The last word (not exactly) on Ted Kennedy

 

I don't have a lot more to say about Ted Kennedy, the man, or his legacy (although I am planning to comment on selecting his replacement and also on the media funeral hoopla, which did indeed rival the coverage of you-know-who -- that's why this is not exactly the last word...). But I did feel a tad lonely taking a middle-of-the-road approach last week, arguing there should be a quest for the right balance between the late senator's personal misdeeds and the good that he did as a legislator. However, over the course of few days, several other progressive bloggers did show up with a similar viewpoint. I want to highlight what I thought was a spot-on analysis by Melissa McEwan from the liberal blog Shakesville, looking back at TK from a feminist perspective:

He'd made a terrible bargain with himself, too.

Teddy's legacy, then, is complicated. A man of privilege, who used it cynically for his own benefit. A man of privilege, who used it generously to try to change the world. And maybe to salve his own conscience. Even as he believed fervently in the genuine rightness of his endeavors—and certainly would have, even if there wasn't a scale to balance.

I have no tidy conclusion. It is what it is.

Read the whole thing -- she makes an excellent point about the travesty of the William Kennedy Smith case, which I did not mention last week. There's also a very good post and a round-up from Matt Bastard (if that indeed is his real name) on the tortured mixed legacy of the last Kennedy brother.

This is an ancilliary point, I guess, but there's an argument that I've made for a long time here at Attytood that the model for journalists to break the mold of mindless objectivity is to be passionate about ideas and core principles -- but to keep a jaundiced eye upon individual politicians and their parties. What better proof than Edward Moore Kennedy, deeply flawed champion of worthy causes?

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