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 supporting 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.