Breaking News: Generalissimo Francisco Franco Is Still Dead

Just a request. Can we stop having 24/7 news coverage every time some minor celebrity type figure makes the grave? It's like a bad Saturday Night Live skit. This just in, Senator Edward M. Kennedy is still dead.

I don't know about most Americans but I've been turning off the news networks and tuning out the mournful bleatings of Inside the Beltway television personalities.

Here's the shot of the candlelight vigil outside the family compound. Cut back to the studio where Chris Matthews is balling his eyes out. Now news choppers are hovering above the funeral motorcade like so many horse flies, buzzing around Kennedy's hearse. Oh boy, now we can watch a line of people waiting to see the body lying in state. Interview some politician tearfully recalling all the backroom deals the two had brokered, siphoning away billions of tax dollars for pork barrel projects. Cut back to the Kennedy Library. Yep, the body is still there. The bottom of the hour is coming up, so a blonde in a short skirt mouths the catchphrases "End of Camelot", "Extinguishing the Torch" or "Lion of the Senate". Repeat for days and days.

And people in the news business wonder why their industry is dying?

I count myself lucky to have missed the weeks of coverage following Michael Jackson's death two months ago. Probably would have gotten into trouble with his fans.

DW: Why are we wasting time on the weirdo? Sure, the song "Blame It On The Boogie" was alright. But Jackson hasn't had a good album in over twenty years.

Fan: Oh, you can't say that. Think of his family and children.

DW: Wait a second, didn't Jackson do all that bad stuff to those kids at the Neverland Ranch? And what about when he held his baby over a balco...

Fan: Quiet! You're not supposed to speak bad about the dead.

DW: Why? Will the dead come back as zombies? Oh wait.

(One has to admit, the thought of MJ and Teddy doing one last Thriller dance would be kind of cool...)

This isn't about philosophical differences. Short of single-handedly winning the Cold War, there isn't any American alive in the past decade who deserves weeks on end of self flagellation on the part of us still living. Put him in the ground. Say a few good words. And let's get on with life.

Postmortem: To bring politics back into the fray, it would be a serious mistake for President Barack Obama, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats in Congress to try to push through their universal health care plan as some sort of tribute to Senator Kennedy. People living in the 202 area code don't realize how little liked the senior senator from Massachusetts was with most of the country.

You only need to look back to the 2002 Paul Wellstone Memorial. Even Minnesotans were smart enough to see when a tragedy was being crassly leveraged for electoral gain. A Ted Kennedy Memorial Health Care Act of 2009 would backfire so badly that it will probably cost the Democrats their majority in the House.

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