Senator Kennedy died late last night. From his family:
“We’ve lost the irreplaceable center of our family and joyous light in our lives, but the inspiration of his faith, optimism, and perseverance will live on in our hearts forever.
“We thank everyone who gave him care and support over this last year, and everyone who stood with him for so many years in his tireless march for progress toward justice, fairness and opportunity for all.
“He loved this country and devoted his life to serving it.
“He always believed that our best days were still ahead, but it’s hard to imagine any of them without him.”
Bill by bill, provision by provision, he expanded government health support to millions of children and the elderly, helped millions more go to college, opened the immigration doors to millions of new Americans from continents other than Europe, and protected the civil rights bulwark of the ’60s through a long period of conservative domination….
Ted Kennedy was always more consistent than his brothers, a pure liberal who believed in the government’s obligation to help the less fortunate. While Jack Kennedy ran for president as a centrist, and Bobby followed a zigzag path from the anticommunist right to the antiwar left, Ted was always a fixed point on the political map.
While most of his colleagues’ eyes would glaze over at the details of spending bill, Kennedy could easily recite the difference between a formula that gave benefits to families up to 30 percent above the poverty level and one that gave benefits to those 40 percent above. He could say just how many families were in that extra sliver and envision the human beings behind the statistics.