Edward Moore Kennedy, for over forty years the senior senator from the great state of Massachusetts and youngest brother of former President John F. Kennedy “died shortly before midnight Tuesday at his home in Hyannis Port, Mass., at age 77.“ This comes at a particularly sad time for his family; his elder sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver having passed earlier this month.
I share Michelle’s sentiments that “There is a time and place for political analysis and criticism. Not now.“ There is indeed much for us conservatives to criticize about this man; he was a longtime champion of many causes and much legislation we and our allies have vigorously opposed while opposing bills near and dear to our hearts.
But, he was also a man dedicated to his home state, working closely even with Republican Governors when the Bay State’s interests were at stake. And he often worked together across party lines, forging lasting friendships with his political adversaries.
When then-President George H.W. Bush was hospitalized during his term in office and then-Vice President Dan Quayle came under attack from the media as unqualified to serve should something happen to the President, Kennedy rose to defend his former Senate colleague–at a time when even Republicans sat silent. In 1982, Quayle and Kennedy had teamed up to craft the Job Training Partnership Act.
And Kennedy became increasingly friendly with his Utah colleague, Orrin Hatch, as they served together on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
He may have been a liberal, but, as the years passed, he did not treat his political adversaries as enemies, instead he saw many as colleagues who, though coming from different political and philosophical perspectives, were fighting the same fight, seeking to achieve the same goal–the welfare and well-being of the United States of America and its people.
He was, as we all are, flawed, but, in the hour of his passing, let us remember his strengths. And they were many.