Ted Kennedy, “Lion Of The Senate,” Has Died

Filed in National by on August 26, 2009

This is very sad news.

U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy, a towering figure in the Democratic Party who took the helm of one of America’s most fabled political families after two older brothers were assassinated, died at age 77, his family said.

“Edward M. Kennedy, the husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle we loved so deeply, died late Tuesday night at home in Hyannis Port (Massachusetts),” the Kennedy family said in a statement early on Wednesday.

One of the most influential and longest-serving senators in U.S. history — a liberal standard-bearer who was also known as a consummate congressional dealmaker — Kennedy had been battling brain cancer, which was diagnosed in May 2008.

President Obama’s statement on Kennedy’s death:

Michelle and I were heartbroken to learn this morning of the death of our dear friend, Senator Ted Kennedy.

For five decades, virtually every major piece of legislation to advance the civil rights, health and economic well being of the American people bore his name and resulted from his efforts.

I valued his wise counsel in the Senate, where, regardless of the swirl of events, he always had time for a new colleague. I cherished his confidence and momentous support in my race for the Presidency. And even as he waged a valiant struggle with a mortal illness, I’ve profited as President from his encouragement and wisdom.

An important chapter in our history has come to an end. Our country has lost a great leader, who picked up the torch of his fallen brothers and became the greatest United States Senator of our time.

And the Kennedy family has lost their patriarch, a tower of strength and support through good times and bad.

Our hearts and prayers go out to them today–to his wonderful wife, Vicki, his children Ted Jr., Patrick and Kara, his grandchildren and his extended family.

Love him or hate him, Kennedy was one of the most influential and effective Senators ever to serve. He had his personal problems and controversy in his life but he was able to pull himself together and serve our country. He will be greatly missed.

h/t Eschaton: Excerpt from Ted Kennedy’s 1980 Democratic convention speech, “The Dream Shall Never Die.”


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Opinionated chemist, troublemaker, blogger on national and Delaware politics.

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  1. A Warning and a Call of Respect. : Delaware Liberal | August 26, 2009
  1. nemski says:

    I lived in Massachusetts for several years and I was lucky enough to cast a vote for this great liberal senator.

  2. Perry says:

    UI, yours is a wonderful tribute to a great man who will not soon be forgotten.

    I loved the man with all his warts, and was inspired by his ability to influence people and get things done by working both sides. He leaves a gaping hole in the Senate.

    What a great and deserved tribute to him, and a wonderful achievement for the American people, it will be when the health care reform bill is passed and becomes law!

  3. Delaware Republican says:

    Best wishes to his children and family.

    Mike Protack

  4. I think the best tribute to Kennedy’s legacy will be to pass the health care reform legislation that he spent his life fighting for. I hope that the Senate will adopt Kennedy’s bill as the bill and jettison the Gang of Six. I find it extremely sad that he didn’t live long enough to cast the deciding vote on health care reform. I’ve always pictured walking into the Senate and casting the 60th vote on the bill.

  5. I agree Perry, that he leaves a big hole in the Senate. There will never be another senator like him.

  6. I grew up in Massachusetts and was lucky enough to cast an absentee ballot while I was in the military against Ted Kennedy.

    It was my first lesson in voter futility, one I don’t think I ever learned.

    But, politics aside, Ted Kennedy was Massachusetts, his almost 40 years representing the state made him a force to be reckoned with, and that benefited the state well over the years. Noone will be able to fill his shoes and his loss will be sorely missed in Boston, Washington, as well as the rest of the country.

  7. MJ says:

    We lost a liberal hero today, a champion for equality for all Americans, and a friend of organized labor. I’m left with an empty feeling in my heart. May be be of Blessed Memory. Baruch Dayan Ha’Emeth.

  8. callerRick says:

    Is he going to be buried next to Mary Jo Kopekne?

  9. Yes, I knew the ghouls wouldn’t be able to resist.

  10. anon says:

    I will have trouble resisting when it is Dick Cheney’s turn.

  11. I try to follow the saying “if you don’t have anything nice to say then say nothing.” I think it’s really inappropriate to celebrate someone’s death. I think there is some period of time – until after the funeral – to hold your piece so people can grieve. Not everyone follows this rule, however.

  12. cassandra_m says:

    This is a sad day. Ted Kennedy has many personal flaws and he really seemed to come into his own after it seemed clear he no longer had a shot at the Presidency. And while repubs spent a good deal of time criticizing Kennedy, there is no doubt that Kennedy reached across the aisle often and with some success. It is too bad that there are not more like him.

    Good journey home, Senator.

  13. Joanne Christian says:

    He was always my mother’s favorite.

  14. The NYT has a nice interactive timeline of Ted Kennedy’s life.

  15. liberbill says:

    Joanne, your mom is an idiot. He should have died in jail – at least he’s dead.

    There’s hope for the republic

  16. Art Downs says:

    Think of Ted running from the scene of an accident and preparing a good excuse while Mary Jo was gasping for the last bit of air and vainly trying to escape.

    Quite a contrast with PT-109 where another Kennedy screwed up but tried to save some lives.

  17. pandora says:

    Not one more word from Conservatives about civility.

  18. cassandra_m says:

    President Obama getting ready to speak about Senator Kennedy on WDEL in a couple of minutes.

  19. Perry says:

    No, Pandora, let them rant with their poison. Then more folks will see them as they really are! Even now, at this point in this thread, it is overwhelming, the depth of their hatred; it knows no bounds of incivility!

    They should heed the model of folks like Orin Hatch and Nancy Reagan, just to name several exemplary Conservatives who have made statements already.

    And let the rest of us grieve as we feel so moved.

  20. mike hunt says:

    Today, I am ashamed to be a conservative and a republican. Althought I did not agree with a lot of Sen. Kennedy’s policy, I respect the man who believed in what he did, and fought to the end to make it a reality. Yes, he had his flaws, we all do, but on this day we should remember the impact the Sen. from MA had on the nation, the legislative process, and the policies of equality for all Americans that carried his name.

    Ted Kennedy was a leader. George Bush was a leader. They had their moments of good and bad, but they both deserve the respect of those they touched and served.

    We will have plenty of time to bash Ted for his personal conduct and policy, but today, and for the next couple of days…let’s respect his life and accomplishments.

  21. Scott P says:

    And now we get to see if there is even one GOP Senator with an ounce of decency in him. For all the talk of fraternity and mutual respect among Senators, is there even one who will step up and say, “I may not agree with it, but the bill that represents the culmination of Sen. Kennedy’s distinguished career deserves, at least, the respect of coming to the floor for a vote.”

  22. You’re right pandora, I never want to hear another word from Republicans about civility. IOKIYAR.

    Perry’s right – their poison doesn’t detract from Kennedy’s legacy and it just shows them how they are.

  23. Scott P says:

    And out of respect for Sen. Kennedy and the respectful words from mike, I’m even willing to let go the implication that George Bush deserves respect from me.

  24. liberalgeek says:

    Let me inject a little bipartisanship here…

    There were plenty on my side of the aisle that did the dance of joy when Falwell, Reagan and Novak died. Hell, there were people dancing on Adams’ grave.

    I would ask the liberals reading this to bottle the feeling of disdain that you feel toward the Kennedy bashers and remember it the next time a hero to the right dies.

    It is distasteful whenever anyone does it.

  25. Some reactions from various American political figures, including Nancy Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Mitt Romney.

  26. So true, lg. I didn’t like it in the thread about Robert Novak’s death either.

  27. Doubledgedsword says:

    Oh damn,

    Hate to have to quote for truth, but here’s some of your civility Delaware Liberals.

    “By nemski

    When the Prince of Darkness died, I commented, “Good riddance. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way to Hell.” It was Chilon of Sparta who once said that one should not speak ill of the dead, but I’m pretty sure that he wasn’t speaking of people like Robert Novak.”

    Your hypocrisy makes me giggle. tee. hee.

  28. Joanne Christian says:

    No, liberbill my mother wasn’t an idiot. She believed in his ideals, and utopia of social justice. But see, I was the kid that internalized it and worked it, thru the 80’s when I had my “aha” moment. It was transformational–but you’ll have to read the book. For now, rest in peace Senator Kennedy. There are many who could have not made the reach without standing on your shoulders–and yes, you had feet of clay. Regardless, to your family (of which the greatest work is ever done), your feet were rock solid in caring, and guardianship of them. A profound loss.

    FTR-It’s amazing he lasted as long with his given diagnosis–but that’s the Kennedy in him I guess.

  29. Interesting DES, since I’m not nemski.

  30. anonone says:

    ” I think it’s really inappropriate to celebrate someone’s death.”
    Tell that to the Munchkins.

    If the repubs want to celebrate Kennedy’s death, so what? Let ’em. The pomposity of moral superiority by those who think all deaths should be mourned regardless of what they did while alive is amusing. Death does not automatically entitle sudden respect to public figures who we didn’t respect while they were alive.

    That being said, thanks, Ted. You lived a mighty life of public service and you continued on courageously, despite the murders of both your brothers. Let us continue on with the same courage.

  31. anoni says:

    Sarah Palin:

    On the Passing of Senator Ted Kennedy
    Wednesday, August 26, 2009

    I would like to extend our sympathies to the Kennedy family as we hear word about the passing of Senator Ted Kennedy. He believed in our country and fought passionately for his convictions.

  32. Perry says:

    I agree, lg.

    People significant enough to have a positive impact, and most of us have, either great or small, deserve our respect when they pass.

    Besides, who among us have not created some hard places, some worse than others to be sure. A little introspection serves a useful purpose at times like this.

  33. liberalgeek says:

    A1 – Perhaps, but we are not talking only about a political figure. We are also talking about a parent, a sibling, a son or daughter, a grandfather. While you may think that we don’t owe the dead a debt, we do owe some common decency to their family and the memories of a lost loved one.

  34. Joe Biden’s remarks:

    A visibly shaken Vice President Joe Biden mourned the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) as a remarkable figure in the history of the U.S. Senate, as well as a close personal friend.

    “Today we lost a truly remarkable man,” Biden said in remarks Wednesday morning, at times choking back tears. “To paraphrase Shakespeare, I don’t think we shall ever see his like again.”

    “We truly, truly are distressed by his passing,” Biden said of himself and his family.

    The vice president detailed his closeness to Kennedy as a member of the Senate throughout the decades, including the Massachusetts senator’s extensive outreach to Biden after his wife and daughter were killed in an automobile accident shortly after Biden’s election.

    I hope I can find video of Biden’s remarks.

  35. nemski says:

    Saying, “Ted Kennedy got away with murder” is one thing. Saying, “Ted Kennedy’s grandchildren can suck eggs that PopPop is dead” is another.

  36. Stein says:

    I truly feel the country is a safer place now that he has passed.

    I love how he gave us all one last glance into his hypocritical nature. He called on his friends in the Massachusetts legislature to take the power of replacing him away from the people and give it back to the governor. However, when Kerry ran for president Kennedy very quickly called on the Mass legislature to take that power away from the Mitt Romney and give it to the people.

    And please enough already with all the hero nonsense. This guy was very good at what he did…there is no debating that. However, to call him a hero is a slap in the face to millions of real heroes that serve and have served this country. If he was any kind of a hero he would have at least attempted to save that young girl’s life!

  37. Stein says:

    “Death does not automatically entitle sudden respect to public figures who we didn’t respect while they were alive.”

    Donfeces has made this very same argument many, many times, Liberalgeek!!!

  38. President Obama speaks about Ted Kennedy.

  39. Phantom says:

    This is a tragic loss. However, let those idiots on the right say what they want. I am going to be just as sympathetic when Cheney etc. pass away. Plus with Novak as the prince of darkness who put many lives in danger out of the way I think the country is much safer and has a chance to actually not read or listen to pure crap.
    Unfortunately with the passing of Kennedy we lose a true champion for actual health care and hopefully Obama takes that to heart.

  40. Joanne Christian says:

    Let me just end with this–birth and death both require a pause, no matter the circumstances–it is a life event. Dignify it.

  41. anonone says:


    1) I doubt that any Kennedy family members are reading this blog. 2) I am quite certain that they are used to public derision and controversy by now. 3) That he was a family member to a few does not negate that he was a public figure and politician to most. 4) Great moral leaders and tyrants both have families, so there’s nothing wrong with placing flowers on the formers’ grave and pissing on the latters’.

  42. anoni says:

    Former President George W Bush on the death of Senator Kennedy

    Fox News ^ | 8/26/09
    “Laura and I are saddened by the death of Senator Ted Kennedy. We extend our condolences and prayers to Senator Kennedy’s wife, Vicki, and all of their family. Ted Kennedy spent more than half his life in the United States Senate. He was a man of passion who advocated fiercely for his convictions. I was pleased to work with Senator Kennedy on legislation to raise standards in public schools, reform immigration, and ensure dignity and fair treatment for Americans suffering from mental illness. In a life filled with trials, Ted Kennedy never gave in to self-pity or despair. He maintained…

  43. D.C. says:

    “Death does not automatically entitle sudden respect to public figures who we didn’t respect while they were alive.”

    I must say that I remember several contributors/comments on this website making the very same claim…Donviti being the main suspect. However, I recall Delaware Dem and a few others concurring.

    Also, this is a class statement by Bush. Do any of you recall the savage attacks perpetrated by Kennedy following the passage of the NCLB Act? One of the first phone calls Bush made after his election was to Ted and he invited him to help craft this bill. When the final bill didn’t have everything Kennedy wanted he acted like a spoiled little child. He kicked and screamed and viciously attacked Bush. What a class act Kennedy was!

  44. Bush is still alive, D.C. What does that have to do with anything?

  45. donviti says:

    if anything maybe the dems will get an f’ing spine and pass something in his name.

    for the sake of being even handed he did do quite a lot for the middle class guy, but his last grasp at keeping power really says all you need to know about the state of our politicians and how power is so very hard to give up.

  46. Joanne Christian says:

    There will be time for the crucifixion ………LATER!!!!!! Give it a rest.

  47. liberalgeek says:

    Stein et al., please note that I was chiding my side of the aisle in my comment above, not necessarily the right. My point was that the disgust that the left feels about the treatment that Kennedy gets from the right is the same that the right feels when the left suggests that Fallwell is barking in hell before the body is cold.

  48. D.C. says:

    Here are some quotes from the progressive, liberal brain trust of this website after Novak’s recent passing:

    Anonone: I guess he won’t be running over anybody with his car anymore. I wonder how many people were killed because of his outing of Valerie Plame?

    Donfeces: Well done Anon1, well done!

    U.I.: believe his car/pedestrian accident was caused by his cancer.

    Nemski: Good riddance. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way to Hell.

    Dorian Gray: He was just another star fucker with an agenda in the media industrial machine. Fuck him and fuck his memory.

    Jason: Nemski beat me to my comment.

    El Somnambulo: Sorry, but Novak was a total prick.

    Von Cracker: “My only regret is he cannot die again.”

    Please read your comments again. Then go back and read Bush’s comments regarding Ted Kennedy’s passing. Just more proof that the vast majority of hate-spewing cowards reside on the left!

  49. nemski says:

    DC, I’m defending your right to be a douche bag.

  50. nemski says:

    OTH, I’m not going over to right wing sites to laugh at Novak’s life after he passed. However, you conservative cretins don’t have shame enough keep it in your sandbox with a liberal dies.

  51. You left out the part where I said this was sad news I guess, D.C. I only speak for myself and I think it is in poor taste to criticize someone right after they died and I follow that rule. Not everyone agrees with it, but that’s freedom of speech, isn’t it.

  52. You can’t teach tact. Some just don’t have it.

  53. h. says:

    I also think it is in poor taste to use someones death to further an agenda. Give it at least a day.

  54. Von Cracker says:

    Fuck Novak, what has he ever done for this country besides intentionally weakening the CIA? Go on Patriot!

    I truly feel safer with the death of Robert Novak! So there!

  55. Von Cracker says:

    Conservatives have no argument unless it involves false equivalency, even in death! lolosers

  56. Von Cracker says:

    though that last one was a funny, DC. Thanks for reminding me!

  57. Von Cracker says:

    removed by author…that be me.

  58. nemski says:

    This reminds me of a South Park episode where Satan is having a kick-ass Halloween party. Everyone is in costume and up walks a guy dressed like Steve Irwin with a Stingray sticking out of his chest. Satan is taken aback by such tactlessness and tells the party-goer that it’s too soon for Steve Irwin jokes. The party-goer argues that he is not dressed up and is actually Steve Irwin. Satan then doesn’t allow him into the party because he’s not dressed in costume.

  59. Perry says:

    D.C. uses anecdotal information to then characterize those he calls the “left”. Then he uses another anecdote to condemn Kennedy. I think D.C., and all of us, need to step back and take a broader view.

    That said, something to bear in mind: Almost always, what goes around comes around.

    I’ve been listening to the tributes to Senator Kennedy on NPR, and am struck by some of the actions he has taken that are not very well known. For example, the work he and a man who lost his son early on in Iraq did, combining efforts to supply our troops in Iraq with armored and up-armored vehicles. Another was his fatherly role he assumed within his own family with his nieces and nephews when both of his brothers were assassinated, leaving behind fatherless children. There are countless legislative achievements as well that took him across the aisle in order to get it done.

    Here is an outstanding interview of Ted Kennedy in April, 2006, that gives a measure of the man that few may know!

    Sure, the man had his flaws, that’s history, but he also dedicated himself to making a lot of things right for his family and for all Americans, often one person at a time that we never hear about, until now.

  60. We can only work so fast, VC.

  61. Von Cracker says:

    Danke, UI! You’re fast enough!

  62. I have no particular regard for Senator Kennedy, his record, or his work. That said, I wish people would not use a tribute thread to attack him. It is disrespectful to the feelings of those who admire him. My condolences to his family and many fans.

    I think Tennessee did a fine job at DP with an appropriate tribute. I also congratulate U. I. on a well put together piece. I would also commend http://www.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,1918758-3,00.html this link to friend and foe.

  63. liberbill says:

    Joanne, I knew your mother . She really is an idiot

  64. Liberbill just proved who the real idiot is, and it isn’t Joanne’s mother.

  65. pandora says:

    Agreed, UI. An idiot whose repartee consists of “Your Mama” comments.

  66. Roswell Ed says:

    The Lion…Err Dog of the Senate.
    “Teddy Kennedy was the weak kitten in the litter, never able to measure up to his brothers.
    The accident at Chappaquiddick displayed his chronic immaturity. One problem Teddy has always had was keeping it in his pants – even when other people are around.”
    – Cleo O’Donnell – wife of former Kennedy campaign aide.
    Check out my take, and stick around for more good content.

  67. liberbill says:

    You’re a morn too pandora. Go get your box greased

  68. I’m actually an evening.

  69. Geezer says:

    You guys might want to check IP addresses. “Liberbill” sounds a lot like the person who threatened “to mail a box of my own shit” to Delaware Liberal. Sounds like you should keep an eye open for a package of conservative brains.

  70. anon says:

    “to mail a box of my own shit” to Delaware Liberal.

    That would be the “Conservative Movement.”

  71. liberbill says:

    Checking IP addresses sounds like brown shirt activities. I thought you morons were against that. And you, geezer, sound like the one that threatened my family

  72. Geezer says:

    You have a family? Of what, ferrets?