Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who carried aloft the torch of a Massachusetts dynasty and a liberal ideology to the citadel of Senate power, but whose personal and political failings may have prevented him from realizing the ultimate prize of the presidency, died at his home in Hyannis Port last night after a battle with brain cancer. He was 77.While we have no doubt the Democrats will do all they can to exploit his death and will probably have a Wellstone memorial on steroids, we'll stay above that.
“We’ve lost the irreplaceable center of our family and joyous light in our lives, but the inspiration of his faith, optimism, and perseverance will live on in our hearts forever,’’ his family said in a statement. “We thank everyone who gave him care and support over this last year, and everyone who stood with him for so many years in his tireless march for progress toward justice, fairness, and opportunity for all. He loved this country and devoted his life to serving it. He always believed that our best days were still ahead, but it’s hard to imagine any of them without him.’’
Overcoming a history of family tragedy, including the assassinations of a brother who was president and another who sought the presidency, Senator Kennedy seized the role of being a “Senate man.’’ He became a Democratic titan of Washington who fought for the less fortunate, who crafted unlikely deals with conservative Republicans, and who ceaselessly sought support for universal health coverage.
“Teddy,’’ as he was known to intimates, constituents, and even his fiercest enemies, was an unwavering symbol to the left and the right - the former for his unapologetic embrace of liberalism, and latter for his value as a political target. But with his fiery rhetoric, his distinctive Massachusetts accent, and his role as representative of one of the nation’s best-known political families, he was widely recognized as an American original. In the end, some of those who might have been his harshest political enemies, including former President George W. Bush, found ways to collaborate with the man who was called the “last lion’’ of the Senate.
Update: The first thing the NY Times concerns themselves with is how quickly can the Democrats replace him in order to pass ObamaCare.
While Massachusetts voters would likely vote in another Democratic senator, any delays caused by a special election could hinder efforts by the party to corral the 60 votes needed in the United States Senate to move health care legislation forward.Heck, the Democrats never concerned themselves with being rank hypocrites, so why bother now?
But the effort to find a quick replacement for Mr. Kennedy may prove complicated. In the week before his death, reaction to his request on Beacon Hill ranged from muted to hostile. The state’s Democrats found themselves in the awkward position of being asked to reverse their own 2004 initiative calling for special elections in such instances.
Instapundit links. Thanks!
Plenty of reaction via Memeorandum.
Update: Needless to say, Rush Limbaugh has been proven right before he even takes to the Golden EIB microphone today.