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Rich Kennedy

Sen. Edward M.("Ted") Kennedy, RIP

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When I heard the news, my first thoughts were not worthy of this post by reason of standards I set for such posts long ago.

My second thought was, "Heh, now the Left will understand what life has been like on the right without Bill Buckley." Even the early elegies this morning implied this. NPR did a major story on him every 45 minutes on Morning Edition. While some may have regretted his never becoming President, Ted Kennedy OWNED the Senate and was intimately involved in almost every consequential decision the Senate made during his long tenure. He got things done. He worked hard and was dogged over the course of the major part of a century in the service of his legislative goals. He was willing to share, or even give away credit for legislative accomplishments in the service of accomplishing said legislation.

Read that last, wierd sentence again. Of whom can that ever have been said in politics in our lifetime? As a man of the Right, I have to say that this is the major weakness of my side of the aisle. In a world of too-much-too-soon and now-or-never, Ted Kennedy used any and every small victory to build, little by little, for the next. Every setback seemed to steel the resolve for the next battle. This is a big hole for the Left in this country to fill. There will be many cries for certain votes in his memory and much rallying in his honor. In the end though, there will be a quiet on the Left and on the Right and a wondering if such a political gift will ever be seen again. As George Will concluded his masterful tribute in the Washington Post:

Let us pay the Kennedys a tribute unblurred by tears. Although a great American family, they are not even Massachusetts' greatest family.... Never mind. It diminishes Ted to assess him as a fragment of a family. He lived his own life large and the ledger of it shows a positive balance.

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A friend in the US is recording the funeral for me. In the meantime, I would be very interested to know if any of you watch it and what your thoughts are.

[reminder: I'm doing a PhD on American national funerals]

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