The Wind Takes The Lion: RIP Senator Edward M. Kennedy

images1.thumbnail.jpegIt was only a few days ago we learned Teddy Kennedy was thinking about his succession for his long held Senate seat from Massachusetts. The day has come too soon.

Senator Edward M. Kennedy has passed. "Teddy" was the senior Senator from Massachusetts and has so served in office since November 1962. Kennedy was in his eighth full (and ninth overall) term in the Senate and was the second most senior member of the Senate and the third-longest-serving senator of all time.

Senator Kennedy was born on February 22, 1932 and passed on August 25, 2009 at age 77 at his family home at Hyannis Port Masachusetts.

From Reuters:

One of the most influential and longest-serving senators in U.S. history — a liberal standard-bearer who was also known as a consummate congressional dealmaker — Kennedy had been battling brain cancer, which was diagnosed in May 2008.

Known as "Teddy," he was the brother of President John Kennedy, assassinated in 1963, Senator Robert Kennedy, fatally shot while campaigning for the 1968 Democratic presidential nomination, and Joe Kennedy, a pilot killed in World War Two.

UPDATE: Boston Globe: Statement from the Kennedy Family

"Edward M. Kennedy — the husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle we loved so deeply — died late Tuesday night at home in Hyannis Port.

"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.

"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."

UPDATE #2: Here is the full New York Times obituary, and it is very thorough.

98 replies
  1. bgrothus says:

    Ted Kennedy has been in Washington since the dawn of my political awareness. This is a great loss to our nation.

    • BooRadley says:

      I’m not in the comments as frequently as I used to be. It’s great to see your handle.

      With great affection and respect,

      John Casper

      • punaise says:

        hey, a voice from the old days! cheers, albeit on a sad evening.

        I’m around less frequently; didn’t know you had a new moniker.

  2. thejoz says:

    Maybe this is what the President needs to get his ass in gear on health care….

    RIP Senator Kennedy. A true inspiration to millions of Americans, and a man who bore way too much weight for too much of his life.

    Godspeed, Sir Lion.

    • Spotts1701 says:

      I’m with you on that – it was the Kennedy “Seal of Approval” that gave Obama the boost he needed when it looked like Hillary was going to run the table.

      Now’s the time to pay it back. Health Care Reform was Kennedy’s baby, and it deserves someone to fight for it just as hard as he did.

      And I’m sure Ted and his brothers are living it up somewhere, reunited at long last.

      • thejoz says:

        I bet they are enjoying some down time with Pope John Paul II.

        And before anyone thinks I am being too caustic to already use Kennedy’s passing as some sort of political moment, I don’t mean it that way. I am saddened at his passing, but because we cannot bring him back to us, we must use honor his memory by getting health care done.

        Obama must go full tilt for not just the nation, but his friend, colleague, and endorser. Teddy Kennedy.

        It is the least he could do.

  3. drouse says:

    I will miss him greatly. I was always enthralled listening to hin speak in the senate. There was no better orator. Not to be cold blooded, but now is the time to wave the bloody shirt in the cause of the public option. Use it whip the blue dogs into line.

  4. sanityrules says:

    I mourn the loss of a truly great American who fought for the underdog. I hope his legacy will be honored, and that those who care about the common man will work even harder to pass a single payer health care plan or one with a strong public option. My sympathy goes out to all of his family. He will be greatly missed.

      • BooRadley says:

        I am honored beyond words by your kind comment.

        My commitment to FDL is stronger than ever.

        Many of my long term efforts are aimed at providing FDL with more financial support than the modest, but sustainable level, I currently provide. My health is good and I plan on being a member of the community for the long haul.

        • openhope says:

          I have listened to your voice for a long time. Years? I’ve always considered you rational and informative, with a human voice throughout the chaos.
          Hope all goes well for you.

  5. prostratedragon says:

    A full moment.

    May our thoughts help buoy his family in this difficult season, and may his passing help the nation to remember.

  6. bgrothus says:

    Bmaz, Thanks for writing the post. I hope you read this recent obit.

    (From LAT)
    Doris Brin Walker dies at 90; radical lawyer helped acquit Angela Davis of murder. . .died Aug. 13.

  7. punaise says:

    I hate to say it, but the wingnuts are going to drag out all the garbage they can to besmirch the good Senator’s eulogies. just watch.

    • joeyess says:

      I just heard him referred to as “the last unreconstructed, F.D.R., liberal in national politics”.


      You know the world has changed when that word is used to describe a great senator. Wars, debt, corruption, lies, torture, et al: good.

      Universal health care, justice, peace, standing up for the working poor: bad.

      Christ on a crutch this country is f$ed up.

  8. Gregg Levine says:

    From the moment when he decided that seeking the presidency was not his life’s work, Ted Kennedy became one of the most effective senators of the last 100 years. I will forgive Ted NCLB tonight, but I will not forgive Max Baucus, the blue dogs, and the crack team of strategists inside the White House for allowing the health care fight to drag past recess, thus denying Kennedy the chance to see one of his great dreams come to fruition.

    Teddy Kennedy’s 1980 presidential campaign was part of my political education. I suddenly feel much older tonight.

  9. Larue says:

    As I said below, never has anyone in the public eye or in civil service lost so much and given so much of themselves for us all.

    The Liberal Lion Sleeps Tonight.

    Namaste, Senator Ted Kennedy.

    We have your torch, and the flame is lit in our hearts forever.

    • Larue says:

      Thanks . . . I still mourn the family’s losses over the decades.

      Senator Kennedy was a ‘last link’ for me of a time long ago, when hope was so bright they called it Camelot.

      As a ten year old, I learnt of the death of the president my parents SO admired, and I came to do so too as I grew older.

      At 16, the loss of RFK, and MLK, cemented the pain.

      Been mourning somewhat ever since ‘63.

      He lived a long full life, and left us with a legacy to recall, one his brothers should been able to leave for us, also.


  10. Bustednuckles says:

    The dirty fucking bastards on the Right Wing are going to have a field day with his passing for several months. Get ready for Chappaquidick 75.0

    Fuck Them.

    Ted Kennedy was a Champion of the working class and I could link to a hundred damn instances pointing to the fact that personal tragedies like the one that took the life of his girlfriend happen every fucking year all over the world.

    I ain’t apologizing for the death of a beautiful young woman in the prime of her life but I will damn well stand up for what he accomplished in his life for the average American after that.

    I would ask the first mother fucker to jump up and trash Ted Kennedy, have you never had a friend die needlessly?

    Unfortunately, sometimes that is part of life, just ask an Iraqi citizen, you stupid fuck.

  11. wmd1961 says:


    I hate to say it, but punaise @23 is right, the wingnuts will be going off on his human failings, not his great accomplishments.

    He was a fine Senator and he will be missed.

    • Larue says:

      We just can’t care what they do anymore.

      Deride them for what they are, do not feed them the attention.

      We just can’t care about them.

      They must become ghosts.

  12. EdgewaterJoe says:

    I’m not mourning until a decent health care bill is passed. I suspect that’s what the Kennedy family would want, and there will be plenty of time for tears after decent legislation is signed.

    Tomorrow I fight. The day after I weep.

    • Bustednuckles says:

      As Sad as his passing is, as sad as this clusterfuck of the Healthcare debate horseshit is, I will absolutely tell you, that Ted Kennedy was a giant proponent of the Public Option and there is going to be some sunnumbitch that is going to push this over the top with Ted’s name on it.

      I salute that Sunnumbitch for sticking it to these dirty fucking bastards trying to kill what needs to be done.

  13. Spotts1701 says:

    “The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dreams shall never die.” – Edward Kennedy

  14. Gasman says:

    As meaningful healthcare reform was a decades long cause of Sen. Kennedy’s, the current efforts should be titled “the Ted Kennedy Memorial Healthcare Act.” If the Republicans balk for even a second, change it to a true single payer system and ram it down their throats. I am sure that would please Teddy no end.

    Real reform would be a fitting tribute to the Lion of the Senate. True liberalism just lost one of its greatest exponents.

  15. bgrothus says:

    Having sat at my father’s side until he died, I can say that the last thing needed at Hyannis would have been the hoopla of helicopter and secret service.

    That dog will not hunt. I have a bit of faith in the universe. Having Ted on the other side of this reality at this point is not the worst thing. I just hope his vote is replaced before it is needed. Because his voice just got a lot louder and a lot more insistent.

  16. Larue says:

    I’m incredibly moved by of all the comments, thoughts and memories already shared here at The Lake in this thread and Suz’ below.

    And I just have to say it’s an honor to gather with the likes of all y’all to mourn and celebrate Senator Kennedy’s passing.

    I expect we will be doing so for a while, and while we continue to push for real reform.

    I gotta go. Just had to say my piece about you folks.

    Siun, Joe Hill and Ted are likely sippin some and talking dissent as we type.

    Nite all. Be well.

  17. art3 says:

    the dem party now must be what it says. kennedy fought 40 yrs to cover all americans with healthcare. we cant let him nor the people down. so obama, rahm, reid etc get yourselves together, dump those rethugs and pass this bill. the time is now. the party cannot fail. kennedy gave a god damned about the people. one of a few pols who did i think. so for you teddy i fight on.

  18. Gabriele says:

    I mourn the passing of this great man. I am sure that it broke his heart not being able to push through this legislation that was so important to him. We must pass on his legacy of caring. Several politicians have acknowledged that health insurance would already have been passed, if Senator Kennedy had not been ill. We must not allow his light to die or be dimmed. He is counting on us to continue fighting the good fight. We will not let him down. I have mourned the passing of his brothers, and have never been able to forget the tremendous grief and loss. Tonight I am lighting candles and praying. Thank you for all you have done. You are a great man. To his family I extend my condolences. May they be comforted in their loss.

  19. bmaz says:

    There have been many here commenting on the need to get a proper healthcare bill, with the public option, passed in honor of Kennedy. By the same token, at this point, the opponents are no longer the GOP, the opponents are Conrad, Bayh, Blanche Lincoln and Droopy Dog Joe Lieberman. Even more than Baucus I think, as he seems to have been woken up a fair bit by the reaction of his own constituency. The one thing that simply must not be allowed, under any circumstance, is for Rahm Emanuel and Obama to use Kennedy’s name and death as cover to continue down their path of selling out the public option, drug cost controls and proper regulatory structure in order to simply get a weak bill passed.

    • openhope says:

      You are right on target here. Unfortunately, it seems that we’ve been duped by the Dems. They’re the same money sluts we hoped they weren’t. No HOPE here.
      That leaves us to pursue this without a party to back us.
      Like spitting in the wind.
      Like being forced to form our own coalition outside of party affiliation.

  20. openhope says:

    Yes Sir, bmaz. We are on it. We will not let them slime his wishes. We will not.
    We understand our mission. Educate, refudiate. Pound the TRUTH home.
    Yes sir, we’ll do this.
    When will it feel like the common good? Sept.13 when we hit the streets. Right????

  21. Teddy Partridge says:

    From now on, until this health care battle is won, we must ask every Democratic officeholder, “Is that what Ted Kennedy wanted?” And we must hold every sorry one of them to his memory, and to his goal of universal health care for every American.

    Not insurance, not insurance reform, not health insurance reform, and certainly not a bailout for health insurance contributors.

    Health care for every American. To the United States Senate: Make it happen, you lazy shiftless worthless successors to his mantle. Just do it, for heavens sake. Be fearless liberals, like he was.

    And shame on Barack Obama for not making it happen in Senator Kennedy’s lifetime. May he always have that regret, always.

    • bmaz says:

      It really was shameful and, sadly, predictable that this would happen when Obama shamelessly did not push the bill and get it done before Congress recessed. What a pathetic clusterfuck that has resulted. It is a collar of shame on the White House and President Obama.

      • openhope says:

        Yes, it’s predictable,though. Can you imagine the threats his family is under?
        We need to be stronger, more visible. This is so much bigger than Obama.
        This is the “Family” et al pushing pressure.
        We have the information, we know the depths of the problem…………..
        It’s time to let go of the image of a “savior”. Not going to happen.
        Dick Cheney is still a player. Who are we kidding when we proclaim “A New Day”?

  22. sanityrules says:

    The work of this great man should serve to shame the blue dogs who accept huge payoffs from the insurance crooks , while turning their backs on the people. May his tireless work on behalf of the common people inspire us all to help realize one of his last great labors of love; a health care bill that is based on a common compassionate effort, not the enrichment of the small minority of aristocrats that the GOP and the shameless blue dogs serve.

  23. Teddy Partridge says:

    May this death allow President Obama to press the ‘reset’ button and announce to America that he will pursue health care for all, the cause of Senator Kennedy’s life.

  24. Crosstimbers says:

    I was a sophomore in college when Ted Kennedy was elected to the Senate and, with the exception of his challenge to Carter in 1980, have supported all of the political causes Ted Kennedy supported. I opposed that move, not because I disagreed with Senator Kennedy on the issues, but because it divided the party and helped bring on a Reagan victory. I will greatly miss the last of the brothers. As we all know, he endorsed President Obama, who did introduce health care reform very early in his administration, despite a host of other huge national problems facing him. Everything we know indicates that Kennedy supported President Obama and I would be surprised to hear that he had any nasty language about Obama near the end. Unless I hear otherwise, I will believe that Chris Dodd, Ted’s best friend in the Senate, has and will make every effort to represent Senator Kennedy’s viewpoint.

  25. mrsanfran says:

    President Obama was trying to sell us out until we pushed back this past week. Unfortunately the first guy in the white house after the progressive pushback was Tom Daschle. What does that tell you? They are looking for another way to package an industry favored bill and call it health reform.

  26. openhope says:

    Basically, we’re back to the Vigilance thing. So, we can do that,right?
    We’ve been doing it for so long…what’s a few more years. Consider the alternative.
    I was so hopeful that our America was waking up to the reality of her actions.
    I’m not ready to give that dream a funeral.

  27. sanityrules says:

    Morning Joe is already sadly recalling the Chappaquidic incident. So this is the GOP and blue dog plan, praise Ted Kennedy somewhat and make him look like a freak for being a true liberal, and every chance bring up the ancient history of the accident so the right wingers can get their jollies. Makes me sick.
    They have three decent left leaning shows at night, on msnbc to go up against an almost entire conservative line up on the other news networks.Not to mention the wing nuts on faux and just about all of talk radio.So msnbc does not have to feel obligated to put Joe and his sidwkick Buchannon on to sour the thoughtful people’s morning.
    Rest in Peace , Senator Kennedy, and may your health care legacy someday soon join the many other fine reforms you helped pass for the average citizen. Blue dogs , better not work against Senator Kennedy’s government funded health plan, or you may find yourselves out of office next electon cycle. We will take careful note of those who support a single payer or strong public option plan , and those who do not.

  28. BayStateLibrul says:

    Thanks BMAZ, I love the words “The Wind takes the Lion”
    I loved Teddy too.
    Very sad day here…
    May he rest in peace…

  29. Neil says:

    Ted loved sailing on Nantucket Sound, which he was able to do right up until the last days of his life. Bmaz’s post title makes me think about Ted sailing on the sound. That’s the way I’d like to remember him.

  30. becca656 says:

    My guess is that, while Obama probably wanted to visit Ted, he was told he couldn’t or that it wouldn’t be any kind of productive. When my mother died of cancer about two years ago, the last few days of her life, she was in a coma. Ted wouldn’t have even known Obama was there and Obama wouldn’t have gotten any last wisdom from Ted. Obama knows what he has to do now, As those above have stated, he’s gotta make this all about Ted’s legacy.

    We, the people, have to get behind Obama. Obama’s perceived failure on this is nothing of the sort. As I continually remind people, the President can only recommend legislation – he cannot write it or get it passed. The idiots in Congress are the ones responsible for this debacle, on both sides of the aisle.

    The sooner we remember who’s responsible for what in this travesty, the sooner we know who to smack around and then we can get something done.

    • bmaz says:

      No, Obama has exhibited a startling lack of leadership compass on the healthcare bill; he is very much responsible for where we are.

  31. becca656 says:

    Funny how right you guys can be.

    I copied the quote from Ted Kennedy on to my Facebook status. “The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dreams shall never die.” – Edward Kennedy.

    One of my right-wing friends immediately commented: Mary Jo Kopechne (July 26, 1940 – July 18, 1969)

    Doesn’t say much good about us when we have to speak badly of the dead, does it?

  32. klynn says:

    Senator Kennedy,

    Thank you for being my hero the summer I was eleven years old. I was scared and you, with your kids,nieces and nephews came to my rescue.

    Thanks for your compliments on my great football arm and your, “I wouldn’t expect anything less from a Buckeye!” shout out. Thanks for showing me that learning how to sail is a joy as long as the captain is a positive teacher with a respect for the student and the sea.

    Thanks for teaching me how to dig for cohogs. It was fun to win the “biggest cohog find!” and be included in your family fun. I hope the pot of chowder that night was extra wonderful and that a family pot of chowder is being made in heaven.

    I am forever grateful for your kindness and your example of compassion.

  33. SanderO says:

    Ted Kennedy was a champion of the people – all the people – consistent through the decades like the sun which rises and sets each day.

    The senate will not be the same without him, but hopefully it will be better because of him.

    Thanks Mr. Kennedy, You did good.


  34. DonQuisadorme says:

    Why misuse the word “passed”, instead of saying “died”? You make the Senator sound like a kidney stone.

  35. inmymindseye says:

    My one hope is that liberals and progressives will be inspired by Senator Kennedy’s life’s long passion of quality affordable healthcare for all Americans and push beyond hard to force the hands of their senators and congress people to get it done.

    For you Teddy.

    Let’s go…

    • Leen says:


      Tears across the U.S. around the world for a man who walked the compassion, empathetic talk. Always inspiring us to look out for the other guy or gal!

      He set the bar high for all of us. As Biden said this morning “it was never about him it was always about you”

      Through the tears and sadness. Teddy and Eunice would tell us to “get going”

  36. Leen says:

    Tears falling across our nation and around the world..(my eyes are so puffy I will be wearing sun glasses for the day)
    Some of the words that I heard on CNN this morning describing our beloved Senator Kennedy.
    “irreplaceable, tenacious, monumental, legendary”

    “genuine icon”…”enormous strength”…….”fighting from the heart”….”strength and power combined with compassion”…..”humanity evident at all times”……

    Biden’s remarks were most moving

    “spent a lifetime focused on a more fair and just America”
    “restored my sense of idealism and possibilities”
    “his enthusiasm was infectious”
    “never petty or small”
    “in the process of doing he made everybody bigger”
    “so many of his foes embrace him”
    “an anchor”
    “he changed the political landscape for 50 years”
    “it was never about him it was always about you”
    “he helped people look at themselves and look at one another more fairly”

    Senator Kennedy’s example has inspired so many of us. His example encouraged so many of us to try to be better, more compassionate and empathetic people. His endless example of walking the talk sets the bar high for all of us.

    Prayers for all of the Kennedy family. Two of the treasures in their family Eunice and Ted passing in one month is tragic. We know the spirit of giving back is deep in that family’s soul.

  37. Hmmm says:

    Few have lived so well, few have lost so much. I’m so grateful for Ted, and hope his family find solace in the gifts he gave America, and in that solace find their peace.

  38. PJEvans says:

    If they’d wanted to pass the health-insurance bill for Teddy, they could have had it done and signed already – they’ve had more than enough time – while he was still alive to witness it. But the #$%^&*s in the Senate slow-walked it, and now they’re going to make it into a memorial bill after they’ve made sure that only the insurance companies will benefit.

  39. sanityrules says:

    It would pay honor to a great man and humanitarian for all of us and hopefuly the media as well, to keep the praise of Teddy continuing long past the seemingly endless Jackson celebrations. More importantly , we should tie this in closely with a single payer or public option special Kennedy health care reform bill. Keep this in front of the blue dogs and the public. Stifle the fake ignorant rage of the wingnuts,and let them see and hear the worthy praise until they are sick of it. How many years did their heroes try to sicken and frighten us with their fake color-coded terror meter? Let our voices and blogs keep praising Teddy until Rush and Hannity, and Beck and their group can no longer contain there nastiness but spew their hatred and corporate promoting interests for all to see.Let the blue dogs feel the pressure as we compare them with a true Democrat.

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