Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 27/8/2009 (4408 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The passing of the man known as the "Lion of the Senate" -- respected and admired by Democrats and Republicans alike -- has quickly become a rallying cry for President Barack Obama's sweeping health-care overhaul, something that's angering conservative commentators.
They've assailed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office for sending an email to reporters early Wednesday, just a couple of hours after Kennedy's death, calling for the passage of health-care legislation.
"Senator Kennedy had a grand vision for America, and an unparalleled ability to effect change," the statement read. "Ted Kennedy's dream of quality health care for all Americans will be made real this year because of his leadership and his inspiration."
She wasn't the only Democrat to link Kennedy to the health-care reform battle in her remarks. Bill Clinton made a similar statement, as did Senator Russ Feingold and House Majority Whip James Clyburn.
Senator Robert Byrd, himself ailing at the age of 92, wants any health-care bill that finally passes to be named after Kennedy.
Some non-politicians also evoked Kennedy. Andy Stern, the president of the Service Employees International Union, called for the passage of health-care legislation to honour Kennedy.
"Let us continue his cause," he said. "Let us take action this year to pass health-care reform. And let us continue to build Kennedy's vision of America."
Conservatives pundits have been sneering in their criticism.
"Thank goodness Barack Obama is here because to honour Ted Kennedy, they are going to pass health-care reform," Fox News's Glenn Beck said sarcastically on his radio show on Thursday.
"Yes, to honour -- not to exploit, not to capitalize on his death. No, that would be crazy."
Rush Limbaugh, meantime, mocked Kennedy's nickname, the "Lion of the Senate," saying: "We were his prey."
He added: "The left is exploiting his death and his legacy and they are going to do it, as predicted, to push health care."
The political posturing from both right and left did indeed look unseemly as thousands of people, some in tears, lined Massachusetts roadways to pay tribute to Kennedy.
They were out in droves to watch the motorcade carrying the Kennedy family and the senator's casket make its way from the clan's Hyannisport compound to Boston.
Kennedy will lie in repose at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston until his Saturday morning funeral, where Obama will deliver the eulogy.
The Massachusetts senator, the only Kennedy brother to survive past the age of 50, will be buried Saturday evening at Arlington National Cemetery near the gravesites of his two assassinated brothers.
Lawmakers are set to return to Washington after Labour Day to begin debate on several versions of the health-care reform bill, including one Kennedy helped draft earlier this year.
Kennedy himself, perhaps, set the stage for his posthumous role in the health-care reform debate in a piece he wrote for Newsweek magazine just last month.
"This is the cause of my life," he wrote in the July 27 issue of the magazine.
"For four decades I have carried this cause -- from the floor of the United States Senate to every part of this country. It has never been merely a question of policy; it goes to the heart of my belief in a just society. Now the issue has more meaning for me -- and more urgency -- than ever before."
-- The Canadian Press