Senator Ted Kennedy, RIP
Ted was the only Kennedy politician I ever knew (the other brothers having died both before their time and before I was born), and I didn’t know nearly as much about him as I probably should have. I was mostly aware of him as a caricature and a punch line — at least until he opposed the Iraq War in 2002. So the obituaries and remembrances that mark his passing today are a chance for me to bone up on some recent history and take a look at the scope of his life and career.
The lengthy, detailed obituary in the New York Times was my first stop this morning. Later in the day I took advantage of the Daily Dish’s roundup of reactions across the Web. I found the short reflection from the Economist particularly insightful. It ends:
Mr Kennedy will never achieve the public sainthood that his brothers achieved. Republicans knew that, especially after he stopped being a presidential threat. That had the effect of allowing conservative activists to underestimate him and allowing conservative senators to work with him. Mr Kennedy found a way to push past his flaws, then use them to his advantage. His brothers furthered the myth that political progress is made by great men at great moments. Mr Kennedy proved that it is often the badly-flawed people, the counted-out people, who really get things done.
Matthew Yglesias points out that his youth at the time he arrived in the Senate was one of those “flaws” that became an advantage.
Have you read anything worth passing on about Senator Kennedy? And what do you remember?