RIP, Ted Kennedy

An interesting (and influential) American life, to be sure. CNN has an obituary here.

28 Comments on “RIP, Ted Kennedy”

  1. As with any public life, it’s hard to seperate the good from the bad, especially with so much of both. I figure if you’re going to judge a senator, you judge him on what (s)he wanted to accomplish. In that regard, I think Ted did alright.
    We could sure use a couple dozen of him in the healthcare debate right now.

  2. Goodby Teddy. You were a great National Senator, not just a great Senator from your state.

  3. A great man, a man of strength and courage, is gone. I am deeply saddened by his death.

  4. [Deleted because people can crap on Kennedy in their own spaces if they like. If you have something substantive and yet not positive to say, fine. Otherwise, I’ll be snipping it out — JS]

  5. It’s too bad Ted didn’t live long enough to see some kind of health care reform actually pass. It’s been one of his pet projects for years.

    Now let’s see who the governor will appoint to replace him until a special election can be held. I don’t envy that person. It will be some big shoes to fill.

  6. The only one of the brothers to die in his bed and, while he certainly wasn’t perfect, had a much bigger impact on our country in the long term and any of the other three. I’m pretty sure we’ll be hearing a lot of “Remember Chappiquiddick” stuff over the next few days from some on the Rabid Right but I suspect he’ll be remembered for things like Title 9 more than his drinking and other personal mistakes.

  7. Although given the coverage I saw this morning, you would have been excused for thinking it was John Kennedy who died. It seemed like they were either showing talking heads, clips of old JFK speeches, or showing Ted Kennedy talking about the old JFK speeches.

  8. Oh man, anyone listening to Biden’s speech? The sincerity is so evident. This is a man who is mourning a friend. Really a beautiful speech, even if (for obvious reasons) he’s having a hard time getting through it.

  9. Ted Kennedy was human and so capable of human mistakes. That doesn’t negate all the good he did in his years in office.
    Someone on one of the shows this morning said he was elected at a time when giants trod the senate floor, not just people who could raise large sums of money.
    So true.

  10. Maybe the good done makes up for the one big mistake; recusal from public life probably would have been just thing. There’s just no way of knowing. The venom on this point is the flip side of the man not having been cornered and made to own up when it mattered. Certain conservative politicians can, of course, demonstrate how it should really be done. Why do I doubt that there will be any takers?

  11. I rarely agreed with him politically, but I greatly admired his ability to get people to work together. He made the world a better place. Rest in Peace, Senator.

  12. “…but there was never a piece of legislation that he ever got passed without a major Republican ally.”

    His ability to work in a bipartisan fashion is what we will miss in this current political climate of ‘hate the other.’

  13. I worked on his 1980 Presidential Campaign. THe news was hardly unexpected, but I feel as bereft and cold as an orphan.

    The creatures who want to focus only on one thing in his entire life are trolls who deserve nothing more than the back of one’s hand. Kennedy himself never forgot that event; it was with him every day of his life and I do not doubt for one moment it provided much of the impetus for his work and legacy. His opponents have not one one-hundredth of his moral self-awareness, and certainly have not given one one-hundredth as much in service and value.

  14. Someone on one of the shows this morning said he was elected at a time when giants trod the senate floor, not just people who could raise large sums of money.
    So true.

    Oh, please. He was a scion of the most politically-connected family since the Adamses. Still, my condolences to said family, who are coping with a very bad season.

  15. I’m pretty sure we’ll be hearing a lot of “Remember Chappiquiddick” stuff over the next few days from some on the Rabid Right

    Presumably, they’re assuming Kennedy couldn’t possibly have had a concussion at the time of the accident (which makes me wonder why more of this wasn’t made over the years).

    But his political accomplishments, I think, are, in and of themselves, not questioned. And they probably shouldn’t be….

  16. There’s been a Kennedy in the Senate for my entire life. As a native Californian, the Kennedys were never *my* senators, but Sen. Ted Kennedy always felt like everyone’s senator.

    He died of the same cancer that killed my father. I mourn his loss for his family and for all Americans.

  17. Like all of us, he had his faults and made mistakes. I didn’t always agree with his politics, but I respected a lot of what he did and tried to do as a senator, and his willingness to work with Republican senators. May he rest in peace.

  18. I figure if you’re going to judge a senator, you judge him on what (s)he wanted to accomplish.

    So a person who wants to bring about world peace and end world hunger, yet does nothing towards those ends or whose actions even impede them, is more worthy than someone with modest goals that are effectively achieved?

    Your proposed standard seems a little… bad.

  19. TAP: The Only Kennedy Who Wasn’t Overrated. (Via Making Light)

    I agree. If anything, Teddy was underrated. I personally think MediCare and Title IX alone would be enough to call him great, but his accomplishments don’t end there. Americans with Disabilities Act, anyone? Not to mention lowering the voting age to 18. All these efforts were spearheaded by Ted Kennedy.

    I sure wish we had anyone like him now.

  20. One of my closest friends is from Massachusetts and Ted Kennedy was his Senator. Through my friend I learned why he was so loved by his constituents – he always had time for them, always championed for them, always worked to improve lives, and was never slave to special interests over the interests of real people voting for him. I admire him and I will miss him.

  21. Even if he’d never done another minute’s work in his life, Kennedy’s work on behalf of people with disabilities (ie. the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, just to name the two biggies) would be enough. I don’t know if you could even measure the number of people directly affected by his work on behalf of the disabled, let alone the poor and disenfranchised.

  22. I think when all is said and done the sum good of what he did will outweigh the bad…not by much… but I will say he always did what he thought was right, which is a trait to few politicians have these days.


  23. Anyone looking at Ted Kennedy’s legacy should spend some time reading Charles Pierce’s 2003 profile in the Boston Globe. It’s both a great piece of writing, and an excellent look at both the man and the legend surrounding him.

    He was a complex guy, but he did a lot of good. We have him to thank for, among other pieces of important legislation, the Americans with Disabilities Act.

  24. I agreed him on almost nothing, but he did what he thought was for the common good and was — by all accounts of my various Republican Senate staff friends — an enormously kind man on a personal level, even to the point of defending staff against the workaday b.s. of obnoxious Senators (the approximately 85 of them who have no manners whatsoever).

    I hope he’s found the peace his faith tells him is there.

  25. Squid @15

    There’s 2 things you should remember here.
    “He was elected in the time….” does not mean he was a giant. He certainly wasn’t a giant at that time. The point is, he got his senatorial education a long time ago. (Many other still-sitting senators also did, and we can only hope that they try to practice the old-style politics every now and then.)
    The other thing is, he was the young one. 3 other Kennedy’s had to be… ahem… displaced before he was the haymaker in that family. Sure, he was elected because he was a Kennedy (it’s not like he had anything else to his resume), but he wasn’t put in the seat by the family.

  26. I Knew Ted – A Personal Tribute

    A patrician of an old money family, he was, in his younger years, a rake and a playboy.

    Over the years he turned into a champion for the little guy, and, as even his political opponents would attest, a Statesman of the first order.

    The playboy Ted is not the Ted I grew up with. I knew about it well though, having as a father a man who detested Ted’s politics.

    The Statesman Ted is the only political Ted I knew personally. The third longest serving senator in the history of the US. The man who was on the forefront of every major social issue of the last 40 years; civil rights for all without exceptions and health care spring to my mind right now. He also, despite the fact that I hate the idea personally, brought home the pork to my home, Massachusetts.

    His legacy is gigantic, but it is not the playboy or political Ted I will remember.

    I was born, grew up, and now live on Cape Cod. Ted’s true home. The place where he went to recharge his batteries after spending his energy in battles on Capitol Hill.

    In my late teens I knew, and for one summer, dated one of his nieces. I met him then, not the politician, but as my date’s “Uncle Ted”.

    I would show up to pick up her up and sometimes he was there. Other times he wasn’t. When he was there he was always gracious. While I waited we would probe each other, him trying to find out what the hell I wanted with his niece, me, being a typical teenage male, trying to avoid that exact same subject.

    We finally found a common ground for conversation. Sailing.

    Him about his big sailboats, I about my tiny racing 420. He invited me to go sailing with him one day. I thought it would be a blast but Kym just wanted to get out of the house and away.

    So it never happened.

    One of my greatest regrets is missing that opportunity.

    God speed Ted. Fair winds and following seas!

    From The Bacchae of Euripides

    Happy is he, on the weary sea who has fled the tempest and won the haven.
    Happy who so hath risen, free above his striving.
    For strangely graven is the orb of life,
    That one and another in gold and power may outpass his brother.
    And men in their millions float and flow
    And seethe with a million hopes as leaven;
    And they win their will, or they miss their will,
    And their hopes are dead or are pined for still;
    But who’er can know, as the long days go
    That to live is happy has found his heaven.
    What else is wisdom?
    What of man’s endeavor
    Or God’s high grace, so lovely and so great?
    To stand from fear set free, to breathe and wait;
    To hold a hand uplifted over hate?

    “During my service in the Senate, I have often been called a Liberal, and it usually was not meant as a compliment. But I remember what my brother {President John F. Kennedy} said about liberalism shortly before he was elected president. He said: ‘If by a Liberal, they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind. Someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions. Someone who cares about the welfare of the people — their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, their civil liberties. Someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and the suspicion that grips us. If that is what they mean by a Liberal, then I am proud to say I am a Liberal’.”
    — Sen. Edward M. Kennedy

    “Along the way, I have learned lessons in the school of life, that we should take issues seriously, but never take ourselves too seriously, that political differences may make us opponents, but should never make us enemies, that battles rage and then quiet. Above all, I have seen throughout my life how we as a people can rise to a challenge, embrace change and renew our destiny.”
    — Sen. Edward M. Kennedy

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