Editorial: Senators, You’re No Ted Kennedy

When Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid appointed John Kerry to the so-called “super committee” charged with cutting more than $1 trillion from the federal deficit over 10 years, we couldn’t help but wonder if the Bay State’s senior senator is in for more swift-boating.

Kerry and the two other Democratic senators appointed to the committee released a joint statement admitting “there is peril in serving on this committee’’ … but added that the nation wanted the committee to work “without the red-hot partisanship and brinksmanship of the last months,’’ and they pledged to approach the collaborative task in a bipartisan spirit with Republicans on the panel.

Without the partisanship and brinkmanship? Taking a page from Kerry’s failed 2004 presidential bid, the Obama-era Democratic Party has stood by helplessly as Republicans hijacked the debate over everything from extending tax cuts for the wealthiest 1 percent of income-earners to the debt limit debate. Regarding the latter, Kerry made the lame and unhelpful observation that the debacle was “a national embarrassment.” And after Standard & Poor’s downgrade of the US long-term credit rating, he offered the Monday morning quarterback assessment that it was a “Tea Party downgrade.’’

Thanks for telling us what we didn’t know, senator. Meanwhile, with that recent track record of ineffectiveness, who is going to fight for Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security? We need better leadership from you than knowing what went wrong after the fact.

Kerry said recently on Meet The Press: “And the real problem for our country is not the short-term debt. We can deal with that. It’s the long-term debt. It’s the structural debt of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid measured against the demographics of our nation.”

Great. Not a word about defense spending cuts or raising taxes on the wealthy individuals and corporations who can afford to pay. If Democrats like Kerry are going to put the social safety net on the chopping block as the starting point for discussions, they’re already agreeing to the Tea Party’s cynical terms. And we’re sure they’ll have plenty to say about it — after the fact, once they’ve been fooled again.

But Kerry is always good for a lecture. If it isn’t the Tea Party, it’s about how the media covers the Tea Party. He complained in a television interview: “The media in America has a bigger responsibility than it’s exercising today. The media has got to begin to not give equal time or equal balance to an absolutely absurd notion just because somebody asserts it or simply because somebody says something which everybody knows is not factual.”

He continued: “It doesn’t deserve the same credit as a legitimate idea about what you do. And the problem is everything is put into this tit-for-tat equal battle and America is losing any sense of what’s real, of who’s accountable, of who is not accountable, of who’s real, who isn’t, who’s serious, who isn’t?”
Senator, are you serious?

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Not that the Bay State’s junior U.S. senator inspires those of us in his home state.

Well into his term, Scott Brown hasn’t held a single town hall meeting or open forum to give his constituents an opportunity to make their voices heard, or ask, for example, why he supported, and then opposed, Paul Ryan’s Medicare Destruction Act. Or why he supported RomneyCare before he opposed ObamaCare. Or what he thinks today about the destructive Tea Partiers who were so instrumental in his upset victory in the special election to replace the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.

Kennedy set an example that Kerry and Brown need to learn from: the late, great senator got things done through compromise because of his being an unapologetic partisan — not in spite of it.

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