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Uber-Compassionate Laura Ingraham on The O’Reilly Factor: “Who Cares” If Healthcare Was Kennedy’s Cause?

Reported by Julie - August 31, 2009 -

Crucifix-adorned Laura Ingraham guest-hosted for Bill O’Reilly on The O’Reilly Factor last night (8/31/09), and it looks like she broke out the curling iron for the event. I figured something out: Watching Ingraham isn’t bad if you keep the volume down. With video.

But, duty called, so up went the volume, and I jacked it up just in time for the Personal Story segment, in which Ingraham accused the Democrats of “politicizing” Ted Kennedy’s death – like she cares.

Ingraham brayed, “Their new rallying cry for healthcare reform seems to be, ‘Win one for Teddy,’ and a writer on the Huffington Post even invoked Kennedy’s Chappaquiddick victim, Mary Jo Kopechne: ‘. . . We don’t know how much Kennedy was affected by her death or what she’d have thought about arguably being a catalyst for the most successful Senate career in history. Who knows, maybe she’d feel it was worth it.’”

Ingraham introduced Nancy Skinner (the “liberal” talk show host who, one, lost her gig on WLS 890 AM back in 2003 for announcing her U.S. Senate candidacy on the air, and two, lost to Barack Obama, coming in 6th out of 7 candidates, in that same Senate primary).

Ingraham and Skinner batted around the issue of the HuffPo blogger who wrote about Kopechne, agreeing that it was a nutsy thing to say. Ingraham, of course, catapulted this one blogger’s statement into a broad statement on liberals who are “using” Ted Kennedy’s death to push healthcare reform.

“Tell me why you think it’s okay for people to be up there on Capitol Hill saying, do it for Teddy . . . ,” Ingraham asked Skinner. Duh.

“Kennedy himself called it, healthcare, ‘the cause of his life,’” Skinner replied. “It’s not using it, Laura . . . You have these moving eulogies by Orrin Hatch . . . McCain and Mitch McConnell saying, and even Fox News . . . ‘Lion of, liberal lion, crossed party lines’ . . . Now that he’s gone they can’t see how healthcare can get passed . . . that’s like using him as an excuse to bury healthcare reform along with him . . . .”

Ingraham argued, “But that’s not quite accurate, though . . . the Democrats haven’t been saying, let’s do it for Teddy . . . I didn’t hear that a lot over the last several months . . . so only after his death and after the polls show that the public basically doesn’t want this whole Obamacare thing . . . the whole rebranding the first few times around hasn’t worked so now we’re gonna try this.” Woah, Laur – I think that what they did was waited until he was DEAD to start eulogizing him. How nice would it have been to start paying tribute to a guy who’s still alive? Besides, Ted Kennedy was present to push his own cause, so yeah, after his death was the more appropriate time to say, ‘win one for the Gipper.’

Ingraham played a sound bite of Max Allen, one of the Kennedy grandkids, talking about the cause of his grandfather’s life being “that every American will have decent quality healthcare as a fundamental right and not a privilege . . . .”

“That sounds like it’s right out of, like, Howard Dean’s speech . . .,” Ingraham sneered. “This was politicizing the funeral!” We call it a eulogy, Laur. Haven’t you and that crucifix ever been to a funeral?

Skinner persisted, “He said, ‘This is the cause of my life . . . .’”

“Who cares?” Ingraham said belligerently. “Nancy, who cares? Who cares that it’s the cause of his life? It’s a sixth of our economy. It’s not a tribute to one man. This is our future, this is our liberty and our freedom at stake.”

Well, now, I’m kind of interested in how Fox doesn’t do tributes “to one man.” Wasn’t it just a couple of months ago that Hannity honored President Reagan’s 1984 D-Day speech by playing it in its entirety and commenting, “And that is, without question, one of the greatest presidential speeches in history, and for President Obama, that is a very tough act to follow.” A Hannity wet dream – he got to both honor his master and take a swipe at President Obama, his favorite pastime. Or, yeah, how ‘bout that five-part series about Reagan – less than a year ago -- with Chris Wallace, when “Fox News explores how the Great Communicator managed his message and the media.”

And let’s think back - following President Reagan’s death in 2004, Fox ran an “infomercial” in which Fox News’ “Reporter William LaJeunesse even claimed God-like status for Reagan, by speculating, ‘It will be interesting as we remember him this week whether or not if he will do in death as he did in life in terms of helping us get back on the road.’ In short, Fox News sold Reagan as the super product that could do anything, and any possible negative attributes were swept under the rug (the Iran/Contra scandal, for instance, garnered one sentence in a taped segment).”

Heavens, we wouldn’t want to pay tribute to one man, now, would we?

Skinner nodded, saying, “What the calls are for, Laura, is for bipartisanship . . . the far left wants single payer universal, that’s gone, the far right wants the status quo . . . .”

“The far right?” Ingraham said, feigning confusion. “How about, yeah, how about 55% of the country? Far right? I mean, I don’t know if that’s necessarily working now when you look at these polls, it’s broad-based opposition.”

Well, the only thing Ingraham got right is the number. The truth is that “57% oppose the plan if it doesn't include a government-run health insurance plan to compete with private insurers.” (Emphasis mine). Shit, if healthcare reform that includes a public option isn’t dead, it isn’t for lack of trying by the far right – and yes, I said far right, and no, I don’t mean “broad-based opposition.” I’m talking about the right-wing fringe (which is most of the right, these days) town-hallers screaming about “socialism” while grabbing up their Medicare benefits.

And you know, isn’t the Ted Kennedy healthcare reform tribute sort of like a political “Make a Wish Foundation?” I mean, seriously – the man devoted his life to public service, and he called healthcare reform the cause of his life. I’m sure Ingraham and Fox News would like nothing better than to see healthcare reform in the casket with Senator Kennedy – the last thing they want is for there to be a renewed passion by the left to pass the sort of healthcare reform Senator Kennedy worked his whole life to see in place.

I’m not a religious person, but even I understand the purpose of eulogies, and tributes, and stuff people say at funerals. Even I understand the idea of honoring someone’s memory. The more I listen to Ingraham, and the more I look at that crucifix shining on her stalk-like neck, the more I realize that she can pretend to be a Christian, but what comes spewing out of her mouth is a dead giveaway that her gold cross is nothing but a piece of shiny jewelry.