PREDICTING POLITICIZATION…. It looks like word went out yesterday about what leading conservative voices should say about Ted Kennedy’s death: complain about the memorial service that hasn’t happened yet.

Hannity on Kennedy’s death: “a lot of this was the politicizing of — remember Paul Wellstone’s death?” Discussing Kennedy’s death during his radio program, Sean Hannity asserted, “We’ve got The Wall Street Journal reporting — and by the way, a lot of this was the politicizing of — remember Paul Wellstone’s death? You know, ‘Let’s do everything for Paul.’ And we’re now being implored to get behind Obamacare because it’s what Ted Kennedy would have wanted.” [The Sean Hannity Show, 8/26/09]

Lopez on Kennedy’s death: Wellstone service “turned into a political rally.” The National Review Online’s Kathyrn Jean Lopez wrote in an August 26 post to the blog The Corner titled “Re: The Politics of Ted Kennedy’s Passing”: “All politicos need to remember the Wellstone funeral when a well-known politician dies. Instead of memorializing his life, his service turned into a political rally. Some of the MSNBC coverage today I’m catching looks like a [sic] Obamacare convocation. Human life is about more than politics. And politics isn’t American Idol. Or, even, The Lion of the Senate.”

Allahpundit “sure” Kennedy “eulogies won’t be politicized at all.” Hot Air blogger Allahpundit wrote in an August 26 tweet: “Looking forward to the Democratic line-up at TK’s memorial service. I’m sure the eulogies won’t be politicized at all.”

Instapundit: “A Wellstone Memorial on steroids?” An August 26 post on linked to a post by JammieWearingFool with the headline “A Wellstone Memorial on steroids? And how did that work out?” JammieWearingFool asserted in the post, written the same day, “While we have no doubt the Democrats will do all they can to exploit his death and will probably have a Wellstone memorial on steroids, we’ll stay above that.” The link on the words “Wellstone memorial” were to an October 30, 2002, article describing Wellstone’s memorial services as a “pep rally.”

All of this came the same day Kennedy’s death was announced. In other words, one of the foremost concerns conservatives had yesterday was over a memorial service that hasn’t happened, eulogies that haven’t been delivered, and possible similarities to a Wellstone event that didn’t happen the way they think it did.

There may be a genuine fear on the right that Kennedy’s passing may inspire Democrats to complete his unfinished work, and give the left new resolve. A stirring memorial service with inspirational eulogies may have political consequences, so conservatives have apparently decided to try to crush that spirit now, before anyone starts to feel motivated to honor Kennedy’s legacy.

Indeed, they’re just laying the groundwork. Far-right bloggers and Fox News personalities may feel tempted to condemn Kennedy-related services when they occur, so they’re letting everyone know now, “We’ll be watching closely, waiting for rhetoric we don’t like.”

Hold services for a progressive champion that meets the demands of right-wing activists, or face their wrath.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.