The Passing of Senator Edward Kennedy
This piece states that Kennedy was elected minority whip of the Senate in 1969. Actually, he was majority whip (assistant leader), as the Democrats were the majority in the Senate from 1955 until 1981.
It's also worth noting that the Kennedy family was largely responsible for turning Massachusetts into a solidly Democratic state. When Tip O'Neill became speaker of the Massachusetts House in the 1940s, he was the first-ever Democratic speaker. ~~ SR
by Peter Marshall | August 27, 2009
“The times they are a’changin'.”
Bob Dylan’s famous lyrics came to mind as I pondered the Tuesday death of Ted Kennedy, following his 15-month battle with brain cancer. His death puts an end to a 47-year tenure in the U.S. Senate – the third longest in history, after Strom Thurmond of South Carolina and Robert Byrd of West Virginia, who is still serving. But Kennedy’s passing marks an even more significant milestone: it signals the passing of an era – in several respects.
First, with Teddy’s death the Kennedy mystique is finally over. Camelot is finished. To that I can say a hearty “thank God!” In the four decades plus that Teddy was in the Senate, people all over the country used to ask me: “why do you people up there in Massachusetts keep electing this guy?” My answer always was: “You have to understand the Kennedy mystique. It makes no sense until you understand that.”
It was partially that the Irish have run Massachusetts politics forever (remember Speaker of the [U. S.] House Tip O’Neill?), and the Kennedys were the Irish Mafia’s “Dons.” (By the way, an ironic fact about the Kennedy’s control of the death-grip the Irish have had on Massachusetts politics is that in 1946, when the Kennedy family began their carefully calculated entry into politics by having Jack Kennedy run for the U.S. House, the Kennedys were very unpopular with the “better” Irish in Boston. The reason? Patriarch Joe Kennedy’s alleged illegal rum-running during Prohibition days, and his unsavory remarks in 1940 about “democracy being dead in England” when Britain was fighting for its life against German bombers during the Battle of Britain. He was U.S. Ambassador to Britain at the time, and that effectively ended his political career. But, Joe determined that if he could never be President of the United States that his naval veteran son Jack would be, and he devised an extremely clever way to insinuate the Kennedys into the good graces of the Boston Irish. Joe and his wife Rose hosted teas to introduce their handsome and eligible son Jack to the women of the city, specifically inviting the ladies and their daughters. Jack won easily, and the Kennedys were off and running).
Another extremely important factor in Teddy being returned to the Senate for term after term was the unholy alliance between the left-wing Harvard intellectual crowd, the labor unions, the homosexual activists, the educational elite, and the media. All of these people tend to define politics as the government doing things for the common man, or the “little people,” to put it in patrician Beacon Hill terminology. And Teddy Kennedy was the icon of this mindset in the Northeast, and certainly in the U.S. Senate. He didn’t just subscribe to this way of thinking – he embodied it. He totally believed it.
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