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    May 20, 2008

    Hang in there, Ted

    Posted by: Kevin

    Ted_kennedy_face Considering the fact that I spent a good part of my political career loathing much of his machine-left politics, and working with the Massachusetts GOP to thwart him and even unseat him in the 1990s, it was with great sadness that I read the news that I'd feared was coming after hearing about his unexplained seizure over the weekend.  Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) has a very serious, malignant brain tumor, and we all know what that probably means.

    It's no surprise to read that Democrats and Republicans alike immediately went on the record to say how sad they are to hear the news.  As much as I hated some of Kennedy's demagoguery on a wide range of economic and social issues, and his sharpest of partisan elbows too often, I also have to say (like many Republicans of varying intensities also would) that you could never not love the guy, too.

    Some of us have had the pleasure to work with him in and out (and in again) of the majority in Congress, and while you can fault the man for his partisan stripes, they were no less vibrant than any of ours, and they were not painted on by convenience, but seared on by passion and by guts.  That is one thing you have to admire about any political figure of either party, especially the ones you battle with.  I remember Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), his frequent collaborator or opponent on many issues on the other side of the aisle, doing his Ted Kennedy impersonation for us in private a couple of times, especially of when the old man would start to fulminate during a floor speech.  It was hilarious because it was done with tremendous affection.  Even if you went to war with Kennedy, you couldn't imagine a world without him.

    He was always the Senate leader on gay rights issues, but unlike many of his Democratic colleagues in the House, he was never proprietary about it.  He never acted like he "owned" us and our concerns.  And he was not the type to come around with the slimy attitude of so many Democrats that we owed him anything.  That always made me like him underneath it all.  And behind the scenes, that upright profile held its own and his was one of the few offices among Democrats that often sought out Log Cabin's views and opinions, and put them into the mix.  Not often enough, of course.  But it was never just for show.

    Most recently, there was his dramatic intervention in the Democratic primaries on behalf of Barack Obama, soon after the Clintons raised the race card in South Carolina and made it clear they would trash anything and anyone -- including the values he holds most dear -- in order to win.   I was very moved by his speech the day he endorsed Obama, and the way he sought to pass on a torch of passion, eloquence and visionary dreams to the (now) likely nominee.  Despite being totally outside the Democratic arc myself, it was riveting not because of what was said, or how it was said, but by who was saying it.  I'll confess, I wrote an email to my old war buddy Rich Tafel that afternoon that I'd never enjoyed a speech by that old SOB so much in my life.

    So here's hoping that we're all wrong in what we're thinking today, and that Ted Kennedy will be around and full of steam for a bit longer.  The country still needs to be reminded what honorable, courageous men in politics are like.  There are so few left.



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    1. Geena on May 20, 2008 4:02:53 PM:

      Hopefully Kennedy can attend the Denver convention.
      He'll deserve the tribute.

      Talk about a crowd getting weepy, especially if he gives one of his Kennedy versions of a "win one for the gipper" speech.

    1. Kevin on May 20, 2008 4:11:00 PM:

      Hopefully he'll be around longer than that.

    1. The Gay Species on May 20, 2008 8:20:12 PM:

      Hang in there, Ted? He did not give Mary Jo Kopechne a chance to hang in there, drowning her, while seeking legal advice (is that why you like him). He did not care an iota that the Kennedy's socialism (after Bobby) would not affect their Swiss bank accounts, their Cayman Island Foundations, nor increase their tax liabilities -- plus the Vatican dispense dispensations to annul Kennedy marriages, and protect their Archbishop/Cardinals from pedophilia.

      There really are few "dynastic" families I detest more. JFK on heroin, morphine, LSD, and "in" Marilyn while Jackie was out, nearly caused two nuclear Holocausts. Bobby, the darling attorney of HUAC's chair McCarthy, became nepotism plus, serving as his "bro's" attorney general, approving the Bay of Pigs, and wiretapping Martin Luther King, because the guy disapproved of Vietnam.

      When Bobby came to the California Primary in 1968, playing Cesar Chavez for his fool, I thought no Kennedy could find real self. Well, that brings us to Ted. Which may explain why rhetoric is cheap, as is Kennedy's bootlegging that cost thousands their lives, but hey, if the ends justify the means, as you seem to think, go for it.

      P.S. Look for the Kennedy's tax returns? Can't find them? Maybe they are in Bermuda, as in "off-shore." As much as I despise Bush II, Clintons I, II, the Kennedy's are the biggest hypocrites on god's green Irish earth. Pass the buck.

    1. tristram on May 20, 2008 10:45:28 PM:

      Thanks, Chris. With my ardent TAR/YAF background, I stewed for years in bile like that exuded by TGS. But eventually I grew up. More recently, I've had the privilege of meeting and working with TK, and I can confirm that your appreciation is spot-on.

    1. Kevin on May 20, 2008 11:06:11 PM:

      Thanks, Tristram. But it was Kevin, not Chris, who wrote it.

    1. tristram on May 21, 2008 12:28:49 AM:

      My apologies; I am just learning my way around this i-universe, and I neglected to read the fine print. So, thanks, Kevin, for true words well said.

    1. Kevin on Aug 26, 2009 4:41:20 AM:

      Reading this now, I don't feel so much sorrow as I feel a sort of emptiness, like 100 tons of moral weight has just left the Earth. I miss the Washington, D.C., of Ted Kennedy's era, where even your toughest opponents were also great men. How terribly puny Washington has become, and how very very sad that is.

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