Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

the petty department of very very small

Back when Ted Kennedy was too drunk to ask for help when he drove his car off a bridge into some very deep water and a girl ended up dead, it looked like his political future would also die.  His hometown constituents forgave him and he didn’t even go into recovery.  Then he became a voice for the progressives, and it seemed like, hey, he’s made up for it.  

Well, I know he’s dying, long after Mary Jo of course, but he’s going out the way he nearly did before, not by letting a girl die, but by killing this girl’s dream.

Check this out:


It seems Ted won’t allow Hillary to work on health care reform.  I wonder why? She’d put in universal health care, which is less than single payer, something Barack would like to see, but more than universal access, which is less than I’d like to see.  And less than Paul Krugman thinks can actually work.  

How small and petty of Ted, to take his last days to keep a good girl drown (I mean down?).  Hillary’s plan would have sucked the huge profits out of that industry and led to the real possibility of single payer.  

I hope Barack isn’t too respectful toward the dying to say something to Ted about his refusal to share.   The primary is over, she helped Barack win, but no, can’t let that girl have anything she wants. Ted doesn’t want her cooties fooling around with his committee.  


  1. I take some issues with this diary.  You seem to be characterizing Sen. Kennedy’s refusal to let Clinton create and chair her own subcommittee on health care as a petty, vindictive, gender-motivated attempt to keep a “good girl d[r]own.”  Isn’t it at least equally, if not more, plausible that Kennedy views her request as an attempt to leapfrog several other senators with more seniority, to create a new subcommittee, before the new administration has come in and set its agenda?  There were some other quotes from that article that support this characterization:

    Clinton ranks eighth in seniority on the committee and would be leapfrogging over the likes of two other ex-presidential candidates, Sens. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), if she were to get a special subcommittee to call her own.

    Democratic sources close to the health committee saw Clinton’s entreaty to chair her own subcommittee as an attempt to hijack health care policy, an issue dear to Kennedy’s heart and one he has championed for decades.

    Whether or not the entreaty actually is an effort to “hijack” policy is of course debatable–but Kennedy’s belief, correct or not, seems to me to be the kind of political power-turf-tussling that is so common to Washington and that has little to do with any subjective sexism on Kennedy’s part.  I can’t see any basis in this article for your assertion that “Ted doesn’t want her cooties fooling around with his committee.”  I fervently hope that Clinton has a major role in the new administration’s health care initiatives, but it seems like this intra-Senate power play isn’t the way to do it.

    And I honestly found your snarky references to Chappaquiddick to be in somewhat poor taste.  

    Not trying to hate, just giving my honest reactions.

  2. NavyBlueWife

    Actually, I think this analogy is really offensive.

    I welcome a real working thread on gender equality, particularly one that defines sexism in a productive, progressive way.

    One of the most important parts of Obama’s candidacy I think was his refusal to make race a central premise of his campaign.  The country looked beyond his black half when they elected him, imho, and I think we would all do well to begin to look at gender in the same way.  If we look at the qualifications of the person, rather than the race, gender, or sexuality of a person, the better off we all will be. I don’t see Kennedy’s actions as sexist.  Clinton can do great things, but we stand in her way if we are constantly playing a false sexism card.

  3. spacemanspiff

    … before I formulate my opinion on this diary.

    What really happened when the car went off the bridge?

    Did Ted really let the girl drown or is this a myth?

    I’ve read about this a lot. But, history can be rewritten and I didn’t live through it so if it isn’t to much trouble, I’d like to know from a trusted source (anybody on the Moose) what really went down.


  4. louisprandtl

    For me this incident is not a major incident. I think your major point or intent of the diary is lack of diversity in the Democratic Party positions of power. White males still dominate the party positions when major supporters of the party are women. Of course, there will be institutional opposition from positions of power in the Democratic Senatorial Committee to any change that HRC or anybody would be seeking that might alter the power equation.

    Let us be honest, the Democratic Party haven’t seen a powerful woman like Hillary Clinton ever (other than Eleanor Roosevelt probably). When she is pushing the boundaries, there are enormous resistance from positions of power and Ted Kennedy had been in the Senate since 1960. The old boys club of White Men in Senate will accuse HRC of playing gender politics, that’s part of the pushback when one pushes the historical boundaries of power. The old guard will not let go of its power and retire in the night quietly…

  5. Stella

    Hillary promised-even after she was out of the race for the nomination-to work for health care reform and she is being denied a leadership role. A role that if she had, she would surely shine in.

    However, I have to echo the sentiments of NavyBlueWife and others here and say that I just don’t see the sexism. I think that this is just how the Senate works, when you have seniority you have more leeway to pick your pet projects and when you are relatively new to the Senate you get what you are given. Wouldn’t it seem odd if a junior male Senator was allowed to “leap-frog” over other senior members to chair a subcommittee? I think so, and therefore I can’t see the sexism in not allowing a junior female Senator to do the same.

    I also understand that Hillary has millions of supporters across the country, many of them women, who want to see her champion health care reform. But ultimately the Senate operates on seniority and not popularity.

    That being said, I think that she can still have a meaningful role in helping to shape health care reform-even if she does not chair the subcommittee-because, well, she is absolutely brilliant and a team player.

  6. sricki

    I spent part of last night seething when I heard that he’d shot her down, until a friend helped calm me long enough to think straight. And honestly? Yeah, I’m angry at Ted. I have been told that I shouldn’t be… but I’m still furious about the whole situation. But still — he’s done good things in the Senate, and we shouldn’t talk about him this way. We need to be more respectful.

    Believe me, I know where you’re coming from on this, but I don’t think this is the best way to deal with it.

  7. I originally wasn’t going to rec this diary, not out of disrespect to Anna but because I disagree with both the premise and conclusions, as I stated above.  

    But I’m gonna rec it anyways for a good discussion and a reminder of why I dig the Moose: well-argued discussions in good faith, without trollery or ad hominems.  Civil argument: it is possible!  Hallelujah!

  8. rfahey22

    Maybe I’m naive not to read more into it, but my guess is that Kennedy may want to see this through as one of his final accomplishments and either doesn’t want to share the glory or perhaps thinks that there would be too many cooks in the kitchen if another subcommittee were formed (or maybe it would introduce more delay and he wouldn’t see it through?).  I don’t know, I’d like more information before opining.  It seems clear that he takes health care very personally – he was wheeled out of the hospital to break the Medicare filibuster a few months ago, after all.

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