Ted Kennedy

by John Sides on August 26, 2009 · 2 comments

in Legislative Politics

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.

Here is an audio clip of Kennedy’s speech at the 1980 Democratic National Convention. Here are various New Yorker articles.

Update: Gary Langer runs down Kennedy’s polling numbers.


wagonjak August 26, 2009 at 2:41 pm


The one thing our pathetic, posturing politicians can do to honor the memory of Edward Kennedy is to PASS A HEALTH CARE BILL WITH A STRONG PUBLIC OPTION!!!!

All the rest is hypocritical bullshit!

C’mon Senators and Representatives, step up and push this through NOW!!!!!

LFC August 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm

Kennedy’s speech at the 1980 convention is one of the great political speeches of the second half of the twentieth century. Some of the credit for it should go to Robert Shrum, who, as I recall, wrote it.

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