If You Can't Say Anything Nice

How are conservatives handling Kennedy's death? In some cases, they're not

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Ted Kennedy was no hero to the right. His greater and lesser achievements were in support of liberal causes, his legacy is being used to push health care reform, and, worst of all, he helped out John Kerry. So how are conservative pundits reacting to Kennedy's passing and non-stop media eulogizing? Blogs and publications show their true colors.

  • Putting Aside Politics  Some of Kennedy's sharpest critics in life are, in death, pausing to show respect for the Senator's life and work. Michelle Malkin, quoting a psalm, wrote, "There is a time and place for political analysis and criticism. Not now." Ed Morrissey concurred. The Wall Street Journal's John Fund praised Kennedy for helping Robert Novak during Novak's final months. National Review's Jonah Goldberg, noting Kennedy's "good side," wrote, "I'm staying mostly silent about Ted Kennedy for reasons that should be obvious." Other fond National Review remembrances come from Victor Davis Hanson, John J. Pitney, Bill Bennett, and John J. Miller. Finding small ways to praise Kennedy, as these conservatives have done, seems an admirably adult and nonpartisan move for a political blogosphere that is often anything but adult or nonpartisan.
  • Deeply Offensive  National Review's Kathryn Jean Lopez was not as charitable as her colleagues. "He’s responsible for things that are deeply offensive to my conscience and diametrically opposed to the teachings of the Catholic faith, and he probably led some people astray by his example," she wrote. "But our faith also teaches that we are all sinners and that there is redemption." She later followed up, responding to criticism. "We can't forget Mary Jo Kopechne. We can't neglect his treatment of Bob Bork," she wrote. "We can't pretend that it's okay to call yourself Catholic (or an "ardent, practicing one") and be a proponent of legal abortion, for one thing."
  • Little of Both  Redstate's Erick Erickson split the difference, criticizing Kennedy as well as praising him an encounter when Erickson, in law school, sought him out for a research paper. "He was very nice, generous with his time, and disagreed with me on everything," Erickson wrote. "We completely and totally disagreed. He got a laugh out of it, as did I." But Erickson had criticism, too. "He, to me, represented all that is wrong with Washington — a kingdom of nepotism and worship at the alter of failed liberal policies that get repeated ad infinitum," he wrote. But before you give Erickson too much credit for civility, note his somewhat freer language on his Twitter account: "Were Ted Kennedy on the gov't healthcare plan he advocated, he probably would have been cost/benefited out to the pasture a long time ago" and "Let's also remember Ted Kennedy collaborated with the KGB to undermine Ronald Reagan: Link"
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