By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Kennedy’s dramatic speech

We won’t have a more dramatic moment all week than Ted Kennedy’s speech. I was stunned — I figured he’d wave and say a couple of words. Instead, he delivered one of his patented stem-winders.

If his health continues to improve, it’s easy to imagine his returning to the Senate next January, as he vowed to do.

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  1. Esther

    I was surprised too at how forceful he sounded. I got a little teary when he said “the torch will be passed.” And he’s absolutely right about health care for all Americans – it’s a right, not a privilege.

  2. mike_b1

    With all due respect, would esther or someone please point to the place in the Constitution where it says that?

  3. Esther

    Oh c’mon, I don’t think there’s anything in the Constitution about the right to a free, public education but wouldn’t you agree that Americans have the right to one? Or is that a privilege?

  4. O-FISH-L

    No matter the favorability rating Ted may have locally, and as inspiring as his struggle with cancer may be, I’m not sure I’d have allowed him a speaking role, or even that particular film package, at a convention in a national race that is so close. Obama is a shrewd man, so I’m sure it was no accident Ted wasn’t allowed any live national network airtime. The boilerplate he spoke about “family” while omitting any mention of the struggling mother of his children and the insulting rhetoric on lopsided health care for the rich as he flies around the country on private jets to see only the best specialists was just too much to take. How about the symbolism of showing him enjoying the waters off Cape Cod, with no mention of the person whose life he ended there? The time is nigh, so if the film had shown him in a rocker or a hospital bed, asking forgiveness, or even alluding to his many failings, while urging one last favor, a vote for Obama, that would have been classy and inspirational. Humility goes a long way, especially for the ill.For every senior citizen reminiscing about Ted’s brother in Camelot, the reality is that to the under 60 set, especially outside of MA, Ted conjures up images of Chappaquiddick, LaBrasserie and AuBar. Not good.Perhaps if it hadn’t been televised it would have been effective red meat for the convention crowd, but with so many voters having doubts about Obama, Ted’s enthusiastic support will only help further drive them away.For all his faults, at the height of his power, Billy Bulger knew that he was poison outside his own district. When Billy dared endorse a statewide candidate (Dr. Silber) the results weren’t good. Ted too, is poison outside of his district, now Obama must hope that the passage of time provides a sort of syrup of ipecac so that the undecideds and any left leaning Republicans will be cleared of tonight’s toxic brew.

  5. mike_b1

    esther, laws and funding governing public education are left to the states, as they should be. And no, I don’t think education should be federally mandated. The Constitution establishes our government’s structure. By design, the Framers left most lawmaking to the States. I’m not a fan of messing with their vision.The idea of what’s a right and what’s a privilege (and what’s dumb luck) is open to plenty of debate.

  6. Aaron Read

    For every senior citizen reminiscing about Ted’s brother in Camelot, the reality is that to the under 60 set, especially outside of MA, Ted conjures up images of Chappaquiddick, LaBrasserie and AuBar. Not good.You’re joking, right? For the under-60 crowd most of them can’t even SPELL Chappaquiddick…much less tell you what happened there. As has been oft lamented, you can’t get peoples’ attention for 24 seconds in today’s hyperfast news cycle, much less 24 hours. Something that happened more than 24 years ago might as well have never happened.Many Massachusetts folks drastically overestimate how much the rest of the country cares about the minutae of the politics there. Romney was a prime example; I was amazed by how little my fellow Western New Yorkers – even those in the news media – knew about him even as late as the Iowa Caucuses…and this was a governor from an adjacent state. While, obviously, Kennedy’s past is not minutae to the Kopechne family, it largely was for most of the country. My God, the man won ten primaries in an election barely a decade later…how can you expect the electorate to remember, or care, another 28 years after THAT?At this point, I suspect that what most Americans could tell you about Kennedy stems from, at most, three things:1. His public persona is a caricature based on Mayor Quimby of The Simpsons.2. He’s had two famous brothers that were assassinated. (maybe people know this, MAYBE)3. More recently, he has a brain tumor and that is sad.Pathetically, that’s about it. The more enlightened could probably hazard a guess that he’s a Senator (instead of a Rep) and probably that he’s old and been there a while, so maybe he’s got some power or something?

  7. mike_b1

    fish, The timing of Kennedy’s speech probably had more to do with whether he’d be physically able to do it than anything else. Not sure where you get this idea he is “poison” outside his “district” (read: 14th largest state). To the Klan in Alabama, sure. But to everyone else? Where’s your data?

  8. O-FISH-L

    Mike, for anecdotal evidence you had Ted Kennedy shadowing John Kerry throughout the 2004 race, one the Democrats should have swept, or at least won, but didn’t. Believe me, those who embrace Ted are already voting Democrat, those who are wary of him and undecided may be pushed away by seeing him close to the nominee. For statistical data, check out the reults from the 1980 Democrat primary. Ted is indeed poison on a national scale, especially when you consider Jimmy Carter beat him badly then went on to be trounced himself, losing 44 states! The delegate tally at the convention was in part:Jimmy Carter – 2,129.02 Ted Kennedy – 1,150.48 14 others – 66.5

  9. mike_b1

    1980?!? That’s your basis?Hehehe. How many houses do you have?

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