Tag Archives: Senator Ted Kennedy

The Senior Senator

26 Aug

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This is the Senator Ted Kennedy that I will remember.

Comments are closed. You know why. I might just make it a habit.

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy 1932 – 2009

26 Aug

I had the privilege of watching the senior Senator from Massachusetts go to battle in the mid-90s against Mitt Romney. It was the toughest race Kennedy had run in a long time, and for a time Romney had pulled even with him the polls. Kennedy fought back, and I had the privilege once of watching him give a rousing speech to followers at an IBEW hall in Waltham.

There is nothing quite like watching Ted Kennedy giving a fire & brimstone-style political speech to union members in a union hall.

Since a mid-60s injury in a plane crash, Kennedy has worked to ensure that every American, regardless of income or ability to pay, is entitled to the incredible quality of health care he received as a member of Congress.

We are now closer than ever to effectively meeting that goal. It is tragic that the Senator will not be around when President Obama signs the bill.

Rest in Peace, Senator. This video is from his last public speech, given exactly one year and a day before his passing.

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Caroline Kennedy?

8 Dec

Still no word on who will replace Hillary Clinton in the senate, but Kennedy’s is a name that’s been floated primarily by the national media.

I don’t know anything about her beyond what’s written in Wikipedia, and I have no doubt that she’s the smartest woman ever. My problem here is that she’s a marquee candidate. She may be interested, but it’s a massive hop from whatever she’s doing now to U.S. Senator.

Also, given the complete and utter rectal reaming upstate has received with the gang of three deal, if it happens both US Senators and all of the Albany leadership will be in the hands of downstaters. Downstate’s problems do not even begin to resemble upstate’s problems.

I’d much prefer someone who has been here, been engaged with voters and issues here, and realizes that, to a lot of people upstate, even West Virginia is starting to look pretty good.

Random Thoughts After DNC Night One

26 Aug

Nancy Pelosi‘s speech was so bad, it was hard to look away.  It was like watching two dump trucks colliding in slow motion.  How this woman ascended to such a senior leadership position with such limited charisma is beyond me.

–  It appears the media is trying to set the agenda for the entire convention to make it about Hillary Clinton and the perceived feud between her and Barack Obama.  It seems that everyone associated with the party, the Obama campaign, and the Clinton camp want to move forward in a united fashion and they are saying and doing all the right things.  However, the need to fill the news cycle almost demands a “faux controversy” with Hillary.   Sure, there are some Hillary “dead-enders” who will not support Obama.  How is that different from other candidates in other years?  Obama needs to shore up support amongst women voters, as any candidate needs to do leading up to the election.  Hillary will most likely deliver an unconditional endorsement of Obama tonight and ask her supporters to support Obama, like she did months ago.  These women will not vote for a pro-life candidate who will swing the Supreme Court balance in opposition to choice and does not represent the policies of the feminist movement.  It’s all bluster.

– Claire McCaskill?  Please stop talking, kthxbai!

– Ted Kennedy’s tribute video and speech were quite moving.  Even though he is an imperfect man, he has been a true advocate for good government and will retire as one of America’s most valuable Senators.  It seemed as if the torch of Kennedy mystique and great oratory were handed to Obama last night by the last of a dying breed.

– Michelle Obama hit it out of the park last night.  She needed to fill in her backstory and present herself as both a wife, mother, and advocate for change.  By all accounts, she hit all the right notes.

Juan Williams reaction to her speech was shocking in its sincerity and emotion.

This is Obama’s party now.  The legacy of partisan politics as conducted by the likes of Atwater, Rove, Carville, Morris, and the Clintons is slowly fading into the past…to be replaced by the type of politics you’ll find in this article.

Also, take a look at the front page of pollster.com.  Even though the national Gallup numbers show the race in a dead heat, the state by state polling numbers tell a much different tale.  Based on electoral votes in states where Obama has a strong lead, slight lead, or classified as “leaning Obama”, he almost has enough to win.  If he takes two of the toss up states, it’s over.

Senator Kennedy (D-MA)

21 May

All of this happened in 1994, so my memory of exact events and places may be somewhat faulty. For that, my apologies.

During the summer and fall of 1994 I was living with my then-fiance in a small one-bedroom apartment in Waltham, Massachusetts. At the time, I was either studying for the New York and Massachusetts Bar exams or else I had started working for the small neighborhood law firm at which I spent my first few years of practice. I was a rarity at the time – a registered Republican in Massachusetts, although we had a charismatic Republican governor, Bill Weld (more on him in a separate post). We did, however, have two very well-known Democratic Senators, Kerry and Kennedy.

In 1994, Senator Kennedy’s continuity in the Senate was being threatened by a charismatic Republican challenger named Mitt Romney. He was doing so well in the polls that the Kennedy campaign was getting spooked. Luckily, a lot of old Kennedy hands came back on board to help the Senior Senator keep his seat, which he ultimately did. Say what you want about the Senator, he always looked out for the poor, for the less fortunate, and for the Commonwealth.

One day I received a call from a dear family friend who was helping the Senator’s re-election effort. He remembered that we lived in Waltham and asked if we wanted to come and see him address a campaign rally at a union hall on Trapelo Road. Not being one to pass up seeing and hearing a living legend speak on friendly home turf, I jumped at the chance.

We parked on the street and made our way through the union guys and volunteers handing out lit and chose our seats on the aisle halfway back in the majestic hall. At some point I recall being permitted to go backstage where I didn’t see the Senator, but then-gubernatorial candidate Mark Roosevelt was waiting to speak.

(Note this from the Wikipedia entry for Roosevelt: “Roosevelt was appointed on August 3, 2005, to the position of [Pittsburgh] school superintendent. He accepted this post under the terms of a unique performance-based “Accountability Contract.”)

After Roosevelt and some other pols spoke, someone went up to introduce Senator Kennedy. We stood up and looked back towards the doors of the hall and our family friend was pointing at me and whispering something in the Senator’s ear. As the Senator made his way down the aisle to a standing ovation, roaring applause, he shook just about every hand extended to him. He made a special stop to our seats and shook our hands, thanking us for being there.

The speech itself is both a blur and seared in my memory banks. Although I have no recollection of its content, I distinctly remember how riveting it was. That unmistakable, familiar voice. That dropping of the r. The cadence and tone. It was a magical thing to hear and an incredible place to be.

I was pleased that I had the opportunity that November to pull a lever for the Senator in 1994 and again at the Oak Square firehall in Brighton in 2000. The news that he is ill came as a shock and I wish him a speedy recovery and good thoughts.

(Edit – one of the paragraphs didn’t read right. I make change. KTHXBAI).

Kennedy on Religion

7 Dec

No video, no speech speaks more to me about the separation of Church and State like the one given by John F. Kennedy in 1960 to the Houston Ministers.

That is the kind of America in which I believe. And it represents the kind of Presidency in which I believe, a great office that must be neither humbled by making it the instrument of any religious group nor tarnished by arbitrarily withholding it — its occupancy from the members of any one religious group. I believe in a President whose views on religion are his own private affair, neither imposed upon him by the nation, nor imposed by the nation upon him as a condition to holding that office.

These were the “good times” in American politics. When a candidate spoke freely about a volatile issue without parsing it into oblivion. When a candidate is not forced to side with those who would seek to position America into two camps of secularists and Christianists. Courage and integrity were on display that night in 1960, will it ever be so again?