Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts Dies

By Douglas V. Gibbs

Dead at 77, Teddy Kennedy now joins his brothers, President John F. Kennedy and Senator Robert F. Kennedy, who were felled by assassins’ bullets in their 40s.

Mr. Kennedy served 46 years in the U.S. Senate, and is probably one of the most recognizable names in politics when it comes to Democrats in the Senate. Mr. Kennedy’s diagnosis of a lethal brain tumor did not slow him down. He continued his duties as U.S. Senator, and though I disagreed with his political positions, I respect his longevity, and determination.

The memory of Edward Kennedy's legacy in the Democratic Party will no doubt outlive many of us.

The youngest of nine Kennedy children Edward grew up around politics. Rose Kennedy once remarked "My babies were rocked to political lullabies." When Edward Kennedy was born, President Herbert Hoover sent Rose a bouquet of flowers and a note of congratulations.

Edward Kennedy graduated in 1956 with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard. He then enrolled in the University of Virginia School of Law, where his brother Robert studied. There, Edward took a degree in 1959.

Teddy's older brother, John F. Kennedy, won the presidential election in 1960, leaving vacant a Senate seat that the family considered its property. Robert Kennedy was next in line, but chose the post of attorney general instead. Younger Edward was only 28, two years shy of the minimum age of 30 for Senate service.

While Edward Kennedy waited for his thirtieth birthday, and a special election, the Senate seat was held by a close family friend, Benjamin A. Smith II. During the two years Edward needed to wait, he traveled the world and worked as an assistant district attorney in Boston, waiving the $5,000 salary and serving instead for $1 a year.

In 1962, Mr. Kennedy declared his candidacy for the remaining two years of his brother's Senate term. He battled Edward J. McCormack Jr. in a bitter fight, but won in the end.

A stubborn competitor, it is a surprise Edward didn't last longer against the foe that took his life. He fought against the brain tumor in the same manner he fought against all other opponents - with everything he had.

The political landscape has lost a loud voice, and a patriarch of the Democratic Party.

Good bye, Mr. Kennedy. It has been an interesting ride.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

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