Honoring Kennedy?

Honoring Kennedy?

Facebook
Twitter
Email
Flipboard
Pocket

"In his honor and as a tribute to his commitment to his ideals, let us stop the shouting and name calling and have a civilized debate on healthcare reform which I hope, when legislation has been signed into law, will bear his name for his commitment to insuring the health of every American." So said Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia this morning in a tribute to his departed colleague, Senator Edward M. Kennedy.

As we all know, the shouting and name calling will not stop. Come September, if not sooner, Republicans will go right back to spreading fear and misinformation about any proposed healthcare bill (while at the same time complaining that Democrats are not "reaching across the aisle" to forge a bipartisan approach, as though this is possible with a party that wishes to sabotage any meaningful effort to reform the system).

But the question of whether Kennedy’s legacy will be honored is not up to Republicans. It’s up to Democrats. They control Congress. They control the White House. They have seen the polls showing that the public overwhelmingly supports giving people a choice by including a public option in any healthcare overhaul. Unfortunately, some of them have also been taking their advice from people like former Kennedy colleague Tom Daschle, the one-time South Dakota Senator turned disgraceful shill for the healthcare industry. As David Kirkpatrick of The Times reported earlier this week, Daschle has spent the past few months peddling the idea of nonprofit insurance co-ops as an alternative to the public option. He also happens to be a high-paid adviser to the clients of Alston & Bird, among which are various insurance, drug and hospital companies.

"The president greatly appreciates that advice and Tom’s friendship," White House spokesman Dan Pfeiffer told The Times, begging the question of whether Obama has any more will and desire to take on the healthcare industry than Daschle does. Meaningful healthcare reform with a real government option should indeed bear the name of Senator Kennedy, who spent forty years fighting honorably for what he called "the cause of my life." A sham bill tailored to the interests of Alston & Bird’s clients should not.

Thank you for reading The Nation!

We hope you enjoyed the story you just read. It takes a dedicated team to publish timely, deeply researched pieces like this one. For over 150 years, The Nation has stood for truth, justice, and democracy. Today, in a time of media austerity, articles like the one you just read are vital ways to speak truth to power and cover issues that are often overlooked by the mainstream media.

This month, we are calling on those who value us to support our Spring Fundraising Campaign and make the work we do possible. The Nation is not beholden to advertisers or corporate owners—we answer only to you, our readers.

Can you help us reach our $20,000 goal this month? Donate today to ensure we can continue to publish journalism on the most important issues of the day, from climate change and abortion access to the Supreme Court and the peace movement. The Nation can help you make sense of this moment, and much more.

Thank you for being a supporter of independent journalism.

Ad Policy
x