I'm sure this comes at an unwelcome time when even conservative bloggers are doing their best to make their expressions of sympathy for Ted Kennedy. As gauche as it might be I'm afraid that I have no such expressions of sympathy for offer.
I don't wish him ill, but neither am I going to shed any tears for a man guilty of at least one murder and who freely offered his services to the KGB for own political interests. There are bad men in the Senate and then there are very bad men and Ted Kennedy easily slides into the latter category. That after a lifetime of morbid alcoholism he developed a brain tumor at the age of 76 is not something that should be a cause for mourning. He lived a long full and well off life and he isn't dead yet. Instead he will have access to the best in medical treatments that a politically connected millionaire can afford. And even if he dies he will have lived more than twice as long as Mary Jo Kopechne who died at the age of 29.
It's a safe bet that Ted Kennedy's illness will be a prominent draw on the Obama campaign trail as the dying statesman and Conservatives are playing into his hands by pretending that he is some sort of statesman instead of a morally bankrupt criminal and traitor who is a statesman only by virtue of the fact that none of his crimes, malfeasances or displays of public drunkenness bordering on the downright criminal were sufficient to convince Massachusetts voters to remove him from the Senate.
Democrats may be determined to have Ted Kennedy play the king who dies for his people, one last tragic Kennedy perishing at the ripe young age of nearly 80 before passing on the torch to Barack Obama, the newest honorary Kennedy, but there is no remote reason to go along with it.
Conservatives should not caper around at the news of Kennedy's illness, the way that Democrats do when Cheney is taken to the hospital, but neither should they give inappropriate solemnity or respect to a man who deserves none.
Ted Kennedy's time in office merits no respect. A fatal condition in anyone is sad but there is no particularly obligation on us to feel sad for a man who had a hand in destroying so many lives. If Ted Kennedy wishes to retire from political life, both from public office and political appearances, that would be a dignified closing act, but I expect we won't face that possibility. What we will face is emotional manipulation and exploitation.
I won't shed any tears for Ted. He betrayed his own country and destroyed and even took the lives of those who trusted him. His closing act will likely be one final betrayal as he promotes the rise to power of the most dangerous and destructive candidate for the Presidency in nearly two centuries.