Paging through Adam Clymer’s biography, I came across these tidbits:
I won’t yield to anyone about guns in our society. I know enough about it.” (During his 1994 debate with challenger Mitt Romney.)
I wish I had been more aggressive and more active in ending the war sooner. (When asked in an October 1994 what he was least proud of in his career as a Senator.)
If you want to get things done in the Senate, you can’t afford to be personal. (To the Times’ Robin Toner on July 16, 1999, just after he lost another battle for the patients’ bill of rights.)
And this is Clymer’s concluding paragraph:
He deserves recognition not just as the leading Senator of his time, but as one of the greats in its history, wise in the workings of this singular institution, especially its demand to be more than partisan to accomplish much. Of all his legislative accomplishments, only the minimum-wage bills were passed without Republican help early on. A son of privilege, he has always identified with the poor and the oppressed. The deaths and tragedies around him would have led others to withdraw. He never quits, but sails against the wind.
Update: Gary Langer runs down Kennedy’s polling numbers.