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 includesof 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 .
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.
Asof 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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