A Ted Kennedy shrine – with your money

Not satisfied with spending the country into the poorhouse and redistributing wealth, two Massachusetts senators have been busy hiding earmarks to secure taxpayer money for a shrine to Ted Kennedy. They’ve already gotten $38.3M and are trying to confiscate a total of $60M for this “worthy” cause. (story here from the Boston Herald)

The amount of taxpayer money being funneled to a Dorchester shrine to the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy has ballooned to $38 million and could rise to at least $68 million this year, infuriating watchdog groups who insist the project should be privately funded.

With $38.3 million in federal earmarks already secured for the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, Sen. John F. Kerry and Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Malden) have in recent days tapped the government for $30 million more in the next budget.

The new taxpayer-funded total would cover the full $60 million estimated cost of building the project, adjacent to John F. Kennedy Presidential Library at Columbia Point. And it would put the public on the hook for nearly half the project’s $150 million target.

“If the Kennedy family wants to honor the family they should find a way to fund it themselves,” said David E. Williams of Citizens Against Government Waste, a Washington nonprofit group.

“They should be looking for private funding,” he said. “They’re using federal taxpayers as the funder of first resort. We need to be the funder of last resort.”

Williams and other critics called it “ridiculous” and an “egregious waste” that supporters want to siphon $28.9 million of the funding from the Defense Department budget alone. Nearly $19 million of that is already signed into law.

“It’s hard to fathom the defense-related portion of this project,” said Steve Ellis, a vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a fiscal watchdog group.

Actually, it’s hard to fathom any taxpayer-related funding for this project – especially given that the government is awash in red ink. In case you’re wondering what this shrine is all about:

A Kerry spokeswoman said in a statement that the institute will bring “knowledge and good citizenship to thousands of young people” and that Kerry is “proud that he worked with his colleagues last year to help make it a reality.” Williams said their support for the project equated with support for pork-type spending.

“Markey and Kerry understand that Kennedy is a beloved figure in Massachusetts and that it is sacrilege to speak ill of this,” he said. “But it’s still pork-barrel spending and not something federal taxpayers should be paying for.”

The institute, to be built adjacent to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum near the University of Massachusetts at Boston campus, “will be dedicated to educating the public, students, teachers, new senators and Senate staff about the role and importance of the Senate,” according to its Web site, emkinstitute.org.

Hmmm – the institute will bring “knowledge and good citizenship to thousands of young people?” What kind of knowledge? What kind of good citizenship? Like how to get away with allowing a young woman to die in your submerged car after drunkenly driving it off a bridge, then not reporting it until you realized it might be bad for your political career? I guess everyone needs to know how to do that.

According to this piece (from BigGovernment.com) there is a bigger agenda to be served:

First, it is intended to enshrine the pretense that one’s politics is more important than any other aspect of one’s personal character. The issue here transcends Kennedy. A central pillar of the liberal worldview is its sweeping rejection of self-responsibility—its claim that no one is ultimately responsible for his actions, but is instead a victim or plaything of circumstances beyond his control. Liberals forgave Kennedy for his personal failings just as they did Bill Clinton—because in their worldview, nobody is to be held individually accountable, either for his sins or his virtues. The ironic flip side of this premise is that everyone is instead his “brother’s keeper,” responsible for everyone on the planet except himself.

Thus, professing liberalism gives you a free pass for all manner of personal immorality and irresponsibility. All you need to do to dry clean your reputation is to advocate policies that promote egalitarian “fairness” toward your fellow “victims of circumstance.”

Second, Teddy’s Temple is a means to an even broader end. That end is to elevate his liberal ideology to the status of an official, government-approved “ideal.” You can be sure that the “good citizenship” propagated at his shrine will translate into speeches, writings, video clips, totems, classes, and materials extolling his liberalism generally, and his advocacy of socialized medicine specifically—all paid for with your hard-earned dollars.

The leftists backing this institute know all this, and they intend for precisely these lessons to be preached there and absorbed by future generations. They understand perfectly well the power of moral symbolism and government-imposed “standards.” So, the Edward M. Kennedy Institute is calculated to establish liberalism’s anti-self-responsibility ideology as a national moral doctrine, to supplant the American legacy of individualism and personal self-responsibility that they despise.

Indeed. This probably should be called The BOHICA Center for Boot-To-The-Face Government.

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