There’s a slim hope ventured by some in today’s articles about Senator Kennedy that perhaps his death might somehow help improve the prospects of health care reform by briefly relieving the partisan acrimony and serving as a reminder of the urgency of his signature legislative cause, which is, after all, about people’s lives and deaths. But no one is counting on it. And when you think about it, the ailing Kennedy’s own end-of-life decisions seem like every American’s ideal, hardly an advertisement for overhauling a system that makes such options possible. First, he got to choose the intensive treatment he wanted-surgery, chemo, and radiation-although his tumor was judged inoperable and lethal, and although he was diagnosed at 76. And then he got to die a dignified death, not trapped in a hospital, but saying farewell to family, friends, and dogs on Cape Cod. No one would dream of begrudging him his "good ending," as the Times called it; it is inspiring. But perhaps the Senator wouldn’t mind if, as we pay tribute to the valiant close to an impressive career, we also note how much his "prudently aggressive" medical approach must have cost, and how unusually lucky he was in the way it played out.
Photograph of Ted Kennedy by Jim Rogash/Getty Images.
TODAY IN SLATE
The Democrats’ War at Home
How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?
Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best
Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke
A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking
Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10
Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.
How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.
You Deserve a Pre-cation
The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.