Ted Kennedy and His Legacy

Everyone in Massachusetts is still digesting the terrible, terrible news about Ted Kennedy.

I wrote a news story about it for The New York Sun.

During my reporting for that story I reached out to Marty Nolan, the Globe’s historic Washington bureau chief. Here’s what he wrote (You may not be able to read Nolan in the Globe, but you can read him at Gitell.com!):

“I first met Ted Kennedy in the lobby of the Parker House in 1962, when he said he was eager not only to run against Eddie McCormack, then the Mass. AG, but eager to debate him fior the U.S. Senate.
The figuring among Bay State pundits was that Kennedy would duck debates because of his thin public record as Suffolk Co. Asst DA and all the favoritism, nepotism charges that would arise. ‘Starting at the top,’ they called it and they were right. He had just turned 30, the Constitutionally eligible age for the Senate on Feb. 22. This means he was born on the 200th anniv. of George Washington’s birthday. When he was born, the 9th of 9, (!), his brother Jack wanted to name his George Washington Kennedy, but papa Joe had other ideas.
Little did any of us know then that he would become the George Washington of the Senate, one of its legendary giants, not only in seniority (3rd all time behind R. Byrd and Strom Thurmond) but in accomplishment.
Just about 50 years ago, JFK was appointed to choose the 5 all-time best senatorswhose portraits would be painted in oval panels in the Sen. Reception room. Webster, Clay, et al. are there, but they’re gonna need a 6th one.
Byrd, who defeated him for Majority Whip in 1970, said in 199 “In My judgment, Sen. Kennedy probably has his name on more legislation that has become law, than probably any other senator.” By that, Byrd added, not “legislation the Administration wants, but legislation that originates in the committee on which a senator sits, legislation which he nurtures and develops and promotes, I don’t think there are many senators, if any, as his peer.”
And he is a heckuva guy, who loves politics and loves life. He is thoroughly bipartisan, even in this poisonous time. He has ideological opponents in the Senate, but no enemies.”

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