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Speaking of goats with a buzz . . . . May 23, 2008

Posted by skinbad in News, Politics.

I certainly don’t wish any personal problems on Ted Kennedy, but this “Lion of the Senate” business is nails on the chalkboard for me. The “Last lion of liberalism” and “The last lion of Camelot” are variations. I tried to find out where it started. I’ve heard of the Winston Churchill biography: The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, which was first published in 1983. So I first thought the Brits were to blame for this abominable appellation. There’s The Lion in Winter and Richard Lionheart. I’m guessing the 1995 Jean-Claude Van Damme “Lionheart” wasn’t too much of an inspiration. Can’t blame the Brits for him.

I found an October 1991 article on the Clarence Thomas hearings saying Robert Byrd was “affectionately called ‘the wise old lion of the senate.” The Toronto Star, October 16, 1991

But I’m guessing columnist Mary McGrory, described as a friend of the Kennedys, saw that phrase and liked it. The next day:

He [Kennedy] sat silent. Sunday, finally answering Hill’s tormentors, he thundered a demand for an end to talk of perjury. It was a flash of the old Kennedy.

The battered interest groups, the women and civil rights lobbyists, speculated about what might have been if the liberal lion had been at the top of his form during the Thomas uproar.–The Washington Post October 17, 1991, Thursday, Final Edition BYLINE: MARY McGRORY

Kind of comical that she lamented how much more useful he could have been to the interests of women if he hadn’t taken his son and nephew on a bar-hopping tour a few months earlier that concluded with him passed out with his pants down and his nephew on trial for rape. Like Bill Clinton, he has had quite the reputation for being interested in “women’s issues.” I imagine he was quite capable of signing legislation strengthening women’s rights with one hand while feeling up his cocktail waitress with the other.

The day after the McGrory story, the Boston Globe ran a headline on Kennedy as a “wounded liberal lion.”

In ’94, Clinton called Kennedy a “lion” for his role in pressing for health care as a right for all. An article on Kennedy’s 25 years in the Senate said this:

Kennedy the liberal lion and Hatch the conservative have played out  their roles so often that they’re caricatures of themselves. St. Petersburg Times (Florida) May 22, 1994

That’s referring to his buddy Orrin Hatch (sort of R), Utah. I guess the lesson from that line is a long-serving liberal senator is a “lion” and a long-serving conservative is a “conservative.” Which, I guess isn’t so bad. Hatch could have easily been a “partisan.” The Boston Globe was at it again during the senate race between Kennedy and Mitt Romney:

The Old Lion was a little short in the Raw Meat Department. The Boston Globe June 8, 1994

If he was an old lion in 1994, what does that make him now?

Assuming that the stout Republican burghers of Massachusetts seize upon Mitt Romney as their champion in the effort to finally bag the last lion of liberalism. The Boston Globe
September 21, 1994

Hell, this doesn’t need to be a thesis. Use news.google.com and search liberal lion and you’ll see plenty if you care to. I respect Krauthammer’s take on most things and even he applies the honorific, so maybe I’m the one who’s out of touch:

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: He wasn’t just the lion of the Senate, he was the lion of American liberalism. He really was the liberal Ronald Reagan.

HUME: And is.

KRAUTHAMMER: His political career and his legacy, yes.

I’m sorry, but his diagnosis is so negative and unfortunate and difficult — I’m sure that the family has already heard how difficult a glioma is, that all of us are tending to speak of him in the past. I’m sure he will be back in the Senate. He seems rather healthy now, and this is a question of when and how it will affect him in the future. We will probably see a lot of him in the Senate.

However, we are looking at a legacy of a man who has been in the Senate longer than anyone except Robert Byrd. He is a man who shaped America through legislation. Reagan affected America by changes the ethos and making it an essentially conservative country, and explaining ideas and propagating them and having to accepted.

Interesting. I wondered who Kennedy’s conservative equivalent might be and hadn’t thought of Reagan.  I remember well the press referring to Reagan as “The White Knight of Conservatism.” Or was it “The Teflon President?” I’m kind of fuzzy on that.*

*Yea, I know. “The Great Communicator” was in there too. Not bad, but not exactly “lionesque” either.


1. lauraw - May 23, 2008

I don’t think of Reagan as a lion. ‘The Great Communicator’ fits best, IMAO.

2. Dave in Texas - May 23, 2008

Ted Kennedy is lyin in winter.

3. geoff - May 23, 2008

Ted Kennedy has been an enormous embarrassment to American politics since before his election. When he first entered the political arena, he was looked upon, quite accurately, as the lame little brother of the family’s two shining political stars: John and Robert. Every speech he’s given and every piece of legislation he’s touched have been based in partisan politics and dripping with Bacchanalian ineptitude.

How appropriate that he should be lionized by the libs and their media.

4. geoff - May 23, 2008

Great Moments in Ted Kennedy’s career, “The Surge” edition:

Sen. Edward Kennedy launched a pre-emptive strike Tuesday against President Bush’s anticipated plans to send more troops to Iraq.

Kennedy, a leading opponent of the war and senior member of the Armed Services Committee, said any troop increase would be “an immense new mistake.”

5. geoff - May 23, 2008

Great Moments in Ted Kennedy’s career, Immigration edition:

Ted Kennedy was a strong supporter of the 1965 Hart-Celler Act — signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson — which dramatically changed US immigration policy.[21] “The bill will not flood our cities with immigrants. It will not upset the ethnic mix of our society. It will not relax the standards of admission. It will not cause American workers to lose their jobs.

6. composmentis - May 23, 2008

Ted Kennedy is lower than a snake’s ass in a wagon rut. What a scumbag. I can get past all of his asinine, flatulated political idiocy. What I cannot get past is his saving his own sorry, besotted ass after driving off a bridge, leaving that girl to drown, trying to cover it up, and getting away with it. Irresponsible, lying prick.

7. geoff - May 23, 2008

Great Moments in Ted Kennedy’s career, Patriotism edition:

For today, we have a President who believes that torture can be an acceptable practice, despite laws and treaties that explicitly prohibit it. We have a President who claims the power to arrest American citizens on American soil and jail them for years, without the benefit of counsel or access to the courts. We have a President who claims he has the authority to spy on American citizens on American soil without a court order.

8. skinbad - May 23, 2008

I also think most of the current nastiness associated with Supreme Court nominations can be “credited” to his “Robert Bork’s America” speech.

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