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Favorable or Unfavorable #488: Ted Kennedy


Favorable or Unfavorable #488: Ted Kennedy  

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  2. 2. Favorable or Unfavorable #488: Ted Kennedy

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Ted Kennedy (MA-D) is probably actually the greatest Kennedy because he probably has more tangible accomplishments than all other Kennedys combined. Despite this, he's often kind of ranked #3 in the list of great Kennedys. I think this would still be the case even if he were a choir boy. There was something flashier about JFK and RFK. Ted Kennedy's charisma was something different, but it might be because he didn't run for president until his hair was mostly gray. 

I think in 50 years, Ted Kennedy will be thought of in the same way that Daniel Webster and Robert Taft were in their times--the major Senator with the most name recognition for a specific era. Kennedy was in on about every major law from the 1960s to the 2000s. 

I met Ted Kennedy in 2008 and shook his hand, which felt like a fleshy doorknob. He had just given an impassioned speech and was joined by Joseph P Kennedy II and one of Lyndon B Johnson's descendants. His entire speech was given in full passion, full volume. He always sounds like he's about to lose his voice, and this is why. He began his speech by giving us the directions from the airport to the location. People cheered as he mentioned street names they recognized. It was interesting to notice that. The speech ended with him comparing Obama to his brothers. A couple of days later Barack Obama visited, and I got to meet him too because I was lucky enough to get in the VIP section. Just a few days later I moved from San Marcos TX to NYC for 5 years. Bill Clinton was also in San Marcos that same week, but I didn't learn about it until after it had happened. 

His actions:

Kennedy, Ted 1962 30-year old brother of the president wins US Sen of MA special election
Kennedy, Ted 1964 Nearly killed in deadly plane crash, suffering major internal injuries
Kennedy, Ted 1965 Major role in the Immigration Act, which abolished the quota system
Kennedy, Ted 1968 delivers famous eulogy for brother RFK
Kennedy, Ted 1968 Declines to be a candidate when urged to after death of brother; Draft movement to make him president formed
Kennedy, Ted 1968 Declines consideration for VP
Kennedy, Ted 1969 elected Dem party whip, thrusting him into leadership position
Kennedy, Ted 1969 bridge accident at Chappaquiddick soils his name for a time, when he was considered clear frontrunner for 1972 election
Kennedy, Ted 1970 Introduces single payer universal healthcare system, but it doesn't take off
Kennedy, Ted 1971 Loses Dem Party whip position to Robert Byrd, partially over Chappaquiddick scandal
Kennedy, Ted 1971 A lead role in the National Cancer Act of 1971
Kennedy, Ted 1972 Fails in attempt to block Kleindienst nomination
Kennedy, Ted 1972 Despite frontrunner status, declines to run for pres; Refuses McGovern offer later to be Dem VP
Kennedy, Ted 1973 grills L. Patrick Gray on Watergate
Kennedy, Ted 1974 Failed attempt at universal healthcare bill
Kennedy, Ted 1975 Uses influence to help pass Indochina Migration Act
Kennedy, Ted 1976 Despite polling as frontrunner declines to run for pres amid new questions of Chappaquiddick emerging
Kennedy, Ted 1978 attacks Carter at midterm party conference
Kennedy, Ted 1978 calls final energy bill a monstrosity
Kennedy, Ted 1978 drafts hospital cost containment bill
Kennedy, Ted 1978 bitter fight with Pres Carter over national health insurance
Kennedy, Ted 1980 challenges Carter from the left in Dem primary but loses despite initially out-polling Carter
Kennedy, Ted 1980 resonant liberal speech at Dem convention considered one of the best speeches of all time
Kennedy, Ted 1984 Once again polling as frontrunner for Dem nom, but declines to run, possibly because of Reagan's popularity
Kennedy, Ted 1985 He and Chris Dodd, while drunk, allegedly sexually assault a waitress at a DC restaurant
Kennedy, Ted 1987 leads fight against Bork nomination
Kennedy, Ted 1988 Once again polling strongly for pres but declines to run
Kennedy, Ted 1988 A lead role in Civil Rights Restoration Act
Kennedy, Ted 1988 Negotiated and directed passage of Am w/ Disabilities Act
Kennedy, Ted 1989 Paparazzi photograph him having sex on a motorboat with a much younger woman in Europe, causing scandal
Kennedy, Ted 1989 Introduc Immigration Act of 1990
Kennedy, Ted 1990 Introduces Civil Rights Bill of 1990, but it is vetoed
Kennedy, Ted 1991 Negotiated w/ GOP and Southern Dems to push through passage of Civil Rights Act of 1991
Kennedy, Ted 1992 Backs fellow MA-man Tsongas for pres in Dem primary
Kennedy, Ted 1994 First US Senator to have home page on the internet
Kennedy, Ted 1994 advises Clinton to nominate Breyer to the SC
Kennedy, Ted 1994 wins reelection against relatively strong challenge from Mitt Romney
Kennedy, Ted 1995 Leads push for first minimum wage increase in ages
Kennedy, Ted 1996 Namesake of Kennedy-Kassenbaum Health Insurance Act
Kennedy, Ted 1997 Helped tag Children's health insurance to Balanced Budget Amdt
Kennedy, Ted 1998 Added a major staffer to help boost Clinton's legal defense team during impeachment
Kennedy, Ted 2001 Co-authors No Child Left Behind
Kennedy, Ted 2002 Broke w/ majority of his party by opposing Iraq War Resolution.
Kennedy, Ted 2004 Major backer for Kerry for Dem nom in the primaries and general election
Kennedy, Ted 2007 Negotiated w/ GOP and helped lead on Comprehinsive Immigration Reform (Kennedy-Kyl)
Kennedy, Ted 2007 Influential Senate Health Committee Chair. 4th and final time to serve as chair of this committee (and earlier incarnations). Serves about 12 years total.
Kennedy, Ted 2008 Crucial endorsement of Obama prior to Super Tuesday swung support away from H Clinton
Kennedy, Ted 2009 Made tie-breaking vote to kill the fillibust on Recovery Act (dying not too long after this vote)
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A lot of his personal life stuff almost cancels out all the good he did. If he weren't so prolific in passing useful legislation, then he'd certainly be unfavorable. If not for his 2008 endorsement, we might have had president Hillary Clinton giving her inauguration in 2009. 

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He did a lot of good for America politically, but I just can't get over Chappaquiddick. I mean, the guy basically killed a woman, and got off without a real investigation even being started.

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