Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Kennedy was at the center of the most important issues facing the nation for decades, and he did much to help shape them. A defender of the poor and politically disadvantaged, he set the standard for his party on health care, education, civil rights, campaign-finance reform and labor law
Joe Holley writes in The Washington Post on Ted Kennedy's political importance
He was a Rabelaisian figure in the Senate and in life, instantly recognizable by his shock of white hair, his florid, oversize face, his booming Boston brogue, his powerful but pained stride. He was a celebrity, sometimes a self-parody, a hearty friend, an implacable foe, a man of large faith and large flaws, a melancholy character who persevered, drank deeply and sang loudly. He was a Kennedy.
New York Times journalist John M Broder describes the Kennedy effect.
Seared in my memory: When I interned at the Heritage Foundation, I would pop into Mass at Saint Joseph's on the Hill. And I would almost always find myself sitting near Ted Kennedy. He's responsible for things that are deeply offensive to my conscience and diametrically opposed to the teachings of the Catholic faith, and he probably led some people astray by his example. But our faith also teaches that we are all sinners and that there is redemption. He had some incredibly good forces in his life, not least among them his sister, Eunice, who just died. I pray for the repose of his soul. R.I.P. Senator Kennedy.
Kathryn Lean Lopez blogs her tribute at the National Review.
Elected first in 1962, the 77-year-old Massachusetts liberal was rooted in the civil rights and Great Society battles of that decade, but his enduring strength was an ability to renew himself through his mastery of issues and the changing personalities of the Senate. Nowhere was this clearer than in Kennedy's early support of Barack Obama in 2008, when the young Illinois Democrat needed to establish himself against more veteran rivals for the White House. Kennedy not only campaigned for Obama but, at risk to his own health, opened the Democratic National Convention a year ago in Denver and returned to Washington repeatedly last winter to cast needed votes to move the new president's economic recovery agenda.
David Rogers in Politico highlights the veteran senator's lasting political importance.
In many ways, he was the last man standing, straddling a mythic family mantle of fame and a vaunted career of political service, all the while wearing the crown of Camelot decades after its heyday...the senator's death brought to a close a storied political era - of assassinations, Jackie O, Palm Beach, Chappaquiddick - and a lifetime of both tragedy and public service.
Andrea Billup writes in the The Washington Times that 'Camelot' fades with Kennedy passing
In losing Kennedy, Obama loses a key Senate dealmaker at a crucial moment in legislative negotiations over the health care bill. Though an icon of Democratic liberalism, Kennedy was known to colleagues as a jovial pragmatist, whose many friendships with colleagues across the political and ideological spectrum made him one of the Senate's most influential players.
Kathy Kiely in USA Today examines the impact of Ted Kennedy's death on healthcare reform.


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