EDITORIAL: ‘No One Had To Make The Call’

Sen. Ted Kennedy

Sen. Ted Kennedy

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, the “liberal lion” of the U.S. Senate and the head of America’s iconic political family, died late last night at his home in Hyannis Port, Mass. He was 77.

Sen. Kennedy was diagnosed with brain cancer in May 2008.

“Ted Kennedy was an iconic, larger than life United States senator whose influence cannot be overstated,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R.-Utah. “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.”

Hatch, a conservative whose politics generally clashed with Kennedy’s, defined Kennedy as a “treasured friend,” demonstrating that one can cherish principled opponents even if the philosophical divide cannot always be bridged.

Former First Lady Nancy Reagan, the wife of America’s late conservative icon, said she deeply admired Sen. Kennedy.

“Given our political differences, people are sometimes surprised by how close Ronnie and I have been to the Kennedy family,” Reagan said. “But Ronnie and Ted could always find common ground, and they had great respect for one another.”

Sen. Kennedy wore more pain for more people than perhaps any other American political figure. An enormously wealthy man, Kennedy was dismissed as a limousine liberal by some critics. It was shallow criticism, of course, because it implied that people of means cannot have legitimate thoughts and feelings and seek careers in public service only owing to guilt over having more money than others.

And Sen. Kennedy wore his own pain. He was the brother of an assassinated president and the brother of an assassinated presidential candidate. He lost a brother during World War II to a plane explosion and a sister in a plane crash in 1948. Kennedy also lost a nephew to drug addiction, a nephew to a ski accident and a nephew to a plane crash.

Sen. Kennedy himself nearly was killed in a plane crash in 1964.

On the subject of pain, Sen. Kennedy also caused plenty of it, including pain to himself when he was caught paying a fellow student to take a Spanish exam for him at Harvard in 1951. He got booted out and joined the Army. Harvard readmitted him two years later. Kennedy graduated in 1956 and went on to earn a law degree at the University of Virginia.

Few obituaries today will not mention Mary Jo Kopechne. Kennedy drove his car off a bridge in 1969. Kopechne drowned. The senator called aides but waited hours to call police, which led to questions about whether he was drunk behind the wheel and being unfaithful to his wife.

Kennedy said he was not drunk and not involved in immoral conduct with Kopechne. He pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident after causing injury.

Sen. Kennedy lived his life. He was real. He never spent a day when his life was not at risk, being the “third brother.” His closest friends defined him by his heart. Sen. Kennedy showed up when people were hurting.

No one had to make the call, which is why even his philosophical opponents and tens of millions of Americans who disagreed with Sen. Kennedy on many of the important issues mourn today.

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16 Responses to “EDITORIAL: ‘No One Had To Make The Call’”

  1. While it is sad that Ted Kennedy dies, what is even more sad is that it will leave few who are capable of filling his shoes when it comes to viable and productive legislation. He will be missed.

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  2. This is where is starts and stops with me:

    He had no respect for the life of Mary Jo Kopechne.

    How could he respect the life of American Citizens?

    It was all a show for himself.

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  3. May he rest in peace. Personally I think the Senate would better serve the public if it did not have people in it for 26 years. Corruption is not a foreign word to that family. It is debatable whether this country is better off for having the Kennedy’s in politics.

    Alert: watch for the left to politicize his death as a way to get the disatrous health care bill passed…just like they used Sen. Paul Wellstone’s memorial as a campaign rally. And yet if that very health care bill as written passes any regular Joe of Kennedy’s age but not his political stature would have been denied treatment in the name of saving money for more productive, younger people.

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  4. It really is a sad commentary of our political system that it takes a ‘death’ to finally remove a politician from office. Senator Kennedy was in power way, way, way too long, since 1962, almost five-full decades. This is totally unacceptable. It is no different than a dictator who is in power for life.

    If politicians don’t have the will to limit their own terms, we need to introduce term limits for Senators and Representatives; just like we have term limits for the President.

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  5. We have lost a politician, known and respected throughout the world, in spite of the personal scandals surrounding his life. As an “elder statesman” his loss will leave a gap in american politics.

    It is a very sad commenatry on the “american way of life” that some posters here have used his death as an excuse to make political capital – something the former First Lady, Nancy Reagan did not feel necessary to do.

    Don’t they say that if you cant speak well of the dead, it’s best to say nothing at the wake?

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  6. One need only look back to the death of Sen. Jesse Helms or former President Ronald Reagan to see how the left does not practice what they preach. They wasted no time using Kennedy’s death for their own political gain by attaching it to HR3200. Now when they are confronted for doing so they suddenly have scruples, don’t speak ill of the dead, a practice they are unwilling to abide by themselves, as is evidenced by their actions when Sen. Helms died.

    Here is a little info on recent actions of Sen. Kennedy. Back in 2004 when the Dems thought Kerry was going to win the presidency, Kennedy asked the Mass. legislature to change the law, disallowing the current governor (Republican, Mitt Romney) from naming Kerry’s (a democvrat) replacement. THe law was changed to require an election to fill the seat. Last week Kennedy asked the state legislature to change the law again, this time allowing the governor to name his replacement, why? Because the governor is now a democrat and the Senate Dems don’t want to lose their 60 seat majority.

    To think they are about anything more than power is naivette or hypocracy. Why are Republicans demanded to resign when their marital infidelities are made known but when it happens to a liberal like Kennedy (or Clinton)they are glossed over? The answer is easy. The liberal media is forgiving of any wrongdoing committed by a liberal Congressman as long as they use government to take money from people who work and give it to people who don’t work. It is sad to say, especially at such a time, but the liberals use the death of their own and others to further their agenda and it must be confronted even if it is contraversial.

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  7. Oh and lest we forget just what happened that sad night…

    Late in the evening of July 18, 1969, Senator Kennedy drove away from a party on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. A campaign worker, Mary Jo Kopechne, was his passenger. Kennedy was supposedly heading for the ferry to the mainland, but instead he turned onto a dirt road which led to a small bridge across a pond. His car went over the side and crashed into the water, which was just deep enough to submerge the car. (See the photo above, which shows the police chief sitting atop the vehicle.) Kennedy struggled out and returned to the party site, telling two men there what had happened. All three then returned to the bridge, but they accomplished nothing. Kennedy then went to the site of the ferry crossing and swam back to his hotel, having missed the last ferry of the night. Nobody called the police. The next morning, a passerby noticed the sunken car and called the authorities. A diver found the body of Mary Jo Kopechne inside. Meanwhile, Kennedy was on the phone to his lawyers, who swung into action. The court records of the subsequent legal charges were sealed, which is unprecedented in situations like this. Kennedy pleaded guilty to the charge of leaving the scene of an accident, and received a 2-month sentence, which was suspended. He returned to the Senate with broad sympathy and acclaim.

    Hey, for Pete’s sake the man just died. Do you have no decency? Like the decency he showed Mary Jo Kupechne? I have no problem with paying a man his do respects but the media is making him larger in death than he was in life…all because he was a liberal just like them. So let’s just tell the truth.

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  8. Sorry, I should give credit for the portion of my post (about the car crash) copied from the website of Tammy Bruce, http://tammybruce.com/

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  9. Well, as a non american, it is pretty revolting to see people trashing an Obituary that was posted by the Blog’s owner. There are times when the american fanatical adhesion to the rights of Freedom of Speech, omit to remember the option of Freedom to remain silent in other people’s houses

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  10. alasycia: Well, as a non american, it is pretty revolting to see people trashing an Obituary that was posted by the Blog’s owner. There are times when the american fanatical adhesion to the rights of Freedom of Speech, omit to remember the option of Freedom to remain silent in other people’s houses

    Hear-bloody-hear,

    What was it that Aretha Franklin called for ??? Oh, yes

    R – E – S – P – E – C – T

    Seems that her words fell on deaf ears, at least in the US.

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  11. alasycia,

    I love your views and I have to say the particular comments I have scribed below are somewhat confusing to me.

    You commented: “Well, as a non american, it is pretty revolting to see people trashing an Obituary that was posted by the Blog’s owner.”

    You also commented: “It is a very sad commentary on the “american way of life”…

    Perhaps one could perceive these comments as leaning towards a political statement of separation.

    So my question to you is:

    1. Is it not revolting or sad if this happens outside of USA confines?

    Peace be with you Sister

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  12. It is pretty revolting whereever it happens. However, as this happens to be an American politician and the comments lacking in respect for the Obituary were posted by US citizens and seemed politically motivated – thus my comments.

    Over here in darkest Europe, maybe we have a different idea of how to use our Freedom of Speech, and we tend not to be so tolerant of the extremes that we see coming out of the US which depends so heavily on that Freedom.

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  13. alasycia: It is pretty revolting whereever it happens.However, as this happens tobe an American politician and the comments lacking in respect for the Obituary were posted by US citizens and seemed politically motivated – thus my comments.Over here in darkest Europe, maybe we have a different idea of how to use our Freedom of Speech, and we tend not to be so tolerant of the extremes that we see coming out of the US which depends so heavily on that Freedom.

    alasycia,

    Thanks for the reply.

    Just wanted to confirm that your reference to Americans was not a sub-conscious slip in the name of gaining political capital.

    Glad you cleared that up.

    Peace to you Sister

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  14. The title of the article says “Editorial” not obituary. This is the world of commentary, we are not at the wake. Your scruples are misplaced. And you are ignoring the one thing you cannot defend which is that liberals are using his death for their own political gain within 24 hours proposing to rename HR3200 the Kennedy bill. It is totally appropriate in the death of a famous man for the world of commentary to discuss the positive and negative aspects of his life.

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  15. St M. I can read. Whatever you think. No further comment

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  16. That is probably a good idea since the ratings are in now and more Americans watched America’s Got Talent than the Kennedy coverage. Actually the same amount of people watched a rerun of “Bones” as the Kennedy coverage. (that 28 million people were watching network tv at all last night is definitely a sad commentary on America).

    In addition to that Glen Beck took the top cable rating spot with his interview with Rush Limgaugh. And Michelle Malkins book “Culture of Corruption” made it to #1 on the NYT best seller list. Yes I guess it’s time to drop it.

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