Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Ted Kennedy – The Liberal Lion: Heart Breaking News

Ted Kennedy died just a few moments ago. I am deeply saddened by the loss and the passing of this amazing Senator and man.

Sen. Ted Kennedy died shortly before midnight Tuesday at his home in Hyannis Port, Mass., at age 77.

The man known as the “liberal lion of the Senate” had fought a more than year-long battle with brain cancer, and according to his son had lived longer with the disease than his doctors expected him to.

“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,” the Kennedy family said in a statement. “He loved this country and devoted his life to serving it.”

He will be missed.

That Senator Kennedy should die before his long held dream of health care reform became reality is even more tragic. But perhaps those who shared his passions will take courage from his example. As Senator Harry Reid has said.

“The liberal lion’s mighty roar may now fall silent, but his dream shall never die”  

President Obama said he was “heartbroken” by the news.

“An important chapter in our history has come to an end… Our country has lost a great leader, who picked up the torch of his fallen brothers and became the greatest United States senator of our time.”

Share your heartbreak, memories, laughter and tears below.  


  1. sricki

    Don’t know that I’ve ever cried over the death of a politician before. But… dunno… He never got to see healthcare reform passed… Very astute observation, Navy — is like Obama’s grandmother dying just before he was elected. We’ve got to push this thing through with the public option. For a thousand reasons — and Ted is one of them.

    Is just so odd. He has been a stable part of D.C. for as long as I have been alive. So few things feel truly stable — fixed — but he was one. And now he’s gone.

    And it makes me sick to think of the things the Right will be saying, the dreck that will come up on Faux News. And I swear to god if any of it is said in my presence, I am going to scream.  

  2. but so far the only thing they do is put up a banner when going to commercial.  Just a moment ago this was put up over two guys laughing over a joke one made about the other “coming out” – about as appropriate statement of the channel as can be made.  Is this a news channel at all?

    CNN on the other hand is using the majority of their time to cover it.

  3. fogiv

    …just before I went to bed.  After I had a second to process what I was reading on the crawler I reached for the phone to call my Dad, who had earlier in the week assured me nothing would stop Ted Kennedy –who he described as the ‘archetype for a modern Senator’– from getting meaningful healthcare reform passed.

    I ended up not dialing, knowing that Pop would be sound asleep.  When my phone rang early this morning, I knew instantly it was my father calling to share the sad news.  He began to sob audibly as he asked me to buy a copy of every different newspaper I could find, so that he could add them to the drawer where he maintains papers from significant events in his life, including one from the day my Grandfather was born, the assassinations of JFK, MLK, Bobby, and Medgar Evers, the moon landing, the papers that contain the birth announcements of my Brother and I, etc.

    Ted Kennedy’s mark on our world, on this nation, can never be accurately measured.  The dream lives on.

  4. NavyBlueWife

    My mom is 70, and she wrote me an email this morning:

    As you wake up, you will see the last of the Kennedy family has died.  It is a really sad event as the family was part of the political scene ever since the middle of my college years.  Our generation was so happy staying up all night in college watching Jack Kennedy become President…a young man we could relate to even though he was a wealthy person.  We had hopes and dreams also.  He began to work for the underdogs to have a better life along with his brother Robert and Martin Luther King, Jr.  Living those times were very much like today when there seems to be so much hate in the world.  The Civil Rights Law was passed after a lot of turmoil and the death of our President, and of course in 1965-66 school year, I was one of the first white teachers to volunteer to integrate a black school….the only white person there.  I never really felt afraid but your Dad was.  

    Then along came Teddy who has helped change so many things like Title 9 and other programs to help the poor, women, etc.  I know he had a lot of personal difficulties, but that goes to show he was human, and he really had a caring thought for the people who face many difficulties in the world.

    I don’t know what will happen to health care because it seems our Congress people have forgotten that the poor deserve the same as the rich.  This is a sad day, but somehow the country will survive.

    We just need more people who value the life of all Americans.  I only wish the best for your generation and that the world will turn around and become more peaceful for you.

  5. Jjc2008

    taught (retired except for subbing), in the shadow of Focus on the Family/Dobson and New Life Church (Haggard).  In the late 80s I was at a school that was in a middle class neighborhood, and as most areas here, mostly republican.  But the trend toward being a religious conservative was growing quickly.

    Anyway, one year, one of my sixth grade students had a rare form of cancer.  His name was Bill.  He was an only child.   His parents told me his future was “iffy” and they wanted him to go to school as much as possible because school enabled him to interact with kids, have outlets.  He was getting chemo and those weeks, he missed some school, or came but often took time in the office to rest.  He was a mature kid, as you can imagine, having faced a life/death situation so young.  

    Anyway in school we were just beginning the use of technology. I was into it.  I ran a tech fair.  That year, our very conservative district hired an African American superintendent.  Whenever schools did stuff, we always invited the super, the school board etc.  So this Dr. B came to our school, which happened to be near his first house (before he moved to the richer neighborhoods).  So Bill was helping me and Dr. B came in and I introduced Bill (who was bald from the chemo, and thing and obviously his illness was evident).  

    Anyway, Dr. B smiled and shook hands with Bill who said “I am so proud to me you Dr. B, and I am so proud our district finally hired a black superintendent. It’s about time.”  The super smiled, I was stunned for I discovered than in the midst of the usually conservative neighborhood, I had a liberal family.

    Later that year, Bill got awarded a “Make a wish” foundation trip.  He got to choose where to go.  Now most kids choose Disney World or something like it.  Not Bill.  He chose a visit to D.C and a chance to meet Ted Kennedy, partly because Ted was  one of his democratic  heroes,  and partly “because he has a son that has cancer.”

    So before he left Bill asked me if I had any messages for the Senator.  I asked him to tell Senator Kennedy to please support bills increasing funding for education.  Bill came back and brought me a copy of the Education Bill the Senator was working on, signed by Senator Kennedy saying, “Best wishes, Ms C, keep up the good work.”  

    Bill got to spend a few hours with Senator Kennedy in his office and give him questions.  Bill shared pictures and stories with our class and the other classes.  

    Sigh.  It was exciting for me as a teacher.

    I am thinking about Bill today.  His experimental treatment from a doctor who had worked in Africa on this unique cancer that seemed to target young boys, was successful.  Bill graduated high school but I lost touch with him after that.

  6. DTOzone

    including a rather hilarious encounter with him at the 2004 DNC that I would love to share later.

    But for me one of the most poignant memmories was his eulogy at Jackie’s funeral. I was living in England at the time and I remember watching it on the evening news.

    I remember his line;

    “Jackie was too young to be a widow in 1963 and she was too young to die now”

    If life was fair, Joe would never have been killed in the war, John never would’ve been killed in Dallas, Bobby never would have been killed at the Ambassador Hotel, Jackie would’ve survived her cancer, John John would’ve waited till morning to fly to Martha’s Vineyard and Teddy would be marching around the country demanding healthcare reform right now.  

  7. HappyinVT

    I so wanted him to live to see healthcare reform pass.

    But, politics and policy aside, I hope his family finds comfort and peace.  

  8. I don’t think Teddy would have ever become the man he did if he hadn’t had to live up to the legacy of his brothers. That was a heavy cross to bear, yet in the end, he proved worthy of the challenge.

    I was 16 when JFK was assassinated. His death was a shock to the nation and especially to those my age. It made many of us pay more attention to politics than we might have otherwise. Bobby’s campaign in 1968 energized the youth in this country even more. His death was a crushing blow to many of our hopes and dreams. I can’t even imagine what it did to Ted Kennedy’s spirits. If I felt crushed, how much worse must Teddy feel?

    Yet, like Bobby before him, Ted picked up the torch his brother passed him and continued the race.

    He stumbled a few times over the years, but never lost sight of what was important. Like his brothers, he believed in equality for all. He fought the good fight.

    The Kennedy brothers came from privilege, which made them beholden to no one. They were free to champion the downtrodden. That is exactly what all three of them did in their lives.

    I always thought Bobby had the potential to be the greatest of the Kennedy brothers. Yet, in the end, baby brother Teddy left the greatest legacy. I don’t know whether the country will ever see another like him.

    When Barack Obama became President many people voiced concern about his inexperience. I wasn’t too worried, because I knew he’d have the sage wisdom of Ted Kennedy to draw upon. That is no longer true and may be the biggest tragedy of all.

    Thank you, Senator Kennedy. May you rest in peace.

  9. If you are of my age, your life has been intertwined with the “Tragedy and Triumphs” of the Kennedy family. In 1964 when President Kennedy was assassinated, ALL AMERICA collectively grieved in front of the TV. It was our way to stay connected. For four days in awe we watched. Walter Cronkite was trusted to bring us the message. Today, I’m drawn back to a different TV. The coverage has changed. In 1964 TV was the messenger; today TV is the message. Senator Kennedy is being honored by his colleagues. Yet, each side of the media divide puts their own spin on his death, not for our benefit, but for the benefit of their ratings. Yes, I long for a more united America.

    I, too, long for a more United States of America.

  10. louisprandtl

    meaningful public option would be the last hurrah for the liberal Lion. The last roar of the liberal Lion would be celebrated forever.

    Goodbye and Goodnight Senator Ted Kennedy!

  11. NavyBlueWife

    Michelle and I were heartbroken to learn this morning of the death of our dear friend, Senator Ted Kennedy.

    For nearly five decades, virtually every major piece of legislation to advance the civil rights, health and economic well-being of the American people bore his name and resulted from his efforts.

    His ideas and ideals are stamped on scores of laws and reflected in millions of lives — in seniors who know new dignity; in families that know new opportunity; in children who know education’s promise; and in all who can pursue their dream in an America that is more equal and more just, including me.

    In the United States Senate, I can think of no one who engendered greater respect or affection from members of both sides of the aisle. His seriousness of purpose was perpetually matched by humility, warmth and good cheer. He battled passionately on the Senate floor for the causes that he held dear, and yet still maintained warm friendships across party lines. And that’s one reason he became not only one of the greatest senators of our time, but one of the most accomplished Americans ever to serve our democracy.

    I personally valued his wise counsel in the Senate, where, regardless of the swirl of events, he always had time for a new colleague. I cherished his confidence and momentous support in my race for the Presidency. And even as he waged a valiant struggle with a mortal illness, I’ve benefited as President from his encouragement and wisdom.

    His fight gave us the opportunity we were denied when his brothers John and Robert were taken from us: the blessing of time to say thank you and goodbye. The outpouring of love, gratitude and fond memories to which we’ve all borne witness is a testament to the way this singular figure in American history touched so many lives.

    For America, he was a defender of a dream. For his family, he was a guardian. Our hearts and prayers go out to them today — to his wonderful wife, Vicki, his children Ted Jr., Patrick and Kara, his grandchildren and his extended family.

    Today, our country mourns. We say goodbye to a friend and a true leader who challenged us all to live out our noblest values. And we give thanks for his memory, which inspires us still.


    President Barack Obama

Comments are closed.