On the Kennedy "Rant"

Representative Patrick J. Kennedy's outburst on the House floor yesterday - excoriating the media for its heavy coverage of former Representative Eric Massa's tickle fights and scant coverage of a Congressional debate over pulling out of Afghanistan - has drawn the predictable response. There's Patches, flying off the deep end again.

Kennedy has never been the smoothest of speakers - to put it kindly - but it has become too easy to ignore the substance of his remarks and focus on the theatrics.

So I'll focus on the substance. And here, I've got to part ways with the Congressman. Has the focus on Massa been excessive? Probably - though the sheer absurdity of the whole situation makes it hard for even the most serious consumer of news to turn away.

But Congressman Dennis Kucinich's resolution, calling for the US to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, wasn't going anywhere as the final vote tally - 356-65 - made clear. And the arguments advanced by either side, pro- and anti-war, were nothing new. Do we need a serious debate over the war in Afghanistan? Absolutely. We had one when President Obama formulated his strategy. We'll have one again when it comes time to vote on funding for the war. And I hope Kennedy will speak up again. I'm sure he will.

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