August 30, 2009

Did you watch the Teddy Kennedy funeral?

I happened to catch a few minutes of raw feed on C-SPAN showing Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver standing around in one of the lulls. But I find it hard to imagine many people watching this long, drawn-out event and think it was pretty weird that there was so much TV coverage. I'll stick to the written word.

Here's the AP:
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy was laid to rest alongside slain brothers John and Robert on hallowed ground at Arlington National Cemetery on Saturday evening, celebrated for "the dream he kept alive" across the decades since their deaths.
Did they fact check that the ground is holy? At least they put "the dream he kept alive" in quotes and don't assert that he kept a dream alive, whatever that means. (Cue the comments about how he didn't keep Mary Jo Kopechne alive.)
In life, the senator had visited the burial ground often to mourn his brothers, John and Robert, killed in their 40s, more than a generation ago, by assassins' bullets.

"He was given a gift of time that his brothers were not. And he used that time to touch as many lives and right as many wrongs as the years would allow," Obama said in a eulogy that also gently made mention of Kennedy's "personal failings and setbacks."

As a member of the Senate, Kennedy was a "veritable force of nature," the president said. But more than that, the "baby of the family who became its patriarch, the restless dreamer who became its rock."

Those left behind to mourn "grieve his passing with the memories he gave, the good he did, the dream he kept alive" Obama said inside the packed church.
It sounds like Obama gave a good speech. Must I read the whole text? I'm not going to watch the video. As I've said, I'm sticking to the written word on this one. The only thing that makes sense of all this attention to the old man's death is that it takes us back to the 2 assassinations, long ago, events that commanded long, drawn-out attention.


Jason (the commenter) said...

It sounds like Obama gave a good speech. Must I read the whole text? I'm not going to watch the video.

Isn't there a problem there? I mean, did Obama write the speech? If he didn't then by only reading bits of his speech your opinion of Obama may be warped; all we can tell about him is from his delivery and the fact that he picked the person to write the text, or the person who picked the person who picked the text.

rhhardin said...

Obama would be perfect in the role. He lies about everything.

rhhardin said...

Iowahawk was not resting.

via Tim Blair

Jason (the commenter) said...

Perhaps the fact that Obama was reported on favorably is all we need to know about his speech. Therefore there's no need to read or watch it.

save_the_rustbelt said...

At the end of the church service the camera rested on Maria Shriver standing in the aisle for a while.

My wife looks at her and says "wow, she is really angry about something."

She had a really ugly look, like she was unhappy she didn't get to speak or something. Hmmm.

On another note, I felt sorry for the honor guard at the grave site. The are holding the flag in front and them ready to fold it, and the Cardinal and whoever rambles on and on and on. That is not an easy posture to maintain, staying at attention and holding the flag taut.

NKVD said...

Just so long as the blimp of the senate is still dead, then I am good.

MadisonMan said...

I was cleaning the house, doing laundry, and buying shoes. So I missed it. The priest mentioned it in church today, however, and it sounded like EMK's son delivered a nice eulogy, from what my priest says.

Florida said...

I had this really itchy spot on my ass this morning, so ... you know ... I had better things to do than watch a fat drunk be planted to the accolades of his fellow scumbags in the "Senate."

g2loq said...

I will for ever
Where I was
And what I was was doing
When I heard
Of the demise of Teddy ...

TRO said...

Time to move on now and "not get distracted" as The Won says. Obamacare must be buried six feet under with Ted.

Was that too much? I can never tell.

Roger J. said...

I may have to rethink arlington as my burial site

Mary Martha said...

I watched the funeral Mass while I cleaned house Saturday morning. As a Catholic seeing the Mass on TV is always interesting and I have to admit I wanted to see what crazy things the Boston Archdiocese allowed for the rich and famous.

I cringed when the priest said he was in heaven (really? No time in purgatory?) and the intercessions by the kids making Ted's political statements into prayers was also cringe worthy.

The best take on the Mass I have seen was from a Canon lawyer on his blog

His final take was "It could have been worse"

elHombre said...

Unfortunately, it is becoming less and less important to listen to what the President says.

What he says about Ted Kennedy is even less important than most of what he says. Nearly everyone knows what Kennedy was -- and what he wasn't.

WV "intous" = Obamacare's destination. Bend over!

Flexo said...

Did they fact check that the ground is holy?

The ground is not made holy by the Kennedys. They cannot consecrate -- they cannot hallow -- that ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled in defense of our nation and are laid to rest there, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.

Flexo said...

I cringed when the priest said he was in heaven.

Presumption is one of the greatest and most frequent sins. This modern-day urge to canonize people immediately after death is a false charity and does no one any favors.

Teddy's already is heaven? No need to pray for him, then.

Sucks to be him though, if he actually is not in heaven and no one bothers to pray for him because they have been assured that he is already there.

michaele said...

I found it very distasteful that at least one (VERY YOUNG) grandchild was pimped out to make a pitch for universal health care in the guise of "honoring" his grandfather. It was pathetic to use a child that way.

sierra said...

My local pastor is annoyed that eulogies were incorporated into Eunice's funeral mass, which only goes double for Ted. Even in death, the ordinary rules do not apply to these people.

g2loq: I actually remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I heard Kennedy's 1987 floor speech denouncing Bork. It was that shocking. I considered myself a liberal at the time, but that helped propel me in the other direction.

DADvocate said...

Forgiveness is one of the greatest facets of Christian belief. Although, if I remember correctly, to be forgiven one must acknowledge one's sins and ask God for forgiveness.

I have no idea of Kennedy asked God to be forgiven or not and it's really none of my business. Witnessing the Michael Jackson and Teddy Kennedy deaths/mourning recently, Teddy was more deserving. At least the Kopechne incident was the result of an accident.

But, I can't help but believe that reactions to both show misplaced values in our society. I didn't know Teddy's heart but I certainly didn't admire him. He was born into privilege and lived a life of privilege.

Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, whether you like their politics or not, came up from the most humble beginnings and achieved greatly. Obama may be dangerous. I think he is. But, I can't help but like Bill at least a little.

AJ Lynch said...

No I did not watch the funeral and it was hard to find a station that was not carrying it.

You call the coverage 'weird' and I know you are trying to be non-negative. IMO, the coverage was way over the top for a sitting senator whose national approval rating [I am guessing] was no higher than 40%.

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

Never saw or heard a word of the Kennedy... Burial? did you say? Let’s hope they bury him deep. I have no idea why that buried that fat old manslaughtering philanderer in Arlington. John? Without doubt belongs there. Bobby, he also, I think, earned a place. Joe Jr.? Absolutely. Teddy? They should have buried his bloated corpse at a lonely crossroads. 90% of what is wrong with this country today can be laid on Teddy’s doorstep. He had money, and he used it to buy power.

I did a post on Teddy’s death, and one of the things I referenced there was a difference between the private Teddy and the public Teddy.

His family and friends have my sincerest sympathies on their loss. No matter what I think of the man he was loved by his family or should have been.

But for the death of the public Teddy; hallelujah!

WV- lored: where Teddy will be in 4 years- nothing but lored

Rockeye said...

Whatever else T. Kennedy did, he did carry on the Kennedy boy tradition of dying with something lodged in his brain.

AJ Lynch said...


Thanks for the link to Iowahawk. It's hilarious.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

I didn't watch anything, because I haven't had a television since 1967.

That said, I've been tremendously impressed -- not a compliment -- by the extent to which the oldline media remain entangled in the Kennedy mystique of their youth.

Obama is president today in large part because most in the oldline media remember a Senator who became President in their time of youth.

Senators have entirely the wrong skill set for the Presidency. Only three -- Harding, Kennedy, and Obama -- have moved directly from the Senate to the White House. None proved to be a good President.

Thirteen other Presidents also served in the Senate -- Monroe, JQ Adams, Jackson, Harrison, Tyler, Pierce, Buchanan, A Johnson, B Harrison, Harding, Truman, LBJ, and Nixon served in the Senate at some point before becoming President.

Truman had only a couple of months as Veep between Senate and President, and he was most certainly one of the near-greats, but he'd had a life apart from politics.

Pierce, Buchanan, and A Johnson were absolute disasters as President. Most of the others didn't really matter all that much, except for Jackson and B Harrison ... the most important President nobody remembers, with the exception of Polk, who was not a Senator.

Senators who haven't done anything else don't make for good Presidents. Teddy Kennedy would most decidedly [i]not[/i] have been an exception to that rule.

I do not miss him.

EDH said...

This should be John Kerry's moment of ascendancy as he moves into the role of senior senator.

From what I've seen, Team Kennedy has chosen not to pass that torch so overtly.

Perhaps they do not want to diminish their own influence over Ted's replacement by empowering someone of questionable loyalty and, ahem, valor?

Paul said...

"I was cleaning the house, doing laundry, and buying shoes."

Well for fucks sake change your moniker to Madison Vagina-Man an introduce some much needed honesty to your commentary.

save_the_rustbelt said...

I wouldn't watched much except global warming caused the weather to be 58 and rainy in Michigan in August, my wife was on call and I wasn't in the mood to clean the basement.

Once in a while I flipped to MSNBC to watch Chris Matthews slobber.

Matthews went on a long rant when Obama did not go to Arlington, it was weird.

Olbermann (big and dumb) finally chimed in that Obama did not want to draw attention to himself at burial. Matthews muttered and shut up.

It may well be the only intelligent thing Keith Olbermann ever said.

traditionalguy said...

Yes, the wife and I watched the whole 3 hours run on CNN without interruption or announcers play by play. (FOX ran it too, but kept a crawler of other news going along the bottom). It was extremely impressive and painted a portrait of the good Patriarch that Ted was to his own kids and also to Jack and Bobby's kids.Also the Senators Hatch and McCain along with Biden painted a picture of a fine man and hard working Senator. The highlights were the speeches by Ted's two sons which were emotionally powerful and showed a lot of true love for their Dad. I have mentioned already that the Obama speech, while great in written down words, was seriously a dud in the loving and forgiving atmosphere that had taken over the audience and prior speakers from the moving Eucharist Service. Barack's persona and voice and hard eyes joltingly clashed with that atmosphere. Barack seemed out of place because he seemed to be full of hatred towards the priviledged White Capitalists that filled the sanctuary, and he was totally unable to get into the spirit of forgiveness and love. I almost felt sorry for Obama for being so limited. Hillary seemed a little nervous and out of place, but surprisingly Bill Clinton was totally at ease and empathetic. Un-interupted and unedited TV is an astoundingly powerful tool for conveying truth...Not that I have been permitted to see much of it until yesterday.Thanks CNN.

former law student said...

I have no idea why that buried that fat old manslaughtering philanderer in Arlington.

Ted Kennedy was honorably discharged from the Army as a PFC.

Here's the applicable rule:

The persons specified below are eligible for ground burial in Arlington National Cemetery. The last period of active duty of former members of the Armed Forces must have ended honorably.

Any former member of the Armed Forces who served on active duty (other than for training) and who held any of the following positions:
An elective office of the U.S. Governm

My local pastor is annoyed that eulogies were incorporated into Eunice's funeral mass,ent

I am appalled when parish priests' homilies make it clear they don't know who the hell the deceased is, even if they have been weekly communicants for decades.

Jesus is not going to flip out if people say a few words after the official Mass is over -- that's just more control freakism by the hierarchy. The church serves the laity, not the other way around. A hierarchy that shipped child molesters out to parishes for years needs the laity to serve as a check and balance.

former law student said...

Well for fucks sake change your moniker to Madison Vagina-Man

Not everyone has a mom to provide clean clothes and to pick up after them.

Maguro said...

Vagina-Man sounds like kind of an awesome superhero. I imagine there would be some kind of transformation involved...doesn't seem like the kind of outfit you could change into in a phone booth.

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

FLS, i didn't say he wasn't (barely) qualified- although I doubt there are many non-combat death, 60 years out of service, PFCs buried in Arlington.

Much less in a prime spot with feet of Arlington House. Meanwhile, some deserving veterans are being sent elsewhere, because Teddy is taking 4 or 5 slots.

WV lieryto: an attitude toward democrat's policies, as in "anything Obama does I am lieryto

former law student said...

Meanwhile, some deserving veterans are being sent elsewhere, because Teddy is taking 4 or 5 slots.

Will you feel the same way if G.W. Bush is buried at Arlington, on the strength of his ANG service?

But I don't understand how Ted can take up any extra space. Is there not a little Kennedy compound there already?

Mom of two said...

The best thing I saw was Caroline's eulogy at the JFK Library. Video is on CNN. It was funny, and not overly fawning. She made fun of Ted, and told a great story about him. I got the sense that she would actually miss him, as a niece would miss an uncle, and I felt her loss.

Beau said...

Did they fact check that the ground is holy?

Hallowed doesn't necessarily mean consecrated. In this context the writer likely meant revered which is correct usage.

Tom Degan's Daily Rant said...

Watching George W. Bush at the funeral of Teddy Kennedy yesterday was, to say the very least, amusing. It's always great fun to witness the members of the vast right wing conspiracy confronted head-on with the theological flaws that are inherent in their philosophy. Watching that event with my pal, Kevin Swanwick, we both were mesmerized and just slightly overjoyed to be reminded yet again that the basic tenets of Liberalism are in perfect harmony with our Christianity - our Catholicism: feed the hungry, shelter the poor and clothe the naked. Oh, how I wish the camera would have cut to Bush's face the moment he was confronted with the most famous line (and justly so) from the Gospel according to Matthew:

"I tell you this: whatever you did to the least of these brothers of mine, you did to me."

Jesus of Nazareth

One can only imagine how uncomfortable that passage from the scriptures must have made him feel. Or how about the Sermon on the Mount?

"Blessed are the peace makers
For they shall be called Sons of God."

I imagine being confronted with the words of Jesus Christ might make old George just a tad uneasy. The prayers that were offered up by the youngest members of the Kennedy clan, in Teddy's own words, were the most touching part of the entire day:

"That human beings be measured not by what they cannot do. That quality health care becomes a fundamental right and not a privilege. That old policies of race and gender die away. That newcomers be accepted, no matter their color or place of birth. That the nation stand united against violence, hate and war. That the work begins anew, and the dream lives on. We pray to the Lord."

Lord hear our prayer.

After the mass had ended, and Kevin and I headed into town to get a cup of coffee, I was almost stunned by the good cheer I felt. Ted Kennedy's funeral was truly a joyous event. Truth be told, it was damned-near therapeutic! The politics of joy as opposed to the politics of fear. There ain't nothin' like it in the world, Baby!

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

Father Martin Fox said...

Tom Degan:

Too bad about the unborn.