congress in 80 years. Russell and others formed a "Southern bloc" of senators opposed to legislation giving equal rights to blacks. This bloc voted against the Civil Rights legislation of 1964 and 1965, the programs of Johnson's Great Society, and many judicial nominations.

As chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, Russell oversaw virtually every aspect of funding of the U. S. Government. His opposition to the Vietnam War meant tough going for his old friend Lyndon Johnson, but Johnson prevailed. In 1969, the senator was elected President Pro Tem of the Senate, a mostly ceremonial position except for the fact that it made Russell fourth in line for the presidency, after the Speaker of the House. This would be as close as Russell ever got to the position he coveted.

Mike Mansfield, Serving as Democratic whip in 1960 when Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson resigned to become vice president, Mike Mansfield (1903-2001) was a logical choice to succeed Johnson. He was reluctant to become floor leader, however, being a Catholic at a time when the nation had just elected its first Catholic president. President John Kennedy and Vice President Johnson convinced him to take the job, and Mansfield served an unprecedented 16 years as majority leader. His style of leadership, which shared power widely among senators, facilitated enactment of a profusion of Great Society legislation. He was particularly instrumental in breaking the filibuster to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Mansfield returned to the Capitol in 1998 to inaugurate the Leader's Lecture Series.

Then What Of Ted Kennedy? He Is to be included? The answer is a resounding yes!

Kennedy Embodied Bygone Era Of Bipartisan Dealing


WASHINGTON — Over nearly a half-century, Ted Kennedy watched his beloved Senate change from a collegial boys' club known for bipartisan deal-cutting to a far less friendly place dominated by polarized parties, where broad compromise is a dying art.

His death Tuesday at 77 after a battle with brain cancer leaves the Senate without one of its consummate bridge-builders — possibly the best-known and most respected of an ever-dwindling breed of lawmakers willing and able to reach across the political aisle to strike bargains on big issues.

It's also a reminder of a bygone era in what is often called the world's greatest deliberative body, when coalition-building was the rule, not the exception — because it had to be.

"He's one of the members that was trained and came of age in the Senate in the 1960s, when each party was divided into major factions, and so to pass any major piece of legislation, it took a real coalition of some factions from the Democratic Party and some from the Republican Party. There was no such thing as a party-line vote in those days," said Betty Koed, a Senate historian.

Now an all-one-party vote — or one with just a few defectors from the other party — is the norm.

Back then, conservative Southerners were a force in both parties, and liberal Democrats and moderate Republicans were smaller but often powerful minorities that could band together to get big things — like civil rights laws — done.

Kennedy was part of a generation of policymakers that took those lessons into the 1980s and 1990s, as both parties began to solidify and strove to forge agreements that could transcend the ever-hardening party lines.

"A major element of that tradition will be lost now" with Kennedy's death, Koed said.

Former Republican Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas, who served as GOP leader from 1985 to 1996, says Kennedy's style was firmly rooted in the Senate of the past, where liberals like him had to strike sometimes unlikely bargains to get things done, but is just as relevant today.

"Kennedy understood, just like Ronald Reagan used to tell me when I was the leader, 'I want it all, but if I can get 70 percent, I'll run with it.' That was sort of Kennedy's attitude — he knew in the legislative process you've got to allow some give and take," Dole said.

The lesson holds true today, Dole said, as Democrats like Sen. Max Baucus of Montana and Republicans like Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming search for the elusive middle on a health care overhaul — something Kennedy called "the cause of my life."

But few if any members of today's Senate have the kind of reputation and respect Kennedy did, which enabled him to bring others along on difficult issues, Dole said.

"Kennedy had the aura and the mystique. He didn't have to pay homage to anybody," Dole said. "He could be very independent and strike his own deal, and you knew you either went along with him or a lot of the time (were going to) be left out in the cold because he was going to get a bill."

The Senate Kennedy joined in 1962 was almost entirely white and even more male-dominated than today's; just two women were serving there when he arrived in 1962, and it wasn't until more than 30 years later that more than two served simultaneously. It was also a much more social place than the Senate of today, in part because transportation to and from the capital was slower and more cumbersome. Lawmakers were usually in Washington all week and sometimes through the weekends, forging legislative partnerships at restaurants and bars, dinner parties and barbecues, Koed said.

Today senators typically jet in on Mondays or Tuesdays for weekday schedules packed with meetings and fundraisers, then escape Thursday or early Friday for a weekend back home.

"There was a certain degree of collegiality and senatorial courtesy, and also of rising above partisan stakes and trying to find a common national interest, and I think he was certainly the champion in that regard," said Nick Allard, Kennedy's counsel on the Judiciary Committee in the mid-1980s. "There are fewer in the Senate these days that do that — it's more of a win-or-lose partisan atmosphere."

Kennedy was a strong partisan in his own right, but his adversaries sought him out as a quintessential Senate "workhorse" — another quality senators, historians and aides say is harder to find in today's Senate — who was willing to help get something done.

"He'd come over and say, 'You know, we've got to get some Republicans, and if you can get me a couple or three I can talk to, maybe we can get a bill,'" Dole said. "You don't see a lot of that now."

Kennedy worked with former GOP Sen. Alan Simpson of Wyoming on immigration legislation in the 1980s that Kennedy ultimately decided to vote against — but that Simpson believes would never have become law without Kennedy's initial collaboration.

"As a legislator, you want to find a legislator to work with, not some guy who is just going to give speeches and screw you up. Kennedy was a master legislator," Simpson says of his former colleague in a forthcoming biography of Simpson by Don Hardy, his former chief of staff.

Simpson was traveling out of the country Thursday and could not be reached for further comment. He told his biographer last year that the Senate is forever changed from the one in which he and Kennedy first worked together.

"The thing about the Senate is, the giants are gone," Simpson told Hardy. "Whether they were Republican or Democrat, they were giants in days long past."

WASHINGTON (AP) - Historians say the death of Sen. Edward Kennedy leaves the Senate without 1 of its consummate bridge-builders who can forge agreements that transcend ever-hardening party lines.

Ted Kennedy, 1932-2009: The Brother Who Mattered Most

Healthcare, History and Kennedy

posted by KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL on 08/26/2009 @ 4:55pm

I was writing this column when I heard of Senator Kennedy's death.

I am heartbroken.

For more than five decades, my father William vanden Heuvel was a close friend and political ally of Kennedy's. When I called him this morning he had been weeping. He'd just seen the footage on CNN of Kennedy's extraordinarily emotional visit to Ireland, one year after his brother John's assassination. My father traveled with Kennedy on that trip, as he would on many others in the years to follow. He also shared memories of sailing trips on the coast of Maine, and the good times, and tough times, and the campaigns waged and won.

My father told me he was supposed to be on the small plane that crashed and nearly killed Kennedy in 1964; but what with Bobby running for the New York Senate that year, my father went to campaign for Teddy's older brother. He spent the next year shuttling to the Massachusetts hospital to visit Teddy, who was strapped down on a gurney to avoid paralysis.

My father wrote many speeches for Kennedy, and informed many others, including the eloquent and impassioned statements Kennedy made opposing the war in Iraq. Vietnam was never far from Kennedy's mind or the memories of those -- like my father -- who had served in President Kennedy's administration and watched Lyndon Johnson's Great Society destroyed.

When Kennedy was deciding whether to endorse Senator Barack Obama for president, he took counsel with friends and advisers, including my father.

Senator Kennedy was a fighting liberal; a passionate and exuberant lion to the very end -- often among timid cubs. He will be remembered as the best and most effective Senator of the last century. Kennedy helped shape every major piece of legislation, with his powerful commitment to civil rights, labor rights, and women's rights -- always fighting for equality, always standing with the underdog, the poor, the most vulnerable, who he believed deserved lives of dignity.

Kennedy's final fight was for quality, affordable healthcare for all. As recently as July, he called that fight "the cause of my life." In the coming months, President Obama and a Democratic Congress will determine whether that cause is realized.

Whatever one thinks of President Obama's presidency so far, he is one of the few reform presidents in modern history -- a potential Senator Kennedy recognized when he endorsed his candidacy. A reform President takes on the status quo in order to improve the lives of the majority and ensure that America lives up to it's potential and promise. Franklin Roosevelt was the very model of a reform President. Lyndon Johnson, in a sense, was pushed to become a reformer by the turbulence of the times.

When a reform President takes on the status quo he confronts a ferocious, well-organized, reactionary opposition. What we're seeing today -- with rightwing groups comparing Obama to Hitler and healthcare reform to socialism--Roosevelt faced with the American Liberty League calling him a socialist or a fascist (ironic, since it was Roosevelt who led the US into war against fascism). Like Obama, Roosevelt also confronted well-funded business lobbies. And in the Catholic demagogue Father Coughlin, Roosevelt had his Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck in a Roman collar.

As Congressman Keith Ellison -- Vice Chair of the Progressive Caucus -- notes in a recent post, "The special interests and protectors of the status quo acted worse when America was on the brink of passing Civil Rights and Voting Rights legislation. They spread lies and fear when America was contemplating women's suffrage too."

The rabid protestors opposing Obama are representatives of a long national tradition: an irrational fear of a strong central government. Obama has found it more difficult to turn away from the contemporary edition of the fanatical right than his reform predecessors, partly because conservative ideology has been in the saddle for three decades and the recession began too late in the Bush administration to sufficiently discredit its free-market fundamentalism and those who still speak on its behalf.

Obama himself acknowledged parallels between now and previous battles for reform when speaking to a coalition of religious leaders on August 20. He said, "These struggles always boil down to a contest between hope and fear. That was true in the debate over social security, when FDR was accused of being a socialist. That was true when LBJ tried to pass Medicare. And it's true in this debate today."

Indeed those words might be a valuable frame for a presidential speech after Labor Day, as Obama returns to presenting and--one hopes-- truly fighting for his healthcare agenda. Obama would be wise to place his agenda in the tradition of reform in US history -- especially the two most popular programs in modern history, Social Security and Medicare -- which were staunchly opposed by the GOP.

The President, his congressional allies, and millions of Americans should also be inspired to honor and fight for the cause of Senator Kennedy's life. Surely the President recognizes that the Senate's fighting liberal would not place the fate of affordable health insurance back in the hands of the private sector without a viable public alternative that isn't driven by profit or greed.

This country now has the best opportunity since 1912 -- when Theodore Roosevelt included universal healthcare in his progressive party platform -- to pass real healthcare reform and fulfill a moral imperative. A bill with a strong public option would be a victory not only for progressives but for all those who seek a healthier, more humane country where healthcare is a right not a commodity.

One has to question the value of bipartisanship at this moment. This is not a Republican Party out to criticize or modify healthcare reform. This is a party out to cripple or kill reform, and with it the future of Obama's presidency. It's high time to part ways with the Party of No-- which once opposed Medicare and Social Security and is now committed to fear mongering about government takeovers and socialism coming to America.

Democrats must pass a strong reform bill by any means necessary (and Congressman Ellison makes a strong case here for using reconciliation to avoid a GOP filibuster). If the Republicans defeat it, let them explain themselves in the 2010 midterm elections to voters who remain at the mercy of insurance companies. If, on the other hand, Dems choose to enact a bipartisan sham reform bill instead of seizing this moment when they are in charge, they will shoulder the blame and see ugly results come 2010.

Every President, no matter how popular at the outset, has only so much political capital and must use it wisely and strategically. And if one looks at American political history--as Mike Lux explains in his valuable book The Progressive Revolution: How the Best in America Came to Be -- every so often a window to change opens and the combination of crisis, leadership, and political movement makes big, positive reforms possible.

"That window is open right now," Lux writes, "and President Obama, to his credit, is trying to keep it open" to make changes that will make our nation immeasurably stronger. But if he gives up this fight and caves to lobbyists -- or either the Congressional Democrats or the grassroots fails to deliver the support he needs -- then that window will slam shut, and the next opportunity for reform might not come for another generation.

That would be a real tragedy -- and also no way to honor the Lion of the Senate. Today President Obama said, "The Kennedy name is synonymous with the Democratic Party." Now, for this fight, the Democratic Party must become synonymous with Kennedy.

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