The Lion of the Senate has passed on.  Edward Moore Kennedy died late August 25, 2009.  Senator Kennedy was the second most senior member of the senate.  He was 77.

Senator Kennedy, fondly known as Teddy or Ted, saw both triumph and tragedy in his life. His oldest brother died in WWII. Both of his other brothers were assassinated. He was involved in a plane accident that nearly took his life and an automobile accident that took someone else’s life and destroyed any chances he might have had to become president.

Kennedy was one of the most effective lawmakers in the history of the senate. He was a champion of health care issues for many years and he fought for women’s rights, health issues particular to women and against violence towards women. He worked continually for education. Despite growing up in a priviledged home, he always strove to pass legislation that helped those less fortunate.

The senior stateman from Massachusetts electrified the Democratic Convention a year ago, August 25, 2008 when he made a surprise appearance.  His niece, Caroline Kennedy assisted him. 

Echoing his speech to the Democratic Convention as an unsuccessful candidate for president in 1980, Kennedy concluded: “The work begins anew. The hope arises again. And the dream lives on.”


Senator Kennedy’s life was not without controversy. Please remember that this post is a tribute to one who served his country for nearly a half century.

Additional Reading:

Washington Post


Washington Times 8/27/09

42 Thoughts to “Tribute to Senator Edward M. Kennedy 2/22/1932–8/25/2009”

  1. This is another real moment in history that makes you step back and think about the Kennedy legacy. What are we left with, and what can we make of it?

    I am glad Sen. Kennedy can now rest in peace without pain. His illness was truly terrible.

  2. Elena

    Thank you M-H, a wonderful post.

    by Orrin Hatch:

    WASHINGTON — Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) made the following statement today upon learning of the death of Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA).

    “Today America lost a great elder statesman, a committed public servant, and leader of the Senate. And today I lost a treasured friend.

    “Ted Kennedy was an iconic, larger than life United States Senator whose influence cannot be overstated. Many have come before, and many will come after, but Ted Kennedy’s name will always be remembered as someone who lived and breathed the United States Senate and the work completed within its chamber.

    “When I first came to the United States Senate I was filled with conservative fire in my belly and an itch to take on any and everyone who stood in my way, including Ted Kennedy. As I began working within the confines of my office I soon found out that while we almost always disagreed on most issues, once in a while we could actually get together and find the common ground, which is essential in passing legislation.

    “For almost two decades we alternated as Chairman and Ranking Members of the Senate Labor Committee, now called the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. During this time we were able to come together in a bipartisan fashion to craft some of this nation’s most important health legislation.

    “In the current climate of today’s United States Senate it is rare to find opportunities where both sides can come together and work in the middle to craft a solution for our country’s problems. Ted Kennedy, with all of his ideological verbosity and idealism was a rare person who at times could put aside differences and look for common solutions. Not many ever got to see that side of him, but as peers and colleagues we were able to share some of those moments.

  3. Elena

    I feel great sadness for the Kennedy family. Ted Kennedy has been the acting patriarch for this family since the death of both elder brothers. He walked his nieces down the aisle for their weddings, he is not just a loss to an old way of doing politics, his loss is overwhelming for his family. Last week Eunice Kennedy Shriver, today Ted Kennedy.

  4. Leila

    Thank you Elena for posting Hatch’s remarks. Kennedy’s ability to work in a bipartisan way was legendary. I just feel so saddened by this. He was a powerful champion of a lot of things I believe in deeply. His influence went beyond our country as well and beyond the issues he was best known for. I was just now listening to the anchors on CNN talk to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair on the key role played by Ted Kennedy in the peace negotiations in Northern Ireland and the Good Friday agreement.

  5. Rick Bentley

    I feel strongly enough about this that I’m going to violate the maxim “don’t speak ill of the dead”. My feelings on Kennedy tie in strongly to my feelings on the illegal immigration issue, and to much of the dialogue on this board.

    Edward Kennedy was not in my opinion someone that we should celebrate. He represents, to me, the archetype of the out-of-touch elitist who uses the “little people”‘s money to self-aggrandize and to play out his personal pathologies.

    On top of that, his actual acheivements are minimal. I’m not sure that the liberalism he espouses has made America better in any way.

    The welfare system has created an American underclass that feels entitled, and promoted absentee fatherism in the African-American community which has widened the racial acheivement gap. Given that his family championed the welfare system, and given that Edward kennedy himself championed it, he owed it to America to examine this fact, acknowledge it, and work towards addressing it. No such luck. He regarded this “achievement” as static and immutable and fought to preserve it. The whole Democratic party is intellectually dishonorable on this issue; Kennedy personifies it.

    Bipartisan champion? More like an Alpha male strutting around an old boys’ club back-slapping with a bunch of millionaires.

    It has to be said that when a woman was drowning, Kennedy didn’t try to save her. That may be forgivable, but the aftermath where he kept the incident quiet for many hours while his family figured out how to spin things, is not.

    To renain a thriving and strong nation, we need citizen government. We don’t need testosterone-addled peacocks who combine their instincts towards charity with family self-promotion and conflate it all into some personalized view of what America could be or should look like, as seen through a penthouse window.

    Ted Kennedy made America a weaker place. May he rest in peace but I don’t see that he ever did much for his country. He’s exactly what we don’t need – a foremost example of what’s wrong with American politics, and how flawed this system is. The bottom line is that this man thrived on inherited wealth, never earned anything, and used that wealth and noteriety as a platform to self-aggrandize and to moralize while remaining – most Americans would agree – well out of touch with the reality most of our citizens live in.

  6. Poor Richard

    “Where else but in Gothic fiction” Clare Booth Luce wrote of
    the Kennedy clan, “where else among real people could one encounter
    such beauty and charm and ambition and pride and human wreckage,
    such dedication to the best and lapses into the mire of life;
    such vulgar, noble, driven, generous, self-centered, loving,
    suspicious, devious, honorable, vulnerable and indomitable people?”

  7. Rick Bentley

    A lot of places. But not everyone has the fortune to be born rich because their father made a fortune bootlegging liquor.

  8. Moon-howler

    trib·ute (trbyt)
    1. A gift, payment, declaration, or other acknowledgment of gratitude, respect, or admiration: put up a plaque as a tribute to his generosity.
    2. Evidence attesting to some praiseworthy quality or characteristic:

    Today is a tribute. Please set partisan politics aside for the day. The man just died.

  9. Mando

    Well put Rick.

  10. Elena

    Accomplishments of Ted Kennedy:

    Kennedy was the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. Due to his long history and influence in the legislature, he became known as “The Lion of the Senate”. More than 300 bills that Kennedy wrote have been enacted into law, and he was known for his ability to work with Republicans and to find compromises among Senate members with disparate views. Kennedy played a major role in passing many pieces of legislation that have affected the lives of all Americans, including the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, the National Cancer Act of 1971, the Federal Election Campaign Act Amendments of 1974, the COBRA Act of 1985, the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Ryan White AIDS Care Act in 1990, the Civil Rights Act of 1991, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, the Mental Health Parity Act in 1996 and 2008, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program in 1997, the No Child Left Behind Act in 2002, and the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act in 2009. During the 2000s, he was a leader of several failed efforts at immigration reform

  11. Leila

    I’m sure that is just an abbreviated list.

    Just for COBRA and HIPAA alone, I would be grateful to him. I have known many people who have lost their jobs this past year in layoffs. The above two pieces of legislation are crucial. They could be life and death to any of us. But then again to use COBRA you have to have had the health insurance in the first place. That is what Ted Kennedy has fought for decades for. I hope his dream doesn’t die with him. Just talk to a person facing cancer or another disease who doesn’t have health insurance and isn’t poor enough to qualify for Medicaid or old enough to qualify for Medicare.

  12. Moon-howler

    Thanks Elena and Leila for listing the many accomplishments of Senator Kennedy. I had an addition to this post and got side-tracked with family issues.

    His work towards universal health care, which he saw as a basic right, not a privilege, began back during the Nixon years. He has said one of his regrets is not going along with the Nixon plan. (something is better than nothing I suppose) Those who oppose any changes in health care simply have never lost theirs nor have had a catastrophic illness that allowed the flaws in their plan to manefest.

    ***I have taken down several comments. In fact, any that were hateful since my last post. The red print and the post were the warning. I did censor and without apology. ****

  13. Leila

    M-H, maybe there could be an open thread and those comments could be there if you don’t want them here. I do want to see the comments, and possibly reply to them. I don’t even feel I should reply to Rick in this setting because of what you said about tribute.

    I have no problem making the tribute. I mentioned earlier that I heard Tony Blair speak on Kennedy, live. A few minutes later Bertie Ahearn, former Taoiseach (equiv to PM) of Ireland also was live on CNN. He knew Kennedy well and his talk on Kennedy’s role over many years in the Northern Ireland peace process was even more heartfelt.

  14. Leila

    Correction: Ahern

  15. Poor Richard

    A leader dies and the Hounds of Hate howl with glee.
    Their vileness is a tribute to the greatness of the man.
    We are known by our friends AND our foes.

  16. Moon-howler

    I will do that tomorrow. Today, I just want to give the poor man a rest.

    Feel free to respond, Leila. I think that is only fair.

    What I didn’t want was to provide a dumping ground for why every Republican in the world hates the senator. I was told that a Republican office seeker in PWC had requested that his friends and political cohorts refrain from putting up negative remarks on his face book wall for today, out of respect. Good for this Republican. He stepped up to the plate and showed class and good manners and put them above politics.

  17. Moon-howler

    Thanks Poor Richard. The Hounds of Hate are going to have to find another howling spot today. I sat up way too late to be very tolerant. I would say the same thing about anyone. If I hated someone that much, I wouldn’t do a tribute to them.

  18. Juturna

    I am a believer in the famous often misquoted/attributed saying
    ” [in a democracy] people get the government they deserve” Whether these are the words of Alexis de Tocqueville or Jefferson or Shakespeare – for a brief period, the average American did get the government they deserved from Sen. Kennedy.

    I pray we find it again.

  19. Juturna

    Jean Kennedy Smith was a major player in the efforts to bring quiet to Northern Ireland. Sen Kennedy knew she had the ability, he offered it to Clinton. Not disputing his work, just making sure the credit goes to the right person!

  20. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    I’ve been watching this thread all day and thinking “my tribute will be keeping my yap shut.” But after hearing some fond recollections from his co-workers on both sides of the aisle, I think I can say he obviously had a magnetic personality and his colleagues certainly thought highly of him.

  21. Moon-howler

    I agree Slowpoke. I was never one who was in awe of the Kennedy family. However, over the years, I have grown to respect Kennedy. I have learned so much since his death, just doing this thread and watching TV. Maybe the song should be ‘Teddy we hardly knew ya.’

    I met Teddy Kennedy once, informally. I was tongue tied and thanked him for his work with women’s rights and health issues., He was very humble, almost shy. We shook hands. I thought of that happenstance while researching for this post. I won’t forget it.

    Tonight CNN will air Kennedy: In His Own Words @ 7 PM EDT. It is an HBO presentation.

  22. Moon-howler

    Juturna, isn’t Jean Kennedy Smith the only survivor of the 9 Kennedy children?

    Slow, I also meant to say thanks to you.

  23. Leila

    Juturna, the Irish leader Bertie Ahern mentioned Jean Kennedy Smith’s role in the peace process for NI too. She was ambassador to Ireland I think. But he and others have made it clear her brother had no less a role.

    I was also intrigued by this because TK had given a very firey speech that demonstrated his nationalist sympathies, desire for a united Ireland, etc. some years before. Unlike Blair, Ahern made it clear that he didn’t think Kennedy ever abandoned those views, yet he worked very hard for the peace.

  24. Leila

    Maybe I should have said Republican sympathies, but that might have confused things here 😉

  25. janie hart

    Of all the Kennedy brothers, he turned out to be the best. Thank God for all he did for this country. May he rest in peace and may his family be proud of him

  26. Moon-howler

    Actually the show is Teddy: In His Own Words

    Wonderful photographs and home movies of the legacy.

    It started 5 minutes early for some strange reason. There is another show at 9 pm about Teddy.

    I see Teddy’s death as the end of an era.

  27. Poor Richard

    “I often ask Senators which of their colleagues they admire the
    most and I get a number of answers (Dick Lugar’s name comes up
    a lot). Then I ask who is best at the craft of legislating.
    Regardless of party, only one name comes up – Ted Kennedy”
    David Brooks
    NYT 8-26-2009
    He was from the most charismatic family in American politics,
    but he learned the often boring committee room skills that got
    things done to help the most needy of our fellow citizens.
    A flawed individual, but a great caring one.

  28. Moon-howler

    The respect and admiration shown to Senator Kennedy today by the great people of our time in real time and on film trivialize the small, petty political remarks some of our citizens repeat. They will not longer bother me when I hear them after today. They have become meaningless.

  29. Marie

    Along with COBRA and HIPAA let’s not forget the American’s With Disability’s Act. Even though Ted Kennedy was a man of privilege, he never forgot those who were not.

  30. Elena

    Stop making me like you, its irritating me 😉

    Slowpoke Rodriguez :I’ve been watching this thread all day and thinking “my tribute will be keeping my yap shut.” But after hearing some fond recollections from his co-workers on both sides of the aisle, I think I can say he obviously had a magnetic personality and his colleagues certainly thought highly of him.

  31. Moon-howler

    Elena, the new Slowpoke? Tell me it isn’t true!

  32. Rick Bentley

    How about a thread to talk about Chappaquidick? It’s an interesting topic.

  33. Mando

    See Rick, if you believed in an afterlife you could get some satisfaction out of good old Teddy being reunited with Ms. Kopechne.

  34. Moon-howler

    Why do you want that Rick? You weren’t there. I wasn’t there. No one knows exactly what happened. And I am going to ask that one awful question…at what age do women start assuming responsibility for their own behavior like getting into the car with drunk drivers? Is 28 old enough?

    The further I get from 60’s thinking which were still very paternalist about females, the more I re-adjust my thinking on this subject.

  35. Moon-howler

    Rick, remind me after the funeral, and I will consider it. Meanwhile, RIP Lion.

  36. Mando

    “No one knows exactly what happened.”

    What’s there to know? According to his own and others testimony, he didn’t report it until the following day. She could have very well been saved had he alerted authorities ASAP which he had ample opportunity to do but chose not to.

  37. kelly3406

    When are you starting a new thread in which Kennedy’s true legacy can be discussed without imposing the requirement that it be a tribute?

  38. kelly3406

    Mando :
    See Rick, if you believed in an afterlife you could get some satisfaction out of good old Teddy being reunited with Ms. Kopechne.

    I am not sure that it is reasonable to expect that Ms Kopechne and Kennedy will reach the same destination in the afterlife.

  39. Moon-howler

    Guys, let me put this as bluntly as I know how-I am not going to provide you with a Right Wing dumping ground so you can trash someone who has just died, regardless of party affiliation.

    One of my unfavorite people in life was the Reverend Jerry Falwell. However, when he died, I mustered up something decent to say about him. If I couldn’t find something decent to say, I kept quiet, like St. Slowpoke did.

    Here it goes, if you can’t be respectful of him, it goes into moderation. It’s just good manners. No one is requiring you to comment.

    Email Greg and see if he will provide you a dumping ground. He likes that sort of thing.

    Now..everyone understands…what it comes downto is if it isn’t respectful, it goes, and I am the judge.

  40. Mando

    I don’t despise him because he’s a lefty.

  41. Moon-howler

    Mando, during my lifetime I have had all sorts of different feelings about him. The more I have learned about him, the more I respect him. Now, having said that, I really give his wife Vicki the credit for my softening on him.

    I am a moderate though. Remember, we hop all over the political spectrum.

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