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Ed Driscoll

Ted Kennedy Dead At Age 77

August 25th, 2009 - 10:31 pm

Not surprisingly, ABC News had their hagiographic obit largely pre-written:

Sen. Edward Moore Kennedy, the youngest Kennedy brother who was left to head the family’s political dynasty after his brothers President John F. Kennedy and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated, has died at age 77.

Known as the “liberal lion of the Senate,” Kennedy championed health care reform, working wages and equal rights in his storied career. In August, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the nation’s highest civilian honor — by President Obama. His daughter, Kara Kennedy, accepted the award on his behalf.

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, known as Ted or Teddy, was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor in May 2008 and underwent a successful brain surgery soon after that. But his health continued to deteriorate, and Kennedy suffered a seizure while attending the luncheon following President Barack Obama’s inauguration.

ABC then attempts to spin Kennedy’s passing as an advertisement for socialized medicine:

For Kennedy, the ascension of Obama was an important step toward realizing his goal of health care reform.

At the Democratic National Convention in August 2008, the Massachusetts Democrat promised, “I pledge to you that I will be there next January on the floor of the United States Senate when we begin the great test.”

Sen. Kennedy made good on that pledge, but ultimately lost his battle with cancer.

Chappaquiddick isn’t referenced until about two thirds into the second page of the obit.

Kennedy and Chappaquiddick accounted for one of the many recent nadirs of the MSM in January of 2003, when the editors at the Boston Globe allowed this passage to see print:

“If she had lived, Mary Jo Kopechne would be 62 years old. Through his tireless work as a legislator, Edward Kennedy would have brought comfort to her in her old age,” wrote the Globe’s Charles Pierce. The quote was recognized as the worst of the year at the MRC’s DisHonors Awards in 2004.

Expect similar mythological prose from much of the legacy media in the coming days.

Update: The Wall Street Journal adds:

For much of the year, Mr. Kennedy spoke regularly about the health legislation with lawmakers including Sen. Chris Dodd (D., Conn.), his best friend in the Senate. In recent months, however, he was in touch with fewer and fewer people, and by the end he wasn’t involved in details of the negotiations.

Mr. Kennedy spent almost 47 years in the Senate, making him the third-longest serving senator in the chamber’s history, after Sen. Robert Byrd (D., W.V.) and the late Sen. Strom Thurmond (R., S.C.). The 91-year-old Mr. Byrd is still serving, but like Mr. Kennedy, he has been ailing and rarely voted in recent months.

Massachusetts holds special elections to fill its Senate vacancies, and the state is strongly Democratic, so Mr. Kennedy’s successor might not alter the Senate’s balance of power. Under state law, the election can’t take place for at least 145 days, which would leave the Democrats shorthanded until then. But before he died, Sen. Kennedy had asked Massachusetts lawmakers to change state law to give Gov. Deval Patrick, a fellow Democrat, the ability to appoint an interim successor.

Still, Mr. Kennedy was influential at the highest levels of government until the end. He was diagnosed with an incurable brain tumor in May 2008, becoming ill just when he would have enjoyed his greatest power in decades, with large Democratic majorities in Congress and a president who admired him. In July, Mr. Obama awarded Mr. Kennedy the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

His legislative accomplishments stretch to his early days in the Senate. He played a key role in 1965 immigration legislation that overturned rules favoring immigrants from Western countries; Title IX, the 1972 law aimed at ensuring equity between men and women’s educational and sports programs; the post-Watergate campaign rules of 1974; the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990; several minimum-wage increases; and President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act.

Mr. Kennedy’s influence was felt in other ways as well. He has assembled a widely admired staff over the years whose alumni have gone on to make their mark, including Stephen Breyer, a Supreme Court justice, and Melody Barnes, Mr. Obama’s domestic policy adviser.

In March, Mr. Kennedy came to the Senate floor for a final time, leaning on a cane and accompanied by his son, Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D., R.I.), to vote for a $5 billion bill he sponsored to expand public service. He was greeted with a spontaneous ovation, handshakes and embraces from colleagues of both parties.

Of the nine children of Joseph P. and Rose Kennedy, the lone survivor now is Jean Kennedy Smith, a former ambassador to Ireland.

Update: Roger L. Simon is “Thinking about Teddy Kennedy from Europe.”

Update: The starboard half of the Blogosphere reacts; the Anchoress has a thorough roundup of links.

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