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Our elected officials and punditocracy are engaging in an orgy of nostalgia over the late Ted Kennedy, in part because he embodied their ideal: the Public-Figure-for-Life.

Teddy was elected to the U.S. Senate to replace his brother when he was 29 and then spent almost 47 years in the Senate. You know the old joke about how the only thing that could cost Senator So-and-so reelection is being found with a dead girl or a live boy? Well, Senator Ted wound up with the blood of a dead girl on his hands ... and still got over 40 more years in the U.S. Senate. And to a lot of important people, that makes him an inspiration.

On a lesser note, how badly do you have to screw up to lose your job as a celebrity pundit? For example, here's a video of the New York Times's Tom Friedman explaining why he supported the Iraq Attaq. The last three words are particularly amusing. Perhaps the Pentagon could send a DVD of this interview home with the coffin to every dead enlistee's mom.

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