During the 2:00AM ET hour of CBS’s Up to the Minute on Wednesday, shortly after news broke of Senator Ted Kenney’s death, historian Douglas Brinkley exclaimed the Massachusetts Democrat was: "...going to be a – a martyr because of all that he’s done and he very well might help, in death, Obama get his health care plan."
Fill-in anchor Michelle Gielan discussed Kennedy’s legacy with Brinkley, soon turning to the current debate over health care reform: "And one of those causes that he was championing was health care reform, and yet, he had to sit out these last few months. How difficult was that for him?" Brinkley began his response: "Well, it was very difficult for him....he’s been forced to be sidelined and unable to talk at town hall meetings. It’s been hard not to watch the nightly news and kind of wish that you had a fiery old Ted Kennedy there, arguing his points for universal health care, it could have made a difference."
After lamenting Kennedy’s absence in pushing ObamaCare, Brinkley went on to frame the Senator’s death in an historic context: "But, as history plays it, now that he’s dead, there’ll be a mortar – martyr syndrome for him and people will start talking about his career and how much he did to help people. And in many ways, he’s still an ambassador, even though he’s gone, he’s – his energy that may help push this Obama plan through, in the end."
Brinkley then concluded his thoughts by touting the important role fawning media coverage of Kennedy would play in the coming days: "Because after a week or two of media coverage showing how much Kennedy cared about getting proper health care to the poor and the middle class, he’s going to be a – a martyr because of all that he’s done and he very well might help, in death, Obama get his health care plan."