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Ted Kennedy
Ted Kennedy (Official portrait)

Sen. Scott Brown is continuing to claim that his predecessor, the late Ted Kennedy, would have agreed with his backing of fellow Republican Sen. Roy Blunt's amendment exempting any employer from providing insurance coverage for any service they say violates their religious beliefs or moral convictions. In addition to having made the claim in a Boston Globe op-ed, the Massachusetts Republican has been running a radio ad saying that "Like Ted Kennedy before me, I support a conscience exemption in health care for Catholics and other people of faith." Now, Ted Kennedy's son, former Rep. Patrick Kennedy, is telling Brown to knock it off:

“You are entitled to your own opinions, of course, but I ask that, moving forward, you do not confuse my father’s positions with your own. I appreciate the past respect you have expressed for his legacy, but misstating his positions is no way to honor his life’s work,” Kennedy said in a letter to Brown on Sunday published online. “I respectfully request that you immediately stop broadcast of this radio ad and from citing my father any further.”
As Patrick Kennedy's letter also noted, the Blunt amendment is an "extreme proposal" which is counter to Ted Kennedy's life's work of getting health care for every American. He supported a conscience exemption for medical providers, not one for every employer in the country as Brown and his fellow Republicans are trying to pass.

Not content with completely misrepresenting Ted Kennedy's positions, Brown responded by misrepresenting his own:

“I’d like to think your dad would have been working with me to find an accommodation that all sides found satisfactory,” Brown said. “One thing I know he would not do is demagogue the issue, or inflame passions against the church, as Elizabeth Warren has done. It is simply wrong to set one group of Americans against another over religion.”
Working with Scott Brown to find an accommodation all sides found satisfactory? That would require Scott Brown working to find such an accommodation to begin with. But Brown isn't trying to find an accommodation—nor is one necessary to find, since Obama's policy already incorporates a compromise that has fully satisfied the concerns of the Catholic Health Association. What Scott Brown is doing is flatly Goal Thermometersupporting a bill that would eviscerate employer-provided health care in this country, just as he campaigned as the "41st vote against health care reform," a bill Ted Kennedy had championed. Claiming Kennedy's mantle on this issue has to be one of the most cynical stances Brown could possibly take.

Elizabeth Warren's supposed demagoguery and inflaming passions against the church, meanwhile, consists of simply pointing out what the Brown-supported Blunt amendment would actually do. She's not even talking about the church. She's talking about Republicans, and she's got them dead to rights—which is probably why Brown only wants to talk about Ted Kennedy and the Catholic church.

Please, contribute $6 to Elizabeth Warren on Orange to Blue.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Mon Feb 27, 2012 at 07:39 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos and Massachusetts Kosmopolitans.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I have to ask, who is Brown pandering (13+ / 0-)

    to with this point?

    Massachusetts Dems would not vote for this hack, Independents would wonder why he was comparing his position to Kennedy's and GOPers would not expect Brown to do anything similar to Kennedy's.

    When someone is impatient and says, "I haven't got all day," I always wonder, How can that be? How can you not have all day? George Carlin

    by msmacgyver on Mon Feb 27, 2012 at 07:55:05 AM PST

    •  Indies mostly... (6+ / 0-)

      He knows he'll get the Republican vote, but needs to appear moderate/independent himself in order to win the voters in the middle so comparing himself to Kennedy would do that.  

      Brown crowed about being the 60th vote, and thus will block "Obamacare" - access to contraception for all was a big piece of the ACA, which Teddy championed.  

      And let's not forget this placard from the 9/12 rallies -
      http://tommychristopher.wordpress.com/...

      •  Full text of Patrick Kennedy's letter, & Brown's (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        msmacgyver, truth2008

        reply, are a bit hard to find online, but they were published by the Red Mass Group:

        Dear Senator Brown,

        In your current radio ad and in many news reports, I hear you claim my father would have joined you in supporting an extreme proposal now before the U.S. Senate that threatens health care coverage for women and everyone.

        Your claims are misleading and untrue.

        Providing health care to every American was the work of my father's life. The Blunt Amendment you are supporting is an attack on that cause.

        My father believed that health care providers should be allowed a conscience exemption from performing any service that conflicted with their faith.

        That's what was in his 1995 law and what he referenced to the Pope. That is completely different than the broad language of the Blunt Amendment that will allow any employer, or even an insurance company, to use vague moral objections as an excuse to refuse to provide health care coverage. My father never would have supported this extreme legislation.

        You are entitled to your own opinions, of course, but I ask that, moving forward, you do not confuse my father's positions with your own. I appreciate the past respect you have expressed for his legacy, but misstating his positions is no way to honor his life's work.

        I respectfully request that you immediately stop broadcast of this radio ad and from citing my father any further.

        Sincerely,

        Patrick J. Kennedy

        Brown's reply:
        Dear Patrick,

        Thank you for your letter. I have a great deal of respect for your father, the late Senator Ted Kennedy. While we didn't agree on every issue, one area where we found common ground was around the importance of protecting the right of people to practice their religion without government interference.

        When your father told the Pope in his 2009 letter that he supported a conscience exemption for Catholics in health care, he did not mean to put himself on the opposite side of the church or to suggest that he would force them to accept a situation with which they could not abide. And yet, that is exactly the situation we are faced with today -- despite a failed attempt at compromise, the church remains opposed to the federal government's intrusion into the affairs of private conscience. I'd like to think your dad would have been working with me to find an accommodation that all sides found satisfactory. One thing I know he would not do is demagogue the issue, or inflame passions against the church, as Elizabeth Warren has done. It is simply wrong to set one group of Americans against another over religion.

        I hope you share my belief the 2012 election is going to come down to jobs and getting this economy moving again. That has been my driving focus for the past two years, and I have been promoting an ambitious jobs agenda that will put people back to work in Massachusetts and all around this country.

        Job creation will remain my number one priority in the days and months ahead, despite Professor Warren's attempts to change the subject.

        Sincerely,

        Scott Brown

        P.S. The 1995 legislation that your father sponsored protected health care providers and facilities from performing a service that conflicted with "a religious belief or a moral conviction." It is this commonly-accepted language that I and my fellow senators seek to restore to the law as it existed prior to the passage of Obamacare.

        "But there is so much more to do." - Barack Obama, Nov. 4, 2008

        by flitedocnm on Mon Feb 27, 2012 at 10:51:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thank you - Kennedy was very clear (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          klamothe, flitedocnm

          and Brown appears to not understand the distinction between employers/insurance companies and health care providers/facilities.

          Kennedy: That's what was in his 1995 law and what he referenced to the Pope. That is completely different than the broad language of the Blunt Amendment that will allow any employer, or even an insurance company, to use vague moral objections as an excuse to refuse to provide health care coverage. My father never would have supported this extreme legislation.
          Brown: P.S. The 1995 legislation that your father sponsored protected health care providers and facilities from performing a service that conflicted with "a religious belief or a moral conviction." It is this commonly-accepted language that I and my fellow senators seek to restore to the law as it existed prior to the passage of Obamacare.

          When someone is impatient and says, "I haven't got all day," I always wonder, How can that be? How can you not have all day? George Carlin

          by msmacgyver on Mon Feb 27, 2012 at 11:41:16 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  probably the catholic vote (8+ / 0-)

      Ma. has a lot of Catholics in the state. i think Brown is miscalculating their position on this. The moderate Brown will disappear if he get re-elected but I expect Warren to win.

  •  This is getting the wrong spin (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greengemini, mrblifil, pademocrat, LSophia

    Guys.  This isn't about "forcing" anyone of ANY religious belief to use contraceptives.  This is all being spun incorrectly.

    This is about giving every woman...regardless of their religious or any other belief the CHOICE to use birth control.  

    I hate it that just so many in my own party are falling for this skewed presentation on this.  This is NOT about making anyone use birth control or condoms.  This is about making sure that if someone wants to use those, they have that option.

    N O T H I N G more.

    Sheeeeeeesh.

    - If you don't like gay marriage, blame straight people. They're the ones who keep having gay babies.

    by r2did2 on Mon Feb 27, 2012 at 08:35:11 AM PST

  •  i'm not defending brown, (5+ / 0-)

    but i think framing like "eviscerating employer-provided health care" puts the focus on the wrong place.

    the sooner health care/insurance is decoupled from employment, the better.

    so, imho, we should avoid framing that paints "employer-provided health care" as something to be protected.

    My goal is to make the world safe for anarchy. - 4Freedom

    by Cedwyn on Mon Feb 27, 2012 at 08:39:20 AM PST

  •  WtF? (9+ / 0-)
    “One thing I know he would not do is demagogue the issue, or inflame passions against the church, as Elizabeth Warren has done. It is simply wrong to set one group of Americans against another over religion.”
    This is rich.  It's the Catholics bishops who are putting their bloody dogma between women and healthcare ... and these religionists have the gall to point the fingers at others?  
  •  What a dick move by Brown n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    msmacgyver, Matt Z

    "If the machine of government is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law."-Thoreau

    by mishal817 on Mon Feb 27, 2012 at 08:48:22 AM PST

  •  That is in todays paper - the local paper that (5+ / 0-)

    Bumper sticker seen on I-95; "Stop Socialism" my response: "Don't like socialism? GET OFF the Interstate highway!"

    by Clytemnestra on Mon Feb 27, 2012 at 08:48:32 AM PST

  •  So... (9+ / 0-)

    having successfully gained the Senate seat by not having to run against Ted Kennedy, Brown is now going to...attack the Kennedy's about who's most entitled to invoke Ted's legacy? How fucking stupid do you have to be to think that's some sort of winning campaign strategy in the state of Massachusetts?

  •  Someone needs to remind Brown that he (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wishingwell, mungley, kitebro, Matt Z, matmak

    is running for senator, not bishop.

    Ceterum censeo Factionem Republicanam esse delendam.

    by journeyman on Mon Feb 27, 2012 at 08:53:06 AM PST

  •  Citizen Bain (0+ / 0-)

    A campaign   video that the democrats have  from the Kennedy-Romney 1994 Senate campaign will   destroy  Republican  chance in the 2012  Presidential race ,it is a Top Secret video that could be release if Romney is the nominee http://politi.co/...

  •  Dear Scott Brown you Fucking PUNK, (6+ / 0-)

    please stop defiling the name of the man you remain most unfit to have succeeded. YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE.

    Let's go back to E Pluribus Unum

    by hazzcon on Mon Feb 27, 2012 at 09:01:27 AM PST

  •  You've already proven you're an idiot, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ca union goon, Matt Z, matmak

    Scott:  no need to continue proving it again.

  •  Republican 'compromise' means: Do it my way (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    doraphasia, Matt Z, matmak

    and we'll all be happy.
    Otherwise I"ll grind you into the ground to the best of my ability.

    Go, Elizabeth Warren!

    Please Vote for the Democratic nominee for President in 2012.

    by mungley on Mon Feb 27, 2012 at 09:12:47 AM PST

  •  What Republicans are doing, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tb mare, pademocrat, doraphasia

    all over, including Scott Brown, is so disturbing. I can't really afford it but here goes another $6.

    Reaganomics: The belief that: 1) Unregulated capitalism can produce unlimited goods for unlimited people on a planet with finite resources; 2) We can increase revenue by decreasing revenue.

    by FrY10cK on Mon Feb 27, 2012 at 10:02:20 AM PST

  •  Gonna be fun to crush that bug, n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    matmak
  •  Brown Wins Biggest Balls Contest (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    doraphasia

    For lecturing Patrick Kennedy on what his own father believed and supported, even after being slapped down.

    I mean, seriously, what low level of pandering is it to try to steal Catholic voters by trying to coattail a deceased Senator whom, when alive, you constantly criticized, by claiming his son is now engaging in trying to divide voters?

    However, if Brown's balls are indeed this gigantic, I suspect they are neuticles.

    Some people are intolerant, and I CAN'T STAND people like that. -- Tom Lehrer

    by TheCrank on Mon Feb 27, 2012 at 10:31:06 AM PST

  •  a pygmy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    matmak

    next to Ted Kennedy...just a midget

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