Ted Kennedy Dies at 77


Ted Kennedy has died at age 77, over a year after being diagnosed with malignant cancer of the brain. Kennedy was first elected to the Senate in 1962 at the age of 30–a year before the assassination of his brother. During a Senate career of that length Kennedy has played a part in many issues of the past few decades but he is probably most associated with health care reform.

Kennedy’s endorsement of Barack Obama contributed to Obama’s victory over Hillary Clinton when Clinton was seen as the candidate of the Democratic establishment. This was seen as a symbolic passing of the torch from his brother to Obama. Now it is up to Obama to make the affordable health care which Kennedy had fought for available to all Americans.

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  1. 1
    Tom Degan says:

    “….to speak for those who have no voice; to remember those who are forgotten; to respond to the frustration and fulfill the aspiration of all Americans seeking a better life in a better land….for all those whose cares have been our concern, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dream shall never die.”
    Edward Moore Kennedy, August 12, 1980
    The lion sleeps.
    I’ll never forget the night Ted Kennedy gave that speech at the Democratic National Convention after failing to win his party’s nomination for the presidency. I was staying in a one-room kitchenette in Liverpool, NY, just outside of Syracuse. It was – and remains – the greatest political oration of my lifetime. Watching the event on a small, black and white TV I instinctively knew I was witnessing one of those sublime moments in American history that would be remembered a century into the future.
    Teddy Kennedy died late last night at the age of seventy-seven. In a life that is littered with ironies, here’s the biggest one of all: His three older brothers – Joe, Jack and Bobby – are eternally frozen in our imagination as the personifications of youth. How poignant that our final image of the baby of that family will be as an old man, frail and mortally ill.
    When he first ran for the senate forty-seven years ago, I was all of four years old. Had I been writing about politics then it is a fairly good bet that I would have vehemently opposed the candidacy of Edward Moore Kennedy. Let’s be honest; in 1962 the guy was a lightweight. He ran for the Democratic nomination against another young man, Edward McCormick, whose uncle was the speaker of the House of Representatives. During a debate McCormick told him that were it not for his name, his candidacy would be viewed as a joke. It was a point well made. It is obvious when looking at film of that campaign that our boy Ted is in way over his head.
    Whom among us would have dared dream all those years ago that this punk would one day evolve into the greatest senator ever to walk those halls?
    An incredible realization just came to me: Teddy represented the state of Massachusetts for forty-six years, eight months and nineteen days. That is nearly three months longer than all the years his older brother Jack lived on earth. This truly is the end of an era, folks.
    Tom Degan
    Goshen, N

  2. 2
    Fritz says:

    I was never able to get past Chappaquiddick to have anything but disdain for the man.

  3. 3
    muffler says:

    Sorry that you hold on to the past so tightly and never allowing the man (Who you have never met or known) to redeem himself or his mortal soul.  How nice!
    When you live through 3 brothers passing (War and assassination) by the age of 36 (or so) and it doesn’t drive you to drink and stumble a bit, then I might listen to you.  Don’t judge what you don’t know.

    RIP Teddy!

  4. 4
    battlebob says:

    Chappaquiddick is a convrnient excuse for those who would never support him anyway.
    He went thru a down cycle and passed thru the other side.

  5. 5
    Leslie Parsley says:

    Fritz: Laura Bush killed a lady in an auto accident. I don’t think I heard a thing about it until recently. Hush-hush? We have a pastor of one of those mega churches who axed a women to death while drugged out, but his Baptist (usually a very unforgiving bunch) congregation has apparently forgiven him – it is one wealthy church. The guy is spreading his ignorance and skewed biblical interpretatioins on TV every Sunday morning. He’s been saved, brother.

  6. 6
    Fritz says:

    Leslie — I’m glad the pastor isn’t axing people anymore.  That’s a bad hobby.
    It wasn’t the “got drunk and drove off a bridge when he just wanted a dark quiet backroad” bit that got me.  It was that he left the girl to drown and went to find lawyers instead of help.

  7. 7
    Leslie Parsley says:

    Fritz, my good friend who I love to banter with, when we’re young, drunk, stupid, scared and in shock, do any of us think straight and make good decisions? I’m sure there’s not been a day when he hasn’t suffered over that horrible tragedy. Personally, I have more admiration for him because he did turn a negative into a positive by serving in the senate and writing over 300 bills that were enacted into law (just wrote about this – feeding off of  Degan’s post). He could have turned his tragedy into a money making religious scheme.

  8. 8
    Leslie Parsley says:

    One more thing. Did he leave the poor girl to die or was she already dead? I don’t remember to be honest.

  9. 9
    Fritz says:

    I believe she had air and took a while to die.  Dunno if any help could have gotten to her in time if Kennedy had chosen to go for help instead of lawyers.
    That really set off a lot of people.  It’s not the same as “didn’t support him”.  It’s a much different and visceral reaction.  But he’s dead.  That’s in the past — well, OK, after the next week of tributes.

  10. 10
    Leslie Parsley says:

    Listen to music. Or, you could always put up a blog.

  11. 11
    Fritz says:

    Leslie — I go dancing.  Mostly tango.  Maybe I’ll get some motorcycle riding in this weekend.
    I wonder what kind of health care system will hatch bearing his name.

  12. 12
    Eclectic Radical says:

    ” It was that he left the girl to drown and went to find lawyers instead of help.”
    We’ll never know exactly what happened. Kennedy’s story is that he dove back in several times looking for her. What is known is that he did go back to the party to get help and several more people dove in as well. Then he went home. He did go to get ‘help’, just not qualified professional help.
    In a day before cellphones and 911, going for the professionals was tougher than it is today. He did call the authorities as soon as he had slept off his drunk, so I’m thinking intoxication certainly played a part in his not having called them sooner. Drunk and exhausted and freaked out from the experience, he may not have been in a position to be able to call the authorities.
    “I wonder what kind of health care system will hatch bearing his name.”
    I will go out on a limb and say that it will NOT be the system of universal health care for all that he wanted and worked for all his life.

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