They didn't waste any time in hatin' on Ted Kennedy. I'm not talking about Rush Limbaugh and his widely self-promoted gloat that he predicted that President Obama, liberal Democrats, and the alleged liberal controlled media would deify Kennedy on his death to shame the Senate into backing Obama's health care reform package. The "they" are the packs of web sites, bloggers, and talk jocks who have turned Kennedy into their anti-deity to lambaste Obama and the Democrats. There were more than 2 million references on Google to conservative criticisms of Kennedy after his death.
A viral email that this writer got from hard-line right wing fundamentalist Southern California preacher Wiley Drake was titled "The Real Ted Kennedy." This is the same preacher who got some ink and radio gab time a few months back with his imprecatory prayer for Obama's assassination. The email recited the standard litany of slurs and slanders against Kennedy -- a murderer (Chappaquiddick of course), a marriage defiler (support of same sex marriage), a race baiter (support of affirmative action), illegal alien defender (support of immigration reform), flag burning desecration (staunch support of first amendment protections), Constitution usurper (support of expanded hate crimes laws), and a baby killer (staunch pro choice support).
Even the Vatican got in on this one. Its official newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, lambasted him for abortion support. Another viral email sped around touting talk jock Looney Michael Savage for "daring" to tell the truth about Kennedy. The truth, of course, is the formula lies and distortions about Kennedy.
It's always tempting to quickly dump this stuff into the crackpot fringe binge, except for one thing. Thousands feast on listening and reading Savage and Drake (he has a popular web radio show). The comments from their listeners and on their websites about Kennedy are just as ignorant, hateful and vicious as that of their ringmasters. Their verbal diarrhea is not a cheap effort to snatch attention, ratings and stir controversy. Though they always take great delight in that. The Kennedy counter assault comes against the backdrop of a well-defined, well-heeled, and well orchestrated right counterinsurgency against health care reform, any other proposal from Obama and Congressional Democrats on the economy, immigration, expanded civil liberties and civil rights protections. This is more than an insurgency with the GOP's hidden hand behind the curtain pulling the strings. The hate crowd actually believes what they say about Obama and Kennedy, and couldn't care less how many times or how many people scream crack pot and lunatic at them.
If anything, the more brickbats thrown at them only confirms in their skewed minds that they're on the right track in their avowed and unabashed stated aim to take the country back. Polite conservatives and GOP senators who worked with and respected Kennedy, distance themselves from the hate attacks. But they also watch TV, listen to talk radio, and read the papers. They well know that the right side bloggers and the packs of shout down red faced protesters at the health care town halls have the ear of countless numbers.
Polls show that millions of Americans are worried, confused and ticked off over health care reform and illegal immigration reform. The target of their worry, confusion and anger is increasingly Obama and the Democrats. The Drakes maybe be woozy with delusion, craze, and hate, but they are the front line troops in the ferocious battle to subvert and discredit Obama and the Democrats. Right now no one serves their purpose better than Ted Kennedy, the Lion of American liberalism.
Kennedy is justly hailed and honored for the towering role he played for nearly five decades in championing the best of American liberalism and his unwavering backing of civil rights, civil liberties, economic justice, and health care for all. And that makes him the perfect foil to further whip up a big and seemingly growing chunk of Americans against those Kennedy ideals.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. His weekly radio show, "The Hutchinson Report" can be heard on weekly in Los Angeles at 9:30 AM Fridays on KTYM Radio 1460 AM and live streamed nationally on ktym.com