Typically, when we learn that someone has terminal cancer our thoughts and prayers go out to him.
In the case of Edward M. Kennedy, our emotions are more complicated.
Kennedy is on our minds, for sure. But although we are compassionate, how much any of us may be praying for Kennedy varies widely.
I'm taking a dispassionate view. Cancer is a scourge, an ugly way to die.
But, putting aside his cataclysmic moral failings and the murder in full public view of his two brothers, Kennedy has lived a wonderful life.
At age 76, Kennedy has already exceeded the average life span for American males. And unlike his brothers, he will die from natural causes.
Born into a family of enormous wealth and influence, Kennedy (whose estimated fortune is $10 million) has had everything handed to him—that includes his U.S. Senate seat.
Time has somewhat obscured the shady details of how Kennedy became a senator. Allow me to refresh your memory.
In 1960 when John Kennedy was elected President of the United States, he vacated his Massachusetts Senate seat.
Ted, then only 28, would not be eligible to fill his brother's position until February 22, 1962, when he would turn thirty.
Shamelessly working behind the scenes on Ted's behalf, the President-elect asked then Massachusetts Governor Foster Furcolo to appoint Kennedy family friend Benjamin A. Smith II to fill out his term citing the authority granted under the 17th Constitutional amendment and Massachusetts law.
Completely understood by all parties was that Smith would not run for re-election.
This maneuver held the Senate seat open for Ted until he could be duly nominated in a special election held two years later. And, as he had promised, Smith did not run.
The rest, as they say, is history. Re-elected eight times, Kennedy is now the second most senior Senator.
Kennedy's 1962 opponent Edward McCormack, then Massachusetts attorney general, spoke perhaps the most insightful line ever, still memorable today: "If your name was simply Edward Moore instead of Edward Moore Kennedy, your candidacy would be a joke."[The Ascent of Ted Kennedy, Time Magazine, January 10, 1969]
A few years further down life's road, Kennedy's wealth, fame and connections allowed him, infamously and unjustly, to avoid a vehicular manslaughter charge related to Mary Jo Kopechne's tragic death. Kennedy's plea to a lesser charge of leaving the scene of an accident resulted in a suspended sentence.
Summing up, Kennedy has had it way better than most—vast amounts of money, power and all the trappings that go with it.
I'm speaking of material things, of course. Like most readers, I would never trade places with Kennedy.
To us, Kennedy will always be the worst of the bad guys.
Of immediate concern is a question posed by VDARE.COM's Marcus Epstein—will Kennedy make one more run at an amnesty for millions of illegal aliens from his deathbed?
Or, alternatively wonders Epstein, will one of Kennedy's colleagues in a farewell salute and evoking his memory, rally the Senate troops around an amnesty?
I view both scenarios as possible but improbable. Whether Kennedy makes a last gasp effort or someone does it on his behalf, amnesty is doomed—conceivably for a good long time.
Given then that amnesty will inevitably fail, which politician would dare to gamble his future on it?
Without stopping to count precisely, I estimate that since President George W. Bush took office at least ten amnesties—in various forms both "comprehensive" and piece meal—have been beaten back.
If you include those that were whispered about on Capitol Hill but never got off the ground, the number could be larger.
Lest we forget, the last victory for the other side occurred in 2000 when the LIFE Act—a sub-section of the rolling 245 (i) amnesty—passed.
From 2000 to 2008 is a long time between drinks.
Epstein correctly pointed out that in 1965, motivated by a sense of indebtedness to the enormously popular president, Congress passed 1965 Immigration Act.
A gullible Congress bought into the Kennedy deceit that America's demographics would not be altered. Unsuspecting citizens offered no resistance.
Forty-five years later, however, we have an entirely different perspective.
Patriotic immigration reform is near the top of American's domestic concerns. Well-organized grass roots organizations fight illegal immigration from almost every state.
Resistance to legal immigration is mounting.
Vast amounts of information about immigration's impact are easily found on the Internet and widely discussed on talk radio.
Today's conditions are poles apart from what they were four decades earlier.
And, most importantly and going against conventional wisdom, Kennedy doesn't have the clout to pull off an amnesty. He didn't have the muscle when he teamed up with John McCain in their "bipartisan" 2005 effort. And he certainly doesn't have it today.
To the patriotic immigration reform movement, Kennedy is a central figure of the opposition.
But what's interesting is to speculate on just how important Kennedy is to other Americans —that is, those whose interest in immigration is not as all consuming as ours.
The majority of the nation, especially the farther you travel from New England and the Eastern Seaboard, considers Kennedy just another tired, old Senator who has outworn his welcome.
Because Kennedy is so prominent in our minds, what's often forgotten is that to many the Kennedy name—whether it's John, Ted or Bobby— is merely a chapter in a history book.
John was assassinated in 1963—when Barack Obama was two years old.
In 1968, Sirhan Sirhan killed Bobby; the Chappaquiddick incident occurred in 1969—both events over two generations ago.
But our opposition to immigration is greater than anything Kennedy—or any other treasonous Senator—can overcome.
In my December column last year that summarized our many 2007 triumphs, I predicted that amnesty was so "toxic" that no one in Congress would dare touch it before 2010, at the earliest.
Apparently, Senator Dianne Feinstein wasn't listening.
Last month, when Feinstein tried to backdoor her Ag Jobs provisions onto an Iraq spending bill, she was rebuked and totally humiliated as Majority Leader Harry Reid stripped all her language related to the amnesty.
After Feinstein's Senate floor embarrassment, who would dare to resurrect amnesty yet again—even in Kennedy's name?
I'll go out on a limb to predict that the other side cannot now or perhaps ever achieve its coveted amnesty.
Look at its recent track record—repeated failures.
Every effort for eight solid years—non-stop lobbying by the White House, ham-fisted interference from two Mexican presidents, feverish pleas from the ethno-centric groups, insider influence on key Congressional legislators, massive, angry street demonstrations, 10,000 (conservative estimate) rancid MSM sob stories and 5,000 (understated guesstimate) slanted editorials—failed to change American minds.
A Senate attempt to force a Kennedy-driven amnesty—whether he's dead or alive—would be a different tactic.
But the results will be the same—another stinging defeat for the other side.
Joe Guzzardi [e-mail him] is the Editor of VDARE.COM Letters to the Editor. In addition, he is an English teacher at the Lodi Adult School and has been writing a weekly newspaper column since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.