Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Passing of a True “Political Presence”

There have been many touching and well-deserved tributes to Ted Kennedy today in the wake of his passing – most far beyond what I could offer on the subject. Suffice to say, he was a great public figure whose heart was always in the right place even if (in earlier years, at least) his brain and body might not have been.

One can’t help but be moved by the many testimonies today to his dedication and compassion as a legislator, as well as to what a genuinely personable and caring individual he was – especially in his last two decades.

I met Massachusetts’ senior senator in person only once , back when I was a community newspaper editor and he visited our offices during a 1990 campaign tour – he must’ve been hitting every podunk borough in the commonwealth! At that time, my main impression was less about his policies and politics than about how bad he looked. He was, I recall, a bloated gin blossom in a fancy dark suit. Obviously, this was before Victoria Reggie cleaned him up and seemingly overnight turned him into the respected old political lion he is immortalized as today.

However, then and now, I have great respect for his tireless work on many important issues during his half-century of public service. And I especially admire both his willingness and his ability to build bridges across that wide aisle of partisanship in D.C. and beyond. In that regard at the very least, we need more like him.

R.I.P., the last prince of the Camelot. (What’s left are mere squires and handmaidens by comparison).


  1. In the pictures tell a thousand word's department ...

  2. One more postscript: Living a mile or so from the highway connecting Boston and Cape Cod, it was amazing to see crowds of people on Thursday parked at each highway exit (in the grassy areas around the on/off ramps) and posted up on the overpasses to pay their last respects to Senator Kennedy as his hearse made its way from Hyannisport to Boston for the funeral. Add that to the tens of thousands of people who lined up to see him lying in state at the J.F.K. Library on Friday ... not sure there are many presidents who would draw that level of appreciation.