The White House is desperate. So desperate that they’re going back to the ‘Win One for Teddy’ thing that didn’t work all that well when Ted Kennedy actually died.

Today, the White House did something so…icky that I’m still wrapping my head around it. On the night Obama is publicly fighting to save his healthcare plan and possibly his presidency he releases to the press Ted Kennedy’s last letter to Obama and guess what it’s about?

That’s right. It’s about healthcare. How did you know?

May 12, 2009

Dear Mr. President,

I wanted to write a few final words to you to express my gratitude for your repeated personal kindnesses to me – and one last time, to salute your leadership in giving our country back its future and its truth…

You also made it a time of hope for me and for our country.

When I thought of all the years, all the battles, and all the memories of my long public life, I felt confident in these closing days that while I will not be there when it happens, you will be the President who at long last signs into law the health care reform that is the great unfinished business of our society. For me, this cause stretched across decades; it has been disappointed, but never finally defeated. It was the cause of my life. And in the past year, the prospect of victory sustained me-and the work of achieving it summoned my energy and determination.

There will be struggles – there always have been – and they are already underway again. But as we moved forward in these months, I learned that you will not yield to calls to retreat – that you will stay with the cause until it is won. I saw your conviction that the time is now and witnessed your unwavering commitment and understanding that health care is a decisive issue for our future prosperity. But you have also reminded all of us that it concerns more than material things; that what we face is above all a moral issue; that at stake are not just the details of policy, but fundamental principles of social justice and the character of our country.

And so because of your vision and resolve, I came to believe that soon, very soon, affordable health coverage will be available to all, in an America where the state of a family’s health will never again depend on the amount of a family’s wealth. And while I will not see the victory, I was able to look forward and know that we will – yes, we will – fulfill the promise of health care in America as a right and not a privilege.

I’m not going to say anything about Ted Kennedy here because he’s passed on now. But for the White House to release this letter today when President Obama making his last big push to the nation to save his Presidency just reeks of opportunism.

Can you imagine the White House consultants, czars, and staff all debating when the best time to release a dead man’s letter to the press would be. I’m not even thinking about whether someone from the White House actually asked Kennedy to write such a letter.

It’s just plain icky to keep raising the specter of Kennedy and I’m not sure it has the effect they think it will. So besides being icky, I don’t even think it’s smart politics.