Edward M. Kennedy
|Edward Moore Kennedy|
|U.S. Senator from Massachusetts|
From: November 7, 1962 – August 25, 2009
|Predecessor||Benjamin A. Smith|
|Spouse(s)||Joan Bennett Kennedy (1958-1982)|
Victoria Reggie Kennedy
Edward Moore ("Ted" or "Teddy") Kennedy, (February 22, 1932 - August 25, 2009) was the third longest-serving U.S. Senator in history, a Democrat from Massachusetts. He was a leading liberal force in American politics, opposing free market solutions in everything from education to health care. He pushed for federal taxpayer funding of education in the 1960s, poverty programs in the 1970s, disability coverage in the 1980s; education again in the 2000s and immigration (both in tandem with President George W. Bush); throughout his Senate career -- and especially in 2009 until the day he died -- he promoted socialized medicine.
Ted Kennedy always led the most liberal side of the Democratic Party, from support for taxpayer-funded abortion to same-sex marriage. Kennedy played the instrumental role in blocking a referendum on same-sex marriage in Massachusetts. Kennedy tried and failed to win the White House and was ousted in his Senator leadership role by Robert Byrd, who defeated him for Majority Whip in 1971.
Kennedy exerted enormous power thanks to his seniority and committee chairmanships, his willingness to work with Republicans, his unusually energetic staff, and the celebrity accorded the most famous name in politics. More than any senator in recent decades he was the master of legislative legerdemain: handling negotiations over broad policy goals, vetting the smallest details, negotiating with the concerned lobbyists, orchestrating the public hearings, briefing and leaking to the media, crafting compromises, cutting deals with the White House and with Republicans, and designing a legislative path through committee and onto the floor to get his legislation passed.
Kennedy garnered the nickname "Lion of the Senate" for his long and vigorous career in public service. In the club-like atmosphere of the U.S. Senate, Kennedy enjoyed personal support from Washington insiders. But outside of Washington, Rev. Thomas Euteneuer had a more objective view of his fellow Catholic: "It is not enough for Kennedy to have been a 'great guy behind the scenes' as we have seen him referred to even by his political opponents. ... Every indication of Senator Kennedy's career, every public appearance, every sound bite showed an acerbic, divisive and partisan political hack for whom party politics were much more infallible than Church doctrines."
The Kennedy Family has been a major part of the Democratic Party for a century, beginning with his grandfather as mayor of Boston, his older brothers President John F. Kennedy (assassinated in 1963) and Robert F. Kennedy (assassinated in 1968) and their special needs sister Rosemary. Despite the family's immense financial resources she was shunted off to an institution in Wisconsin at the age of 23 and spent her entire life abandoned by the family where she died alone in 2005 at the age of 86. Ted Kennedy was long a presumptive nominee for president himself, but the Chappaquiddick scandal in 1969 caused him to delay his candidacy until 1980, when he was defeated by the unpopular incumbent Democratic President Jimmy Carter.
Kennedy was raised Roman Catholic, and though he disagreed with church leaders on such issues of abortion and homosexual rights, he was described by USA Today "as a devout Catholic who clung to his religion's belief in the potential for human redemption". His mother, Rose Kennedy, was a strong Catholic who often attended Mass twice daily. She once told her now adult son that he was guaranteed to go to heaven if he went to Mass seven straight Fridays. Ted's close friend Dick Clasby recalls, "So Ted and I went seven Fridays, and that was it,".. that was the deal." As a politician, Ted Kennedy aggressively promoted taxpayer-funded abortion and same-sex marriage in direct violation of Catholic teaching.
Regent University School of Government Dean Charles Dunn sees Kennedy as one who turned from his Family's conservative roots.
He gradually in metamorphosis moved from the right of center theologically and politically to the far left of center, so he left the mooring spiritually of his mother and ideologically and politically of his father.
From a 1971 letter to Catholic League member Tom Dennelly, Republican activist and writer Deal Hudson quotes Kennedy as stating,
It is my personal feeling that the legalization of abortion on demand is not in accordance with the value which our civilization places on human life. Wanted or unwanted, I believe that human life, even at its earliest stages, has certain rights which must be recognized; the right to be born, the right to life, the right to grow old.
Kennedy also wrote:
When history looks back to this era it should recognize this generation as one which cared about human beings enough to halt the practice of war, to provide a decent living for every family, and to fulfill its responsibility to its children from the very moment of conception.
Later, in 1983, Kennedy spoke of his faith in a speech in 1983 at the late Jerry Falwell's Liberty Baptist College, now called Liberty University, stating that "I am an American and a Catholic; I love my country and treasure my faith", but expressed that there was no monopoly on truth, while suggesting that "God has taken no position on the Department of Education."
While some Catholics agree with Kennedy's moral policies, other express certain dismay over his promotion of abortion, homosexuality, and other sins which are contrary to the Bible as well as official Catholic teaching. Kennedy had a 100 percent score from the abortion-rights group NARAL on abortions, and 0 percent from the National Right to Life Committee.
Kennedy apparently suffered no official church discipline for his contrary actions, and was reported to be attending Mass regularly in February, 2009. The priest at the Kennedys’ parish on Cape Cod, Mark Hession, made regular visits to the Kennedy home this summer and held a private family Mass in the living room every Sunday.
Among other schools, Kennedy attended Fessenden School, and later the private Milton Academy, earning only C grades. He was admitted to Harvard University as a "legacy", due to his father and older brothers having attended there. In 1951, Kennedy was expelled from Harvard for cheating, having paid a classmate to take a Spanish test for him. His father, Joseph P. Kennedy, former U.S. Ambassador to England, worked with the Boston Globe's top political editor on how to blunt the impact of this revelation. His father further advised him to refrain from cheating, stating, "you're not clever enough." After his expulsion, Kennedy enlisted in the United States Army, applying for a position in Army intelligence at Fort Holabird, Maryland. He departed abruptly after a background investigation "linked him to a group of 'pinkos.'" He received no special treatment according to his sergeant, but his father worked to keep his son out the Korean War. Instead, in 1952 Kennedy was assigned to the NATO honor guard in Paris, France. Kennedy failed to advanced beyond the rank of Private, and upon being discharged he returned to Harvard, subsequently graduating in 1956. Kennedy also graduated from the University of Virginia law school in 1959, where he was the winner of the William Minor Lile Moot Court Competition. Harvard University later bestowed an honorary degree on Kennedy when he was 76-years-old, featuring remarks by Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, and a performance by cellist Yo-Yo Ma. 
Life and careerJohn F. Kennedy, elected President. After passing his bar exam and briefly serving as an assistant district attorney, Kennedy was elected to Senator in 1962, with the help of his Presidential brother's maneuvering, and was re-elected to that office eight times. On. Nov. 22. 1963, Ted Kennedy suffered the death of his brother and President, due to assassination. Kennedy was seriously injured in a plane crash in 1964, which broke his back in nineteen places. As a result Kennedy suffered back and neck pain for the remainder of his life.
June 5,1968 saw the assassination of his brother, Senator Robert F. Kennedy. The following year, Kennedy drove his car off a bridge at Chappaquiddick, Mass., and managed to escape, but failed to rescue his passenger, campaign worker Mary Jo Kopechne from drowning, and did not notify authorities till the next day.
In addition to the death of his two brothers, in 1941, Ted's oldest sister, Rosemary Kennedy, secretly underwent an new operation called a prefrontal lobotomy, which in the 1930's was promoted as a great advance in the treatment of the often violent agitation which the mildly retarded, but previously good natured Rosemary was manifesting in her early twenties. Her father Joseph believed this was best, and apparently without telling his wife, consented to the operation. However, the lobotomy was a tragic failure, resulting in Rosemary living apart from her family for 50 years in a care facility in Wisconsin, until her death in 2005.
In 1980, Kennedy campaigned to become the Democratic nominee for president, but lost to incumbent Jimmy Carter. Problems with alcohol and martial fidelity followed him, and in 1984 he divorced his wife of 24 years. He later became the object of more controversy in 1991, when after the end of a night out with the senator, his nephew William Smith was charged with raping a woman. Although Smith was acquitted, the media attention negatively affected Kennedy. In 1992, Kennedy remarried, to Washington lawyer Victoria Reggie. Kennedy also was the subject of controversy regarding his alleged advisement to the Soviet Union during the Presidency of Ronald Regan.
During his career as Senator, Kennedy is credited with several legislative endeavors, primarily in liberal goals in welfare, civil rights, and education. He was instrumental in passing Head Start (part of the 1964 Economic Opportunity Act), and promoted the No Child Left Behind Act, as well as increases in minimum wage, and fought for unrestricted access to abortion, even in late term, and voted against the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. He repeatedly sought to pass hate crimes legislation, such as would penalize discrimination against homosexuals and women, and voted against DOMA. Kennedy was a strong supporter of the 1965 Hart-Celler Act, which signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, which dramatically changed US immigration policy and numbers.
During his tenure on the Senate Judiciary Committee Kennedy was an outspoken critic of conservative Supreme Court nominees, such as Robert Bork, Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito. He also supported nuclear reduction treaties, and worked for more student aid for GIs, and led opposition to the Iraq war.
Kennedy's success as a Senator was partly attributed to his ability to manage people. Thomas M. Rollins, former staff director of the Labor Committee, stated, "He's a genius at managing people." "Kennedy uses staff people the way Pony Express riders used horses: Ride 'em hard and then leap to another horse". His staff was one of the Senate's largest, with nearly 100 professionals and several dozen interns and visiting fellows.
On July 18, 1969, and close to midnight, Senator Kennedy drove away from a party on the island of Martha's Vineyard with an attractive young woman named Mary Jo Kopechne, 28, a former aide to his brother Robert. In what he later described as an accident, Kennedy made an unusual turn onto an unlit dirt road and then across a small, unrailed wooden bridge connecting Chappaquiddick Island to Martha's Vineyard. The car went off the bridge and landed upside down in the water, where Kopechne then drowned. Kennedy did not report the incident to the police until the next morning, and his statement then was implausible to many Americans.
This death became a national scandal and hurt Kennedy's image. He entered a plea of guilty to a charge of leaving the scene of an accident after causing injury, but did not serve any time in jail in a sentence criticized for its leniency towards a member of a prominent family.
G. Gordon Liddy, the mastermind of the Watergate break in, told an interviewer his unauthorized burglary of Democratic National Committee headquarters was motivated by a desire to find information on the Chappaquiddick coverup.\
- MUDD: Do you think, Senator, that anybody really will ever fully believe your explanation for Chappaquiddick?
- KENNEDY: Well the problem is that from that night I found that the conduct and behavior almost beyond belief myself.
Kennedy's response in the third person, "the conduct," was viewed by many as failure to accept personal responsibility.
According to Newsweek’s Ed Klein, Kennedy loved to hear and tell Chappaquiddick jokes, and was always eager to know if anyone had heard any new ones. 
Kennedy was frequently mentioned as a possible Democratic presidential candidate in 1972 and 1976. However, he chose not to run due to his controversial past and claimed to have family concerns after his two brothers were assassinated. But in 1980 he decided to challenge incumbent President Jimmy Carter for the Democratic nomination. Though Carter was unpopular, Kennedy failed in his effort to supplant him as the party's nominee.
Kennedy gained a reputation as a very liberal Senator, even further to the left than most Democrats. He had a pro-choice voting record. He voted against confirming Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court of the United States and was in the minority of his own party to vote against confirming John Roberts to the Court. On immigration Kennedy had been a strong supporter of amnesty for illegal aliens. He voted against the war in Iraq and Kennedy was one only five senators who had publicly announced support for same-sex marriage .
In addition to many other bills, Kennedy played a key role in the crafting the language in the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (Public Law 107-110), a massive education bill signed into law by Republican President George W. Bush.
He was most recently Chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, where the first bill he pushed through was an increase in the minimum wage by $2.10, to $7.25.
Final Illness and Death
On May 20, 2008, Kennedy was diagnosed with a brain tumor, which was treated with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. He succumbed to the disease on August 25, 2009.
Despite his pro-abortion stance throughout his life, his Catholic funeral was held at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Basilica in the Mission Hill section of Boston. The senator was buried beside his brothers in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
Kennedy's memoir True Compass was published three weeks after his death.
- How Ted delivered marriage to Massachusetts
- Republican Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said "he's like a brother to me," while Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) said that he has "the highest respect for him," calling him a "skillful, fair, and generous partner" in the times they have worked together. President Obama called Kennedy "the greatest United States Senator of our time."
- Peter Canellos; Last Lion: The Fall and Rise of Ted Kennedy pp. 45-48
- Revealing Statistics; Differences Between Denominations
- NYTimes.com After Diagnosis, Determined to Make a ‘Good Ending’ (August 26, 2009)
- Laurence Leamer, The Kennedy Men: 1901-1963 (HarperCollins, 2002) ISBN 0060502886, p. 309
- Peter Canellos; Last Lion: The Fall and Rise of Ted Kennedy, pp. 39,40
- Adam Clymer; Edward M. Kennedy: A Biography
- Steve LeBlanc, Associated Press; Harvard to Honor Ted Kennedy, Once Expelled for Cheating (Monday, December 01, 2008)
- Daniel J. Flynn, Ted Kennedy's Last Will and Testament (Aug. 21, 2009
- Vincent Bzdek; The Kennedy Legacy: Jack, Bobby and Ted and a Family Dream Fulfilled, pp. 33-35
- Howard Dully, Charles Fleming; My lobotomy: a memoir, p. 67
- Michael O'Brien, John F. Kennedy: a biography, pp. 172-74
- Richard E. Burke, Marilyn Hoffer, William Hoffer; The Senator: My Ten Years with Ted Kennedy, pp. 225,26
- Biography of Ted Kennedy
- Press, Timeline of Sen. Kennedy's life.
- Bonnie Malkin and agencies in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, Ted Kennedy timeline (Aug 26, 2009)
- Jamie Glazov; Ted Kennedy and the KGB FrontPageMagazine.com (Thursday, May 15, 2008)
- Rick Atkinson, The Washington Post; Why Ted Kennedy Can't Stand Still, (Sunday, April 29, 1990)
- Richard Lacayo; Ted Kennedy, 1932-2009: The Brother Who Mattered Most', Time Inc. (Aug. 26, 2009)
- G. Gordon Liddy Interview by John Hawkins.
- Former Newsweek Foreign Editor: Chappaquiddick One of Ted's 'Favorite Topics of Humor', Newsbusters.org, August 28, 2009
- Ted Kennedy's funeral planned at Boston church.
- FBI FOIA Investigation on Chappaquiddick
- Ted Kennedy and the KGB Jamie Glazov, FrontPageMagazine.com (Thursday, May 15, 2008)