Friday, August 28, 2009


Okay, so there's a Ted Kennedy post after all. It's possible to write two obituaries.

I respect Senator Kennedy's longevity and what he accomplished for the people of Massachusetts and the United States.

His family sacrificed far more than its share. One of Senator Kennedy's brothers died in war. Two others died at the hands of assassins. Edward Moore Kennedy worked for voting rights, civil rights, health care, and a long list of other issues and causes.

From what I've read, Senator Kennedy died with great courage and dignity.

However, it's tough to get past Chappaquiddick. It's also tough for me to get past something else, and it's not getting a lot of attention this week.

Senator Kennedy ran against Jimmy Carter for the 1980 Democratic presidential nomination. Roger Mudd of CBS News interviewed Senator Kennedy in November of 1979. It was a long interview that included one simple question: "Why do you want to be president?" Kennedy botched the answer. Badly. Horribly. Inexplicably. Incoherent. To me, that spoke volumes. He should have hit that softball a mile. He had to know it was coming. It was Kennedy's moment to shine. Jimmy Carter was ripe for the picking. Kennedy's answer, or lack of one, defies analysis. Lack of judgment? Unprepared? A feeling the White House is a birthright?

In spite of it all, I still have a feeling that history will treat Senator Edward Moore Kennedy kindly.