"Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter." -Isaiah 5-20.
Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy died today at the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port, succumbing to brain cancer at the age of 77.
Whatever one might think about his politics, he deserves credit for one thing. He was in a position to live a life of ease and indolence and whether through family pressure or his own convictions, he chose instead to get involved in public service and make a difference as he saw it.
Normally, being a compassionate person I would simply extend my condolences to his loved ones and move on to other matters. But looking at the various adulatory recaps of Kennedy's career, I feel compelled to spell out exactly what those differences Kennedy made consisted of - just for the record. And just because one seldom sees even a semblance of real honesty in the dinosaur media nowadays.
I'll limit this examination to the Senator's impact as a legislator...no mention of any of personal scandals Kennedy was involved in, because that's between the Senator and his Maker at this point.
What is Kennedy's true legacy?
Senator Ted Kennedy could accurately be called the Godfather of our current immigration mess, starting with his role in creating and passing the Immigration Act of 1965, which radically changed the demographic face of America. It abolished the long standing quota system based on national origins that had regulated America's demographic composition based on the fair proportion of each group's existing presence in the US population. Instead, the 1965 bill was heavily weighted towards promoting immigration from the third world. It greatly eased immigration requirements for entry and extended those downgraded requirements to extended family members who faced no quota whatsoever, thus allowing 'chain migration'.
Speaking on the floor of the Senate in 1965, Senator Kennedy had this to say about the bill:
“Our cities will not be flooded with a million immigrants annually. Under the proposed bill, the present level of immigration remains substantially the same. Secondly, the ethnic mix of this country will not be upset. Contrary to the charges in some quarters, the bill will not inundate America with immigrants from any one country or area, or the most populated and deprived nations of Africa and Asia — and in the final analysis, the ethnic pattern of immigration under the proposed measure is not expected to change as sharply as the critics seem to think.
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..No immigrant visa will be issued to a person who is likely to become a public charge.”
Kennedy assured the American people that immigration would remain at around 300,000 per year, as it was in 1965. It almost doubled the year after the bill was passed and is now running at well over a million legal immigrants per year.
Needless to say, the Senator wasn't being exactly truthful here. But the numbers alone don't tell the story. While many of the immigrants became a productive and vital part of American society, Kennedy's bill allowed in a lot of immigrants in who would indeed become public charges, or work in government or at low paying blue collar jobs, or for the unions, thus insuring the political survival of the Democrats as they now exist. His party owes him a debt for that. The country as a whole, perhaps not so much.
Senator Kennedy was also behind the 1980 Refugee Act was designed to remove foreign-policy considerations from our immigrations laws. What it actually did was to create a massive bureaucracy that has sent phony asylum applications skyrocketing to over 120,000 a year. And it also allows immigration from a number of questionable countries in places like the Middle East with a record of exporting terrorism to these shores.
He was also a major mover and shaker behind the fraud-ridden 1986 immigration amnesty, one of Ronald Reagan's worst mistakes during his presidency. As you'll remember, Kennedy tried to repeat that last year with yet another amnesty bill. Since he obviously had the opportunity to see the results of his first one, one can't defend him by assuming he simply didn't know what he was doing.
Thanks to the amnesty bill and the other legislation Kennedy engineered, there are now over three million people on the visa waiting list, which stretches for years and years. Kennedy's legislation created the Byzantine, loophole ridden immigration laws we have today. There are huge backlogs, for one thing, to the point where the system for legal immigration is inundated and overwhelmed.Any American citizen who legally marries a foreign spouse and has attempted to get them into the US can tell you what a nightmare it is. The sheer volume of applications crushes an already dysfunctional system and allows very little oversight. It's also now difficult if not impossible to deal with visa fraud and detect people who overstay visas thanks to Kennedy's 'reforms'. And ICE still has no effective arrival/departure tracking system in a post-9/11 era. We have difficulty even finding and deporting illegal aliens and committers of Visa and Green Card fraud who've already been given court orders for deportation. As I write this, there are over 600,000 illegal aliens who already have court orders for deportation who ICE is simply unable to find.
And As chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration, Kennedy also did little or nothing to deal with curbing illegal immigration, and vigorously fought any legislation designed to improve the situation. All in all, it's quite a legacy.
But wait, there's more.
On the foreign policy front, Senator Kennedy could best be described as charitably on the wrong side of history.
He was a major supporter of the IRA, demanded that British troops leave Ulster, called for a united Ireland, and the ethnic cleansing of Ulster, and declared that Protestants who could not accept this "should be given a decent opportunity to go back to Britain."
He strongly opposed President Nixon's policies for ending the war in Vietnam while our troops were under fire, calling for an immediate pullout and thus being part of the movement in this country dedicated to what amounted to sabotaging a war effort . After Nixon successfully ended the war, Kennedy later was a leader of those congressmen who gleefully supported abrogating our signed treaties and breaking our pledged word to Vietnam and Cambodia as part of the Democrat majority that took office after Watergate.The cut off in military aid he and his fellow Democrats voted for doomed millions of Cambodians and Vietnamese to death,Communist slavery and for the lucky ones, exile.It ranks as one of the most despicable foreign policy decisions in American history.
He was also a major supporter of the Church Committee and it's legislation, which essentially eviscerated US intelligence during the Cold War with effects that continue to this day. Needless to say, he supported President Carter's policies on Iran that transformed an ally into a violent Islamist theocracy at war with America.
Throughout the Cold War, Kennedy was a major supporter of arms reductions, nuclear test bans and disarmament. He opposed all of President Reagan's strategies that eventually led to the dissolution of the Soviet Empire and the end of the Cold War, including U.S. aid to a friendly government in El Salvador, U.S. support for the Contras in Nicaragua, Reagan's defense buildup, the B-1 bomber, the MX missile, and the Strategic Defense Initiative as well as deployment of US missiles in Europe to defend our NATO allies. He was also the Senate's leading advocate of a nuclear freeze, even if it was unilateral.
In other foreign policy decisions, he voted against the First Gulf War,and voted against George W. Bush's bill authorizing use of military force against Iraq in 2002, for which I can't exactly fault him. But once the bill passed and the troops were committed, he repeated his Vietnam role and consistently did his best to legislatively impede funding men under fire, both in his votes and in committee shenanigans. He also consistently supported an immediate pullout.
As a matter of fact, virtually the only proactive US policy Senator Kennedy supported in all his years in the Senate was Clinton's intervention in Kossovo.
Kennedy was a leader among those who opposed Bush's surveillance plan and virtually any major efforts against Islamist terrorism. In September of 2007, he voted no on designating Iran's Revolutionary Guards as terrorists...even when they were involved in killing our warriors overseas.
When it comes to issues like Second Amendment rights, abortion, tax policy or other domestic policy, Senator Kennedy's votes can be imagined. Here are a few highlights:
Voted NO on criminal penalty for harming unborn fetus during other crime. (Mar 2004)
Voted NO on banning partial birth abortions. (Oct 1999, Mar 2003)
Voted NO on notifying parents of minors who get abortions. (Jul 2006)
Voted NO on banning human cloning. (Feb 1998)
Voted NO on paying down federal debt by rating programs' effectiveness. (Mar 2007)
Voted NO on Balanced-budget constitutional amendment. (Mar 1997)
Voted NO on recommending Constitutional ban on flag desecration.(Dec 1995, June 2006)
Voted NO on school vouchers (Sep 1997, January 2001)
Voted NO on requiring photo ID to vote in federal elections. (Sep 2005, Jul 2007)
Voted NO on require photo ID (not just signature) for voter registration. (Feb 2002)
Voted NO on allowing personal retirement accounts. (Apr 1998)
Aside from his immigration policies, Senator Kennedy's most lasting contribution to American life is the addition of a new word to the national vocabulary, 'borking'.
This refers to the Senator's actions when President Reagan nominated Judge Robert Bork to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1987, an eminently qualified jurist.He was widely expected to be easily confirmed.
Kennedy's response was to launch a totally false, vicious and even libelous attack on Judge Bork, calling him a racist, misogynist and fascist:
"Robert Bork's America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the Government, and the doors of the Federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens ..."
The Reagan Administration was ill-prepared for Kennedy's assault, which was unprecedented in modern times when it came to court or cabinet nominees. And when Judge Bork fell into the trap Kennedy set for him and became outraged at the attacks on his character, Kennedy was able to muster enough opposition to defeat Bork's nomination. This essentially changed the way Washington worked, making partisan attacks and all-out war waged against nominees standard operating procedure.
Kennedy's 'borking' had a major influence on poisoning bi-partisan cooperation in Congress and still has a huge effect being felt two decades later. Ironically, his apologists tout him as a model of bi-partisan cooperation!
Am I saying here that Ted Kennedy was an evil man? That's simply not for me to judge. He had his opinions and goals and pursued them with an admirable single mindedness. A few of them any right thinking person would agree with. But it's also true that the vast majority of the ideas and policies he embraced and helped create and implement hurt the country badly, dissipated its wealth, and poisoned the waters. He lived his entire public life as one of the curious breed of birds who foul their own nest, and reveled in it.
Since it's become obvious the media won't do it, I suppose it's left for me to put Senator Ted Kennedy's real legacy out into the ozone. for whatever that might be worth.
There's a ghoulish move among the Democrats to make political advantage out of Kennedy's death and rename the abortive ObamaCare bill after him, in tribute to his long standing support of government run health care.
In view of the policies Ted Kennedy advocated in the Senate during his time there and their poisonous effect on America, naming the ObamaCare bill after him is a sterling example of one cause Senator Kennedy supported that I definitely agree with - truth in labeling.