Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Most Nearly-Adequate President That Never Was

For me, a few hours ago, this campaign came to an end. For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.

(1980 Democratic Convention nomination concession speech; Ted lost to incumbent Jimmy Carter).

The last original Kennedy hope for the White House has passed away. Ted Kennedy is dead at 77.

The tributes are pouring in. From President Barrack Obama, from former First Lady Nancy Reagan, from former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair
, and from Canada - though while Chretien and Mulroney ooze platitudes, Prime Minister Stephen Harper says only "sympathies and condolences to the family and friends of Senator Ted Kennedy," and the statement does not appear to have been put on the PMO website.

But the youngest brother of John F. and Bobby, whose controversial,
comedic fodder providing, and occasionally deadly drinking exploits effectively ended any dreams of becoming the USA's CEO, could have been a contender, many maintain.

And his most likely opportunity? According to Hunter S. Thompson, it was 1972's Democratic Nomination contest. George McGovern was the eventual victor - and was slaughtered by Tricky Dick Nixon. After Watergate (which was a actually a secret plot to make Ted Kennedy President), Jimmy Carter took it for the Dems in a squeaker - only after, in 1980, did Ted try for the brass ring. He lost. So did Carter. Thus begat Ronald Reagan and Reaganomics, Margaret Thatcher and Brian Mulroney - paving the way for Ralph Klein, Mike Harris, and the Common-Sense Revolution.

He shoulda been a contender.

From CTV: Ed Broadbent mourns a fellow traveler

Ex-NDP Leader Ed Broadbent met Kennedy in the 1980s and described him as "very progressive right across the board."

He said they shared a lot of the same values and discussed health care many times.

"What struck me most about him was his value commitment," Broadbent said in an interview.

"Whether it's workers' rights or, later in his years, concern about the handicapped -- anything of a progressive nature -- he was instinctively on that side."

Kennedy's immense political skills coupled with his "Irish warmth" helped him get things done.

"I think, frankly, it was his capacity for affection for people . . . that enabled him to work so effectively with the Republicans. They liked him personally even though many of them detested his politics."

From the Business Pundit - Five Kennedy Quotes

1. For me, a few hours ago, this campaign came to an end. For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.

(Concession speech in campaign for nomination as the Democratic Presidential candidate

against incumbent Jimmy Carter, 1980).

2. We cannot simply speak out against an escalation of troops in Iraq, we must act to prevent it…There can be no doubt that the Constitution gives Congress the authority to decide whether to fund military action, and Congress

can demand a justification from the president for such action before it appropriates the funds to carry it out.

(Remarks to the National Press Club (9 January 2007))

3. But don’t you realize, that’s where I sail(!)

(On the Cape Wind Project, as quoted in Cape Wind : Money, Celebrity, Class, Politics, and the Battle for Our Energy Future on Nantucket Sound (2007) by Wendy Williams and Robert Whitcomb)

4. What we have in the United States is not so much a health-care system as a disease-care system.

(On health care reform, 1994)

5. The more our feelings diverge, the more deeply felt they are, the greater is our obligation to grant the sincerity and essential decency of our fellow citizens on the other side. . . .

In short, I hope for an America where neither “fundamentalist” nor “humanist” will be a dirty word, but a fair description of the different ways in which people of good will look at life and into their own souls.

I hope for an America where no president, no public official, no individual will ever be deemed a greater or lesser American because of religious doubt — or religious belief.

I hope for an America where the power of faith will always burn brightly, but where no modern inquisition of any kind will ever light the fires of fear, coercion, or angry division.

I hope for an America where we can all contend freely and vigorously, but where we will treasure and guard those standards of civility which alone make this nation safe for both democracy and diversity.

(“Truth and Tolerance in America” speech, 1983, Va. )

RIP - Senator Edward Kennedy - The Most Nearly-Adequate President That Never Was.

PS - If you're a political junkie and don't mind obscenity-laced drug culture references and ramblings, read this book.


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