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kennedy 肯尼迪家族介绍


August 27, 2009

EDITORIAL

Senator Edward Kennedy
Three decades ago, Senator Edward Moore Kennedy ruined his last hope to be elected to the White House when a televi

sion interviewer asked him why he wanted to be president. He could not articulate an answer, offering instead a rambling, empty response that persuaded his party that he may not really have wanted or been suited for the job that his brother John had held and to which his brother Robert had aspired. Yet as so often happened in an extraordinary life that careened from success to misfortune and scandal and back to success again, this bumbling moment worked to Mr. Kennedy’s advantage and, as it turned out, to the even greater advantage of the nation as a whole. Having failed in his insurgent challenge to President Jimmy Carter, Mr. Kennedy was finally free to focus with passion and political craft on his more natural calling as one of the master legislators and great reformers in the modern Senate. The record Mr. Kennedy leaves after 46 years can only be envied by his peers as they join the nation in mourning his passing after a 15-month fight against brain cancer — a record firmly anchored in Mr. Kennedy’s insistence that politics be grasped and administered through the prism of human needs. Together with a hard-won mastery of parliamentary intricacies, and a willingness to reach across party lines to win crucial votes, Mr. Kennedy’s unwavering taproot liberalism left a robust legacy: signature laws and reforms on civil rights, the judiciary, refugees, social welfare, foreign policy (he was one of 23 senators to vote against authorizing the Iraq invasion), voting rights, job training, public education and the minimum wage. Last year, in his bittersweet adieu before the Democratic convention, the senator stirred his party to act on what he called “the cause of my life” — quality health care as a fundamental right of American citizenship. The fate of Senator Kennedy’s cause remains in the hands of a conflicted Congress and President Obama, the Democratic candidate whom Mr. Kennedy dared to champion when other party leaders hesitated. And while his leadership will be missed in the intricate legislative warfare ahead, it would be a fitting tribute if his death could resolve for the better an issue too long in doubt. Mr. Kennedy’s life was burdened with personal tragedy, including the assassinations of two brothers, and personal embarrassment, mostly

self-inflicted. He was pronounced finished 40 years ago after Mary Jo Kopechne drowned in a car the senator drove off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island off Martha’s Vineyard. But Massachusetts voters stuck with him, and in the last 15 years Mr. Kennedy seemed to get a much firmer grip on his personal life, not least in an effort to set a better example as the patriarch of the Kennedy clan. “I recognize my own shortcomings,” he conceded in 1991, knowing that they will not be erased from the pages of history. But neither will his spirit, his devotion to helping Americans in need and his belief that politics, not always a savory calling, can make a real difference. His mantra, forged in tragedy, and expressed most eloquently to the Democratic National Convention when he abandoned his presidential quest in 1980, was simple and ennobling: “The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.” In his final speeches, he explicitly handed on this mantra to President Obama. This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: Correction: January 3, 2010 An article last Sunday about the death of Edward M. Kennedy in August misstated the length of his tenure in the Senate. He served 47 years, not 46 years. (The error appeared in Mr. Kennedy’s obituary and another article, about memories of the Senator, on Aug. 27, and also in an editorial that day. The error was repeated in an article on Aug. 28 about how the Senate had changed during the time he served.) The article also referred incorrectly to the assassination of his brother President John F. Kennedy. The president was assassinated in 1963, the year after Edward Kennedy was elected to the Senate — not the same year. This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: Correction: January 10, 2010 An article on Dec. 27 about the death of Edward M. Kennedy in August referred incorrectly to the assassination of his brother President John F. Kennedy, and a correction in this space last Sunday erroneously corrected the length of his tenure in the Senate. The president was assassinated in 1963, the year after Edward Kennedy was elected to the Senate — not the same year. And as the article correctly reported, Senator Kennedy served 46 years — not 47 as the correction said. (The correction also erred in stating that the length of tenure was incorrect in Mr. Kennedy’s obituary, in two other articles on Aug. 27 and Aug. 28 and in an editorial on Aug. 28. All four correctly reported the tenure as 46 years.)


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