Friday, August 28, 2009

RIP Senator Edward Kennedy

Ted Kennedy was not a man without problems. You had the embarrassment if not crime of Chappaquiddick. You had the boozing and the womanizing. You can't overlook that as part of his life and legacy. But I have a lot more respect for Senator Kennedy than some of my fellow Republicans.

Senator Kennedy stood up for what he believed in. You knew what constituency he supported and he was remarkably consistent in standing up for that constituency. That's why big name Republicans found a friendship with the Lion of the Senate and were able to work with him on issues. They respected him because he was consistent philosophically and not a situational liberal, like so many Democrats are today.

While no one should emulate Kennedy's private life, local Democrats would be well advised to emulate Kennedy's public life. Most are liberals only when it is convenient. They have no problem supporting corporate welfare and soaking working men and women to give away money away to big money interests. As far as standing up for the poor and downtrodden, local Democrats will do that if they think there is something to gain politically in doing so. Local Democrats, like local Republicans, practice a form of elitist politics which places the needs and wishes of ordinary Americans well behind the interests of big money interests which dominate this City's politics.

That is not the lesson of Kennedy's career.


Doug said...

This reminds me of something that crossed my mind earlier this morning -- so this comment isn't a direct response to your post, but it's related.

It was a lot easier for the Kennedys to be champions of causes because of Joe Sr.'s money. Not having to grub in the dirt for your dinner or shelter gives you a lot more flexibility in life. To the Kennedys credit, they have generally used that flexibility in a more productive way than many folks who are similarly situated. But they did have options not available to most folks.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Doug, where I really think it opened doors was giving Kennedys the opportunity to pursue public service. Most people worry about how to pay the mortgage and put that next meal on the table. When you don't have to worry about such things, it provides a lot of opportunities. I'm not sure the Kennedys would have succeeded had they started out as poor working class indviduals.