Friday, August 28, 2009

Sen. Edward “Ted” Kennedy

The death of Edward “Ted” Moore Kennedy, the famous liberal senator, has brought both praise and some scorn from across the United States and throughout the world. His passing marks the end of an era during which the Kennedy clan—most notably its three famous brothers: John, Robert and Edward—fascinated a nation and the world beyond it with their ambition, style, idealism and tragedies.

I cannot fathom what drives commentators like journalist/broadcaster Michael Coren to so denigrate the achievements of this man. Without question, it is hard to forgive the man for the part he played in the death of Mary Jo Kopechne—when he virtually got away with manslaughter. And his private life has left much to be desired by one who should have been a role model for his fellow Americans.

However, do his well publicized misdeeds so overshadow decades of worthwhile service in the U.S. Senate that we should dwell almost exclusively on them? I think not.

His legislative legacy includes health insurance for children of the working poor, the landmark 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, family leave and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. He was also key to passage of the No Child Left Behind Education law and a Medicare drug benefit for the elderly, both championed by Republican President George W. Bush.

And although Republicans would open their wallets to fight anything Kennedy stood for, many of them respected and befriended him. To the end, Ted Kennedy remained the Senate’s foremost liberal and one of its legendary dealmakers. He’ll be missed in that august body.

As Democrat Patrick Leahy of Vermont said, “He [Kennedy] really worked at becoming the best senator he possibly could. And he did.”

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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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  1. Leaving aside his 'personal' life (Chappaquiddick, drunken jokes about Chappaquiddick, the Waitress Sandwich, etc.), his work as a senator may not be as great as being remembered. His vicious and lying dismemberment of Robert Bork has to rate as a serious low. But it is his deathbed attempt to reverse the rules he had put in place when there was a GOP governor so the current Dem governor can quickly appoint a -presumably Dem - senator to take his place which rings alarm bells when I hear the glowing tributes.

  2. The man( I use the term loosely) is not responsible for one good act in 40 yrs of drunken service.
    Socialist plain and simple.

  3. I think what turns people off of the Kennedy clan is the fact that they seemed to think themselves above the laws that us peons live by.

    Rob C

  4. The Kennedy era is not over yet, don't forget there is Caroline Kennedy!

    Chortle chortle, guffaw guffaw.

  5. Mary Jo Kopechne was unavailable for comment.