Cause of his life

To young interns and staff in Congress, you should feel honored and blessed, as I do, to be here for one of the epic battles of a century and for the valiant stand by the greatest senator who ever set foot in the capital of the greatest republic on Earth.

A thousand angels are praying for this good and great man of the Senate who battles for his life while he fights for the cause of his lifetime. In a town overwhelmed by special interests, Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) has shaken the rafters of the Senate and called to the conscience of the Congress, time and again, yesterday and today.

If young interns want a model for how a boss can inspire greatness, look across the street to Stephen Breyer, who once walked the halls today’s interns now walk, who now brilliantly wears the robe of Supreme Court justice, inspired by Sen. Kennedy.

In the current cover story of Newsweek, the trumpet summons us again. The booming voice of conscience calls the Congress to action, echoing the greatness of his legacy and the magnitude of our mission.

There are legitimate issues of cost, structure and finance that must be addressed in the healthcare bill, whenever it is enacted.

But Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) is wrong for his party and our country when he sounds like Napoleon before Waterloo, and Nixon before Watergate, and says healthcare is the Republican moment to “break the president.”

This could be the president’s JFK moment.

The president should reach out fairly to those with concerns but must fight with a fury not seen in this town for a generation. It is time for all hands on deck. It is time for the fight of a lifetime. It is time for no holds barred. It is time for the verdict of the voters to be honored. It is time for healthcare reform.

While members negotiate in good faith before final passage after Labor Day, I suggest the president host 10 town meetings on healthcare, in the largest educational and mobilization effort for one bill in the history of presidential leadership.

I would urge liberal groups to run television ads persuading voters rather than personal attacks that do not address their heartfelt concerns.

Let’s bring back Tom Daschle as full-time presidential super-advocate, as “wise men” have advised great presidents throughout history. Daschle combines a depth of technical knowledge about healthcare with major good will throughout Congress; both are irreplaceable at this critical moment.

Let’s bring in the mother of all reinforcements, Hillary Rodham Clinton, for a two-day tour of key states championing the healthcare that is the essential right for women, and men, everywhere.

Across the globe and around the world, from the single mom in Texas to Neda shedding her blood for freedom on the streets of Tehran, women are rising with hope for equality and justice in every endeavor of life, from healthcare to human rights, on every street, of every village, of every nation, everywhere.

Healthcare is Kennedy’s cause, our cause, the world’s cause, the right cause. It is time to work with fairness but fight with fury to make this long-deferred dream come true, for men and women here and everywhere.

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen and Bill Alexander, then chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. He can be read on The Hill’s Pundits Blog and reached at