What were Ted Kennedy's strengths and weaknesses as a national political leader, a congressional leader, a world leader?
LeePefley1: I owe a great deal to the Kennedies - they inspired me to become the right-wing extremist that I am. ...
allset707: Ted Kennedy was a politician with clout. Not everybody, no matter who they are had or have the political clout of the Kennedys. Interestin...
eclvvin: So much of Senator Edward Kennedy's “The Dream Shall Never Die” speech is relevant now. It makes me sad that so many Americans do not know h...
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Ted Kennedy was a morally corrupt man who did a fairly good job as senator. He tried to pin the car accident on his staffer, until he realized that he would end up in jail by pursuing that line. He was a public drunk. He partied with his underage nephew. Don't deify the man. He isn't worth it.
August 27, 2009 11:59 AM | Report Offensive Comments
Mr. Bradlee and Mr. Pearlstein,
I have been shocked to read some of the comments posted on WaPO with articles of Sen. Kennedy's death.
I wonder if the posters can comprehend the Kennedy family sacrifice of 2 assasinations.
The partisan cruelty leaves me with little hope for our society. Have we become a nation incapable of understanding and lacking any empathy for others?
Senator Kennedy admitted his failings, I think part of today's problems stem from the prior administrations inability to admit mistakes, and dangerous bravado. Many in our nation now accept torture and aggression as revenge.
I believe laws keep us safe and torture undermines law.
August 27, 2009 12:04 PM | Report Offensive Comments
The end of an era.
I loved Jack, I adored Bobby.
I think Ted would have been a politically different person had his brothers lived to a senior age.
Condolences to the Kennedy family.
Condolences to the Kopechne family.
August 27, 2009 1:24 PM | Report Offensive Comments
Of course I was sick of this man when he slipped out of that sinking car and didn't even try to save Mary Lou. Then he didn't tell any one about it until that following morning when he was found out. Later (1984) I was sitting right in back of him and some girlfriend on the 9 pm Panam Shuttle from DC to Laguardia. The sex jokes were immature and non-stop. Then in the airport he walked as close to the dark walls trying to hide. Again I had this feeling of sickness about that character. In my book we haven't lost anyting.
August 27, 2009 1:32 PM | Report Offensive Comments
August 27, 2009 1:34 PM | Report Offensive Comments
"I hope for an America where the power of faith will always burn brightly, but where no modern inquisition of any kind will ever light the fires of fear, coercion, or angry division."
Funny how we ended up with lots of all three with the current leadership.
August 27, 2009 3:27 PM | Report Offensive Comments
I think he was very human. Little brothers aren't usually the leaders, they're the negotiators and the peacemakers.
Once he failed at all the things he was supposed to do then excelled at what he was good at -working with different people, finding middle ground while furthering his own ideals.
Rest in Peace.
August 27, 2009 8:45 PM | Report Offensive Comments
That the people with the money make the rules just as it always was,,next ,,you can drink a lot of years and still get old,,dont do a lot of drugs
August 31, 2009 8:19 AM | Report Offensive Comments
EMK developed into an enigmatic person. As a human being with many faults, some justified many not, he apparently had turned his life around for the better thanks mostly to Victoria. She did the lords work there. But his conlict with Catholicism on abortion approriately scarred him for life with many. As a politico, I find no fault with his partisan efforts - achieving political victory should be a constant goal. I agreed with very little of his philosophy in this regard but nonetheless admire his efforts.
August 31, 2009 9:05 AM | Report Offensive Comments
What I learned from Ted?
1. If you have the money, power and influence you can;
c. get drunk,
d. cheat on your wife and of course
e. committ murder.
These lessons were also well learned by it would seem the last two presidents, most members of congress and a host of others.
The last three presidents and the current one have also taught me that taking drugs, drinking and selling out the office are all ok.
On that note I am going fishing.
August 31, 2009 9:15 AM | Report Offensive Comments
Resiliency. That a life should not be measured for success by the fewest number of stumbles or falls made, but the number of times one manages to get up after a setback, dust oneself off, and find the correct path to get on.
August 31, 2009 9:38 AM | Report Offensive Comments
I'll never understand how the voters in Massachusetts could have consistently voteed this drunk into office.
He was dishonest and only looked out for himself and his family.
I can only believe it was because he was Irish.
August 31, 2009 12:01 PM | Report Offensive Comments
As an English poster perhaps I have no right to comment on 'what kind of a leader' Ted Kennedy was, but I have the right to judge him as a man. In my view, no-one can ever rise above the unmitigated cowardice of having left a girl to die so horribly in that car at Chapaquidick. And nor can he be forgiven for his central role in the raising of funds for the terrorist IRA organisation that delighted in murdering British men, women and children. It took 9/11 for him to realise what terrorism was all about. That he got to be buried in Arlington, despite his military service, is a sick joke.
R.I.P. Mary Jo Kopechne.
August 31, 2009 12:51 PM | Report Offensive Comments
It seems that Senator Kennedy's main strength was an ability to work together with others in the Senate to pass legislation. By no stretch of the imagination can a Senator be considered a world leader.
With all due respect and condolences to the Senator's family it must be noted that he drank far too much, was responsible for the death of a young staffer and was often, on the floor of the Senate, amazingly vituperative. I'll have to pass on accolades and remember him as a tragic figure in our nation's history.
August 31, 2009 1:11 PM | Report Offensive Comments
Had it not been for a sickness among the potatoes of Ireland, America would have been spared a half-century or more of social upheaval. The Kennedy family arrived in America with a hatred of all things WASP embedded in their DNA and political power in their hands was ruthlessly used in an ongoing effort to undermine and destroy the culture and institutions of Anglo-Saxon America. Brother Jack took us into the morass of Vietnam, while Bobby, using empty but eloquent rethoric stirred justifiable griveances within minority communities to eventual violence in the cities because the actions of his brother's administration failed to match the soaring retoric.
Brother Ted will long be remembered for his ardent support of the Hart-Cellar immigration bill of 1965 when he infamously declared on the floor of the US Senate
""First, our cities will not be flooded with a million immigrants annually. Under the proposed bill, the present level of immigration remains substantially the same ... Secondly, the ethnic mix of this country will not be upset ... Contrary to the charges in some quarters, [the bill] will not inundate America with immigrants from any one country or area, or the most populated and deprived nations of Africa and Asia ... In the final analysis, the ethnic pattern of immigration under the proposed measure is not expected to change as sharply as the critics seem to think."
August 31, 2009 1:18 PM | Report Offensive Comments
That no matter how disgusting, immoral, dishonest, vulgar, drunken, misogynist, weak, cruel and pathetic a man is, all he has to do is say he is a liberal, and the retarded liberals of the country will love him forever.
August 31, 2009 1:29 PM | Report Offensive Comments
My condolences to the Kennedy family. Senator Kennedy had the opportunity to amend his life, after he realized what his life had become.
As for those bloggers spreading their venom regarding the family, how many of your immediate family members have given up their life for our country, they can count three which is 1/3rd of the children. Another member, Eunice Shriver has forever changed the lives of so many intellectually disabled individuals throughout the world.
It never ceases to amaze me how ugly and venomous some people can be.
August 31, 2009 1:38 PM | Report Offensive Comments
As an English poster perhaps I have no right to comment on Kennedy as 'leader'. but I have the right to judge him as a man. In my view, no-one can rise above the unmitigated cowardice of having left a girl to die so horribly in that car at Chapaquidick. And nor can he be forgiven for his central role in the raising of funds for the terrorist IRA organisation that delighted in murdering British men, women and children. It took 9/11 for him to realise what terrorism was all about. That he was buried in Arlington Cemetary, despite his military service, is a sick joke.
R.I.P. Mary Jo Kopechne.
August 31, 2009 2:03 PM | Report Offensive Comments
The comments posted here tend to reflect the political views of Americans. If you are lib/left you are sympathetic. If you are from the Right you hate his guts.
As a Canadian, I do not respect many US political leaders- except the likes of Jimmy Carter, Ron Paul. They tend to be ignorant, petty, unworldly, hateful, and vendictive (look at all the attack ads you guys have)! Ever since I read Paul Findlay's "They Dare to Speak Out", I realized how cowardly most American politicians are!
Still, Kennedy was better than most. He was more honest in standing up for the little guy, opposing racism & discrimination, pushing peace than war, etc.
I think his 'Irishness' made him aware of prejudice and discrimination. That pushed him and his brothers to not only work hard but also to work smart and be conniving.
His father, Joseph Patrick, was of course the inspiration for all this. He, in one generation, took his mid-class Irish family and made it one of the richest and powerful in Anglo/Jewish dominated America. Sure, he broke the rules and played dirty at times, but name me a rich American who hasn't? The Jay Goulds, Jay Cooks, Cornelius Vanderbuilts, Bill Gates, etc. all had to break some rules to get ahead.
Ted was another inspiration to us minorities out of the loop that by hook or crook- hard work combined with some streetsmarts- we can all do well. Sure, Ted Kennedy wasn't perfect, but most US senators are either ideological fanatics who are unrealistic or corporate-owned prostitutes. Ted Kennedy was neither, he was just a good senator!
August 31, 2009 2:37 PM | Report Offensive Comments
My condolences to the Senator's family. I think he served our country in his later years.
What did I learn from him? If you have enough money and power, you can get away with murder.
August 31, 2009 2:55 PM | Report Offensive Comments
You can leave a woman to suffer a slow, agonizing death, pay off her family, and be lionized after you die if you have the right family and a great deal of money.
August 31, 2009 2:57 PM | Report Offensive Comments
"As for those bloggers spreading their venom regarding the family, how many of your immediate family members have given up their life for our country, they can count three which is 1/3rd of the children."
If speaking of sons, actually, the Kennedy's can count 4--Joe gave his life for our country, and was perhaps the noblest of all the brothers.
August 31, 2009 3:00 PM | Report Offensive Comments
My condolences to the Kennedy family, My second cousin, was the
Police Chief, "Bernard Kennedy", of Peoria, Illinois. I personally think that all of the Kennedy family, was a phenomenal inspiration.
History books will conclude, that the family gave their life as real patriots, even though not completely free of tribulations.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
God and I, thanks each & everyone of you, who are devoted to one another.
August 31, 2009 4:33 PM | Report Offensive Comments
Mr. Kennedy may have imbibed alittle, but one thing is for sure-- he was not very generous when it came to a gratuity. That is one charactoristic he shares with Newt Gingrich. Politics aside, these gentlemen shared one thing in common--if your were a waiter or waitress, you could forget any gratuity from these two guys. But one big mess to clean up afterwards. Tells you something about these two.
August 31, 2009 7:15 PM | Report Offensive Comments
>...That he got to be buried in Arlington, despite his military service, is a sick joke....
No, it's not. If you are a veteran, whether YOU like it or not, I think you can be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Get over it.
>Mr. Kennedy may have imbibed alittle, but one thing is for sure-- he was not very generous when it came to a gratuity...
Maybe you should have worked just a tad harder to EARN that tip. I've got a good philosophy: Good service: tip. Bad service: don't even think that you'll get one, and I might even speak to the manager.
August 31, 2009 7:28 PM | Report Offensive Comments
His strength - - ? Being born in a super rich family who felt they were above the rule of the law that us common folks try to abide by.
His weaknesses -- ? The above.
September 1, 2009 1:04 AM | Report Offensive Comments
I owe a great deal to the Kennedies - they inspired me to become the right-wing extremist that I am.
September 1, 2009 5:21 AM | Report Offensive Comments
Ted Kennedy was a politician with clout. Not everybody, no matter who they are had or have the political clout of the Kennedys. Interestingly enough, they are beginning to be observed and thought of by foreign journalists as the three Kennedy brothers collectively. As to what they represented and what their contributions or shortcomings were while serving in high office...this is going to make interesting reading.
September 1, 2009 5:30 AM | Report Offensive Comments
So much of Senator Edward Kennedy's “The Dream Shall Never Die” speech is relevant now. It makes me sad that so many Americans do not know how much it was really he that advanced the dreams of his brothers into reality. So many of us who want now to pick up the "fallen standard" need the example his life offers of HOW liberal ideals can be transformed into something real that betters the lives of our neighbors.
I put together some of the audio of the speech, accompanied it with images and ideas that highlight some of his accomplishments, and put it into a video. The following page also has information on the 6 (of 13 or a minority) Democratic senators in the Senate Finance Committee who have yet to pledge their support for the public option in the Kennedy Health Care bill.
September 1, 2009 2:11 PM | Report Offensive Comments