Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Edward M. Kennedy, RIP

The first time I saw him speak was nearly 40 years ago at the University of Wisconsin, where he was heckled by anti-war protestors (he was slow to become a dove and was in the near aftermath of the unfortunate incident in 1969). I remember when he was first appointed to the Senate to take over his older brother's seat at the legally minimum age of 30. Many complained about nepotism and inexperience. Certainly he had many flaws and problems.

However, over the years he overcame them and became the "liberal lion of the Senate," and I am not going to elaborate on his long record, but passing a decent health care reform would be an appropriate act to memorialize his better works. It is funny that I also remember from when he first entered the Senate someone near the family commenting that he was actually the best politician of the family, and that in particular his skills were especially suited to the legislative branch rather than the executive one. As he never made it in the latter, we do not know for sure, but he did indeed become one of the most effective and progressive Senators in history.

1 comment: said...

Just for the record, he was elected to his Senate seat in 1962, not appointed. He replaced a temporary appointee, Ben Smith, who had been put in to finish the term of his brother, JFK.

I learned from listening to a documentary last night that JFK and RFK both opposed Ted running for the seat, and it was their dad, Joseph P. Kennedy, who insisted on him doing it as it was "his turn," this being one of the last things old Joe decisively did before he had his debilitating stroke that ended his active involvement in public or family affairs.