Wednesday, August 26, 2009

R.I.P. Senator Edward M. Kennedy.

Massachusetts Senator Edward M. Kennedy passed away at the age of 77.

Even those fiercely opposed to his positions (or, unfortunately at times, his personal conduct) must regard this as a significant loss to politics and to humanity in general.

It seems to me that, whatever the total of their actual achievements, the Kennedy legacy will always be one of “What Might Have Been”.

If Jack had lived and served two terms…

If Bobby had become president in 1968 – and, perhaps 1972…

If Ted had successfully challenged Jimmy Carter in 1980…

…The ripples and repercussions of THAT ONE ALONE would still resonate three decades hence!

How different would it ALL have been?

Some would have loved it. Some would have despised it. At TIAH Blog, we make a point of not getting into such things – and any and all politically motivated comments to this post (on either side) are not welcome, per our ground rules of “pleasantness”.

In other words, if you comment, keep it civil and general.

But once again, all I WILL SAY (and leave it at that) is that things would have been very different for the USA and the world if a few of those “Might Have Been’s” had actually been.


Joe Torcivia said...

I’m sorry to say that I had to delete a comment on this post.

The commenter did not pay strict attention to my “No Unpleasantness” ground rule!

I wouldn’t say the comment was politically motivated, but was less than appropriate under the circumstances.

I do enjoy the comments of this poster, and he or she is certainly invited back to post in the future – but “My Rule is My Rule”!

Let’s keep to it in the future!

Chuck Munson said...

Hi Joe,
Obviously political figures who generate a large amount of commentary are difficult subjects to keep on a non-controversial, non-confrontational level.
Without running afoul of your guidelines/rules, I believe I may offer the following:
1. Ted Kennedy was the last of a larger-than-life generation of Kennedys.
2. Regardless of his actual politics, I've heard it being said from both sides of the political fence that Ted Kennedy was an advocate for people and causes that he really believed in and to which he was not a fair-weather friend.
3. He had some self-admitted and self-inflicted personal choices that affected both his aspirations and influence (although as far reaching as it appeared to be - love or hate him, most people know about Ted Kennedy!).
4. He appears to have had the ability to work with both of the major parties in the Senate. And did so retaining the trust and respect of his own party and finding trust and respect with members of the other side with whom he had to work.

I would like to say that we still have politicians regardless of party in both the House and Senate who can or have achieved the level of commitment, dedication and cooperation that Ted Kennedy did have or strived to have. Personally, I've heard comments from Representatives and Senators that suggest four specific members who come close, but that pales against 535 total members. May we as voters have the clarity to look beyond the rhetoric and pick worthy candidates of any party who look out for us and our country with the aforementioned commitment, dedication and cooperation.

Is that civil and non-partisan enough to make the cut and still be a commentary on the man and his legacy?

Chris Barat said...

Joe and Chuck,

I read a rather detailed, fascinating "what might have been" article in the CHICAGO TRIBUNE on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of JFK's assassination in 1983. A brief summary (at least, to the best of my recollection):

1. JFK re-elected by a large margin in 1964.
2. American troops pulled out of Vietnam soon thereafter -- there are protests, but nothing really severe (I believe that this was wishful thinking)
3. LBJ barely nudges Nixon and is elected in 1968
4. RFK runs for president in 1972 but is beaten by Ronald Reagan, who goes on to serve two terms
5. The article ends with JFK and RFK celebrating Teddy's nomination in 1980

I'll have to see if I can't find this article somewhere.

Chuck, I think you may overstate Teddy's bipartisanship a little, but my one REAL quarrel with him stems from his apparent attempt in the mid-1980s to work behind the scenes with then-Soviet leader Yuri Andropov to counteract Reagan's Cold War efforts ( This has been written up in several sources. You can probably understand why I, in particular, look upon this gambit with fixed disfavor.