Ted Kennedy is going to die. Before that happens, the Senate would like to pass a health care reform bill, because that is what Kennedy would like his legacy to be. But the process is difficult without him.
Because after fucking around and generally being the dumbest Kennedy for a couple decades, Ted buckled down and became a master legislator after he gave up on the presidency. And his signature issue, for years, has been health care. But now, Ted is staying home on Cape Cod while the Senate tries, desperately, to make a bill become a law, something they have not been very good at for some time.
And Ted Kennedy's decline has provided a very handy talking point for Republicans opposed to any piece of legislation actually authored and supported by the Democrats who are in charge of the Senate:
Mr. Harkin's Republican counterparts similarly invoked Mr. Kennedy in criticizing a health care measure the committee approved Wednesday with only Democratic support. "It is a very one-sided, very liberal bill," said Senator Orrin G. Hatch of Utah. "I know that Ted would not have done that had he been able to be here."
Oh, come on. Fuck you, Orrin Hatch, for using the convenient excuse of the impending death of your friend and colleague to excuse your opposition to a piece of legislation you never would've supported. Ted Kennedy is called "the liberal lion." He is an actual, old-school, 1960's Great Society Liberal. He is, in fact, the last one of those left in the Senate. Had he, with his faculties intact, been in charge of negotiating the Senate bill instead of Chris Dodd, we are pretty sure you still would've opposed it, Orrin, you useless old paid tool of the pharmaceutical industry and would-be bigamist.
(Meanwhile, fellow Democratic Senator Robert Byrd is dying as well, with much less attention. It is nice that everyone is letting these gentleman continue being Senators despite their incapacitation, but it would maybe be more helpful if all of our Democratic Senators could actually cast votes.)