The tributes have obviously been coming in. The conclusion seems to be the same one I would have come to before: that Ted Kennedy was a great, but flawed man – and like all men and women, he should be celebrated, without tears for the good he did in his life.
Here’s a few articles worth reading:
In Timothy Noah’s Slate piece he declares Ted Kennedy, “The Kennedy who most changed America.”
George F. Will argues much the same thing in a piece that reminds me of his greatness as a columnist, despite all of his bitter distortions on climate change:
Let us pay the Kennedys tributes unblurred by tears. Although a great American family, they are not even Massachusetts’ greatest family: The Adamses provided two presidents, John and John Quincy, and Charles Francis, who was ambassador to Britain during the Civil War, and the unclassifiable Henry. Never mind. It diminishes Ted to assess him as a fragment of a family. He lived his own large life and the ledger of it shows a substantial positive balance.
Joe Klein meanwhile explains “how Ted Kennedy found himself” in a personal remembrance of the man he knew for many years.
Michael Tomasky writes in the Guardian in his moving piece:
One would be hard pressed to argue that Ted Kennedy’s death was a more bitter pill for the country than the deaths of his brothers before him – John, the young president whose assassination gave Americans a hard warning about the violent age they were about to enter, or Robert, the presidential aspirant who was thought at the time to be the last leader in America who might have been able to help the nation transcend that violence.
Nevertheless, the heavens have somehow conspired to make this Kennedy death, however expected it might have been, nearly as heartbreaking as those of his vigorous younger brothers.
Charles P. Pierce writes in a long piece about Ted Kennedy’s life and career about how the events in Chappaquiddick shortly before the first man landed on the moon affected the rest of Senator Ted Kennedy’s career:
She’s always there. Even if she doesn’t fit in the narrative line, she is so much of the dark energy behind it. She denies to him forever the moral credibility that lay behind not merely all those rhetorical thunderclaps that came so easily in the New Frontier but also Robert Kennedy’s anguished appeals to the country’s better angels. He was forced from the rhetoric of moral outrage and into the incremental nitty-gritty of social justice. He learned to plod, because soaring made him look ridiculous…
And if his name were Edward Moore, he would have done time.
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