Ted Kennedy, 1932-2009


Ted Kennedy died overnight. I wrote about him last week so I won’t repeat that.

A few interesting analysis pieces have been posted online that are worth mentioning.

Time Magazine says he was the Kennedy brother who mattered most.

So when Hubert Humphrey lost to Richard Nixon in the fall, Ted instantly became liberalism’s last, best hope. There were people who thought he lacked Jack’s intellect or Bobby’s passion, that all his life he had merely trawled in their wake. But in his first speech after Bobby’s death, he was already sounding the cry that would be the great theme of his political life: “Like my brothers before me, I pick up a fallen standard. Sustained by the memory of our priceless years together, I shall try to carry forward that special commitment to justice, to excellence, to courage, that distinguished their lives.”

Cal Thomas, the conservative commentator, recalls his friendship despite ideological differences:

It began in 1983 when I received a call from a Washington Post reporter. I was working for the Moral Majority at the time and a computer had spit out a membership card for Sen. Kennedy and then inadvertently sent it to him. The reporter asked if I wanted the card back. “No,” I said. “We don’t believe anyone is beyond redemption. In fact, I hope Sen. Kennedy comes and speaks at Liberty Baptist College (now Liberty University),” the school founded by the late Jerry Falwell.

A few days later, I received a call from Kennedy’s chief of staff. “The senator accepts your invitation.” I was stunned and so was Falwell, but Kennedy came and was well received. He spoke on faith, truth and tolerance and his remarks are as relevant today as they were when he uttered them.

Here’s that speech:

The PBS NewsHour Web site has put together a nice collection of video moments.

No doubt, the airwaves of Minnesota Public Radio will be filled today with such recollections.

  • JohnnyZoom

    Re the speech at Liberty Baptist, Dan Gilgoff at USN&WR’s God & Country column has a small blurb about it.

    Seems Kennedy was “ahead of his time”:

    “[Kennedy] outlined four tests for determining a proper religious role in politics. Almost a quarter-century later, Barack Obama struck a strikingly similar tone in his first major address on religion in politics […]”

    Although it may not be so much him being ahead as the culture moving backwards:

    “Despite all that’s been written and said about Democrats ‘getting religion’ in recent years and about religion in politics entering a post-religious-right era, it’s hard to imagine a liberal Democrat speaking at Liberty University today.”

    Fascinating. And depressing.