Like nearly everyone who does not inhabit the left, I’ve always had deeply mixed feelings about Ted Kennedy—admiration for his dedication and accomplishments mixed with distaste for his partisan excesses and the seamy side of his personal history.
Soon the historians will go to work, putting his legacy into perspective. I believe that his decision to throw his support to Barack Obama in the Democratic primaries last year will be viewed as one of the shining moments of a remarkable political career. The easy decision would have been to support the establishment candidate. But he put the Kennedy name behind the candidate who could open a new page in American history, much as J.F.K did.
In political terms,Ted Kennedy surely will be remembered as one of our greatest senators, much as the nineteenth century triumvirate of John Calhoun, Henry Clay, and Daniel Webster are.