Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Edward Moore Kennedy's Death
Several months ago, when we learned that Senator Kennedy had brain cancer, I wrote a short post basically wishing him a speedy recovery. It was apparent, however, that a recovery was not likely. Last night, the news we all knew was inevitable finally arrived; Senator Kennedy had died, closing out a decades-long political career in the US Senate.
Obviously, I disagreed with Senator Kennedy on almost every substantive issue. Over the years, I criticized him on countless occasions. He was an unabashed liberal and fought fiercely for what he believed in. Without question, he was a highly effective senator and will be ranked as one of the most effective and influencial in history.
Unlike his brothers, John and Robert, who used the Senate as a stepping stone, Ted Kennedy found his place in the Senate-the place where he would leave his mark. It probably wasn't the way he wanted it since he admitted at one point that he wanted to be president. Chappaquiddick effectively ended that dream although he still held out hope from time to time that the death of Mary Jo Kopechne would gradually dissipate from the public memory. His later well-publicized marital problems with his first wife, Joan, and her own drinking problems reinforced the public concerns about the Senator's private life. The final result was that Ted Kennedy would never achieve the presidency. In 1980, he challenged a sitting president from his own party (Jimmy Carter), but fizzled especially when he couldn't articulate to an interviewer why he was running.
Yet, in spite of everything, he stayed on in the Senate and became its largest figure over the years, quite an achievement since his first Senate campaign opponent told him in a debate that had his name been Moore instead of Kennedy, his candidacy would be a joke.
However, over the years, Kennedy grew into a presence in the Senate that was not a joke. Whether you agreed with his policies and ideology, you must acknowledge that he was a giant who truly fought for what he believed in.
Rest in peace, Senator Kennedy and condolences to the Kennedy family.