ABC’s Terry Moran on Wednesday spun Ted Kennedy’s political career as one of a "happy warrior" who should be looked to for direction in "these bitter times." However, it’s hard to square this description of Kennedy with the vitriolic speech the Senator made in 1987 condemning Robert Bork’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
Reporting on Kennedy’s death soon after it was announced, Moran noted that Kennedy was a liberal and rhapsodized, "He was in many of those battles a divisive figure because of his beliefs, but never because of his heart. He was a happy warrior." The Nightline anchor closed out his report by cooing, "And in these bitter times when anger and contempt seem to become the language of our politics, maybe it’s the old fashion joy Ted Kennedy brought to politics that we miss the most and need now."
Old fashioned joy? Kennedy certainly sounded bitter and angry when he took to the Senate floor on July 01, 1987 and trashed Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork’s America as a place were "blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters" and "rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids."
An excerpt from Kennedy’s speech:
Robert Bork's America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists would be censored at the whim of government, and the doors of the federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is often the only protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy.
America is a better and freer nation than Robert Bork thinks. Yet in the current delicate balance of the Supreme Court, his rigid ideology will tip the scales of justice against the kind of country America is and ought to be.
The damage that President Reagan will do through this nomination, if it is not rejected by the Senate, could live on far beyond the end of his presidential term. President Reagan is still our President. But he should not be able to reach out from the muck of Irangate, reach into the muck of Watergate, and impose his reactionary vision of the Constitution on the Supreme Court and on the next generation of Americans. No justice would be better than this injustice.
Is that a happy warrior, Mr. Moran?
A transcript of Moran’s comments, which aired at 3:05am EDT on August 26, follow:
TERRY MORAN: Ted Kennedy was a liberal and proud of it. He fought for decades for liberal causes he never apologized for or backed down from. Civil rights and social justice for minorities, health care for all Americans, more spending on education and social programs. You might have agreed with him. You might have disagreed with him. He was in many of those battles a divisive figure because of his beliefs, but never because of his heart. He was a happy warrior. And in these bitter times when anger and contempt seem to become the language of our politics, maybe it’s the old fashion joy Ted Kennedy brought to politics that we miss the most and need now.