I had originally planned to take the day off tiday; after all, it is my 60th brithday today, and a person deserves to rest when he reaches a milestone like that, right? But with the announcement yesterday of Senator Ted Kennedy’s grim diagnosis and then news today that he has been released from Massachusetts General Hospital, I felt I needed to make some comments about Senator Kennedy.
I’ve been a supporter and fan of the Kennedy family in politics since John Kennedy ran for President in 1960. I was in high school when he was assasinated. I did not campaign for Bobby Kennedy in the Democratic nominating campaign in 1968; instead, I worked on the Eugene McCarthy campaign. Had Bobby been the nominee in the general election, I would most definitely have supported him and campaigned for him. Unfortunately, Bobby was assasinated before the Democratic convention in Chicago that year. I have no doubt that Kennedy would have won the nomination and the general election had he not been killed.
Ted Kennedy, for a lot of very good reasons, decided long ago not to seek the White House. Instead, he took over his brother John’s seat in the Senate and worked hard to become one of the greatest Senators this country has seen. His legacy will far exceed anything that either John or Bobby has done.
I know that there is one thing left that Teddt wants to do – see a Democrat, spefically Barack Obama, elected President in November hopefully with a very powerful coattail that will give the Democrats all the votes they need in both the Senate and the House to repair the damage done the last eight years by the Republicans and the Bush administration. Given the nature of Kennedy’s diagnosis and the “long-term” prognosis, five years at the most. I have some suggestions for Senator Kennedy on what to do.
This is what I would do if I were him:
First of all, I would forget about radiation and/or chemotherapy. At his age, I feel the treatment would be far more devastating than the disease and would probably prevent him from taking any active role in the campaign leading up to the November election. Given Kennedy’s standing in the Democratic Party and the ascerbity of the primary campaign, he will be needed to unite the pary behind Obama, who will more than likely be the nominee. If I were Ted Kennedy, I would avoid those delibilating treatments and conserve my energy for the campaign.
By Massachusetts law, a special election has to be held, if I remember correctly, 145 to 160 days after an elective office is vacated. If I were Kennedy, I would resign my Senate seat on a date that would allow the governor of Massachusetts to schedule the special election to be part of the general election in November. That would also, I believe, allow his son Patrick, currently a member of the House from Connecticut to re-establish residency in Massachusetts and run for his father’s Senate seat. Patrick would most certainly carry on his father’s legacy in the Senate.
As all the news articles about Senator Kennedy have ponited out, this man has done so much for all Americans. He deserves a little time before his brain cancer destroys him to spend with his family and to let America show its thanks and gratitude for what he has done over the last 46 years in the Senate. Once the cancer has taken him, it will be too late.
Retire, Teddy. Get Obama elected. Then go home to Cape Cod and let America show you how much it loves you while you are still with us. It is time to pass the warrior’s role to a tounger generation. You’ve done more than enough and we want to be able to thank you properly.