The six double-wide trailers were set up off of the main hall in Madison Square Garden, like a series of covered wagons on the western frontier. The arrangement said everything: The people inside this makeshift camp were hunkered down and under duress. It was the Democratic Convention, and inside the trailers, top staff to President Jimmy Carter were nervously tracking their support among convention delegates, minute by minute. Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts was trying to take the nomination from Carter in an open convention. It was the peak of a brutal fight inside the Democratic Party, one so bruising that the party has been careful to avoid a similar experience ever since.
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- Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate.
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- The Kennedy family is an American political family that has long been prominent in American politics , public service, entertainment and business.
Edward Moore Kennedy was the youngest of the four sons of the ferociously ambitious Joseph Patrick Kennedy, bootlegger, ambassador to the Court of St James and the founding father of a dynasty whose luck was not the equal of their fortune. After the deaths of his three older brothers he tried to pick up the family standard, but in spite of genuine political gifts and a spark of idealism that was somehow never quite extinguished, either by his family's arrogance or by a streak of coarse self-indulgence in his character, he was, by his own and his family's elevated standards, a failure.
But he never achieved the goal his father set for one son after another, to be elected president of the United States. His oldest brother, Joe, was shot down on a dangerous mission from East Anglia over Germany in His second brother, Jack, did become President, but was assassinated less than three years after his inauguration; and his third brother, Robert, was murdered in a Los Angeles hotel as he was leaving a rally to celebrate his victory in the California primary election, a victory that might well have made him president, too.
Ted, as he was known it was only his close family and his political enemies who called him by the childhood nickname "Teddy" , also came close to winning the presidency.
He would probably have been the Democratic candidate for president in had it not been for the worst of the several scandals that punctuated his life and clouded his reputation, the mysterious accident at Chappaquiddick in , which Kennedy survived, but in which a young woman was drowned. In , he did run in the primaries — and strongly — against Jimmy Carter, the incumbent president, only to lose the Democratic nomination after a bruising campaign in which the Chappaquiddick episode surfaced repeatedly.
In , when he was still strictly speaking under the minimum age of 30 laid down by the Constitution, Kennedy was elected to the Senate for the family's home state of Massachusetts in a bitter fight with Edward McCormack, an experienced scion of a rival Boston Irish political clan scion which gave the United States a Speaker of the House of Representatives in the s. In spite of all the scandals and his inability to fulfil his brilliant promise in presidential politics, Senator Kennedy was effective and respected in the Senate.
Though he never succeeded in rising to the top of the Senate hierarchy as majority leader he was defeated by Robert Byrd of West Virginia in , he was for many years chairman of the Senate's labour and public welfare committee, which had jurisdiction over health policy.
He used that position to good effect, just as he fought in later years for education reform. Bush's Iraq war.
Throughout the ups and downs, a constant of Kennedy's political career was his resilience. He might have been overweight, with a red face that betrayed his drinking. But to his great credit he never changed his political philosophy, even when the traditional liberal welfare policies to which he was committed were going out of fashion in the s and s.
Kennedy was born in and christened Edward Moore Kennedy, after Eddie Moore, one of his father's "rough and tumble but incredibly efficient" Boston Irish hangers-on. Friends and biographers have speculated that it must have been hard to grow up as the baby of the nine Kennedy children. Certainly he was pampered as the heir to great wealth. As the youngest male child of an intensely religious mother who was frequently abandoned for long periods by her husband, himself a notorious womaniser, young Teddy was in effect brought up by four women, his mother and his three surviving older sisters.
His eldest sister Katherine, Marchioness of Hartington, was killed in an air crash and another sister, Rosemary, was mentally deficient and confined to private nursing homes after a lobotomy insisted on by Ted's father.
Kennedy himself said that, "It was like having a whole army of mothers round me", and his mother confirmed in her memoirs that "he was my baby and I tried to keep him my baby". Although father and mother were scarcely on speaking terms after Joe Kennedy's affair with Gloria Swanson in the s, the father, too, undoubtedly encouraged his youngest son to feel that life would be made easier for him.
In , when Ted ran for the Senate, his elder brothers expressed some doubt about whether he was ready for such high office. Whatever the reason, a whiff of scandal hung around Ted from a fairly early age.
There was always a streak of dishonesty, and a dangerously quick fuse that could trigger off sudden, ugly violence. There was lifelong recklessness in the pursuit of whim or pleasure. And there was a certain arrogance, born of the certainty that he was not as other men, and that what Ted wants, Ted gets. These deep flaws of character were not the whole story of a complex character. But they were there, and he paid for them.
Six foot tall and weighing 15 stone, he was a useful football player and he hoped to make the university team at Harvard. But Harvard, anxious to show that it was not as other colleges that recruited giant dunces on football scholarships, insisted its players pass various academic requirements, including a foreign language.
Aware that he would fail his Spanish exam, Ted Kennedy paid a friend to take it for him. He was found out, and expelled. The first result was that he had to do military service, in which he did not shine: he failed to rise above private in two years.
Harvard readmitted him, but again he did something stupid. Playing rugby against a New York team, Kennedy three times lost his temper and got into fist-fights and was sent off the field. Next he tried to get into the Harvard law school and failed, so he went instead to the law school at the University of Virginia, then a relaxed place for equipping southern gentlemen to practice law in what were unreconstructed, not to say somnolent, agrarian societies.
Kennedy duly met the law school's modest standards of the time, after a career of riotous living and four arrests for reckless driving. I first met him in Palm Beach shortly after he had announced for his brother's old seat in the Senate representing Massachusetts, a seat which had been "kept warm" since Jack went to the White House by one of his old Harvard room-mates. He was newly married, and when the Kennedy yacht, the Honey Fitz, stopped at the dock to pick them up, he and his young wife Joan, he in blue seersucker, she in pink, were both shining with good looks, good health and good fortune.
Yet there was a darker side to this Massachusetts Irish Greek god. One summer when Ted was on a cruise from the family compound at Hyannis on Cape Cod, up to Maine, he was rowing ashore for supplies.
A yachtsman shouted some taunt. Ted stormed on board the yacht, threw the yachtsman overboard, and when his friends came on deck, he threw them into the sea too, not knowing or caring whether they could swim. In , campaigning for his second term in the Senate, he was badly injured in a light plane crash, in part because he was the only passenger on board who had not fastened his seat-belt. His spine was broken in six places, he broke two ribs and he spent six months in hospital.
Ted took the murder of his two brothers very personally. For one thing, he was very close to them both, though in slightly different ways. Later, the youngest Kennedy wondered whether he, too, whom the gods had blessed, might be destined to die young. Once, on a trip to Alaska, he had too much to drink and told his companions, "They're going to shoot my ass off the way they shot Bobby's. The syndrome came together in his destructive behaviour on the night of July , after he had competed in a sailing regatta on Martha's Vineyard, an event he had taken part in since he was a child.
Afterwards, attempts were made to portray his attendance as an act of noblesse oblige, as if the great senator condescended to reward junior helpers by visiting their party. Six attractive, young unmarried women had been assembled and the senator and three favoured male guests, including a cousin, were there with partying on their minds.
There was a certain amount of drinking before Kennedy left the party with a young woman called Mary Jo Kopechne, who had worked on his brother's campaign the previous year. All that is certain is that the next morning Miss Kopechne was found in the back of the senator's car, drowned and without her underwear. Senator Kennedy's story was that he had come off the road, failed to save Mary Jo, then swam the narrow channel and checked into a motel.
Whatever precisely happened that night, a number of facts, collectively deeply discreditable to Kennedy, are undisputed. He left the party, having drunk heavily, with one of the young women. She was drowned or perhaps asphyxiated in an air bubble in his car. He then failed to report what had happened for many hours. Only when the car and the body had been discovered did he report the accident. Thereupon the dean of the Yale Law School and other high-powered lawyers were summoned to help the senator extricate himself from his legal difficulties, and Kennedy aides spirited away the witnesses who had been at the party.
Kennedy did briefly appear in court to plead guilty to a misdemeanour charge of leaving the scene of an accident. For this offence he was duly sentenced, as his lawyers had arranged with the prosecution, to two months, suspended, in jail, and to the loss of his driving licence for one year.
He then retreated to the family compound at Hyannisport, where he read out on television a minute apologia. Yet the Chappaquiddick episode was disgraceful enough. A detail, the senator's inability to remember Mary Jo Kopechne's name, lingered in many minds.
His cool appearance in freshly pressed yachting gear on the Edgartown dock before he knew that the accident was known stuck in other craws. The efficient way in which the well-oiled Kennedy machine went to work, too, was indecorous. Then there was the senator's self-pity. The punishment, if not inflicted according to due process of law by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, was nevertheless a life sentence.
However hard he worked, however loyally he sought to defend his brother's liberal legacy in Congress, Chappaquiddick would never be entirely forgotten or forgiven. In a sense, it was the end of the Kennedy legend of invincibility and of style. Ted Kennedy had behaved in about as unstylish a way as could be imagined. And now he was to become the thing his family disdained above all things: a loser.
In , there was a brief flicker of the presidential flame. He had ruled himself out for the nomination, and the campaign in his absence turned into a deeply divisive contest between Senator George McGovern of South Dakota, representing the anti-Vietnam war insurgency, and senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota, champion of traditional Cold War liberalism.
McGovern won. But at the convention itself Kennedy had his moment of glory — a speech that, whether or not he had much to do with the writing of it, was a magnificent call to arms for the Democratic party.
As the election approached, with Jimmy Carter mired in failure and unpopularity, Kennedy once again pulled on his campaign armour. But at the very first hurdle he stumbled irretrievably. But when Mudd, as he could hardly have avoided doing, asked him about Chappaquiddick, Kennedy stuttered incoherently.
I've found that the conduct that Essentially his bid for the nomination ended at that moment. Kennedy was well beaten by Carter in New Hampshire, which ought to have been his own New England territory, partly because two national magazines ran investigative features about Chappaquiddick during the campaign. He recovered doggedly, pressing his glamorous family into service and winning the New York primary. But at the convention, the last nail was driven into his defeat when he failed to change the rule that forbade delegates elected with a commitment to Carter to change sides.
In his wife, Joan, who had herself become an alcoholic, divorced him. Kennedy drank heavily and pursued young women with an apparent disregard for either his reputation or theirs: it was not unusual for a big black limousine whose licence plate proclaimed that it belonged to the senior senator from Massachusetts to be parked outside a young woman's house all night.
In his reputation took a further knock when his nephew, William Kennedy Smith, was prosecuted for a rape in Palm Beach, Florida. Although Smith was acquitted, it suggested that Kennedy, at 59, was accompanying relatives half his age on expeditions to pick up young women in nightclubs. Yet if these accounts of his private life suggest he was a lost soul, that would give a very misleading impression.
He remained an assiduous and a surprisingly popular legislator. Some called him "the best politician in the family" — meaning that he was far better attuned than either his coolly ambitious brother Jack or his idealistic, aggressive brother Bob to the hail-fellow-well-met style of Capitol Hill, and to the hard-ball game of legislative negotiation and horse-trading.
He maintained an exceptionally able staff, and staunchly defended liberal causes, from health care and education to immigration. In he led the successful liberal attack on the Supreme Court nomination of the conservative Robert Bork. Bush's administration worked closely with a Republican President on education reform. But bipartisanship ended with the Iraq invasion, which Kennedy termed, "a fraud cooked up in Texas.
Senate Majority Whip — The American Conservative. September 24, Retrieved March 1, The Kennedy family is an American political family that has long been prominent in American politics , public service, entertainment and business. During their marriage, Joan gave birth to their three children, Kara, Ted Jr. At least one Kennedy family member served in federal elective office in every year from , when P.
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Ted Kennedy - Wikipedia
Kennedy was a brother of President John F. Kennedy and U. Attorney General and U. Senator Robert F. Kennedy —both victims of assassination—and was the father of Congressman Patrick J. After attending Harvard University and receiving his law degree from the University of Virginia , he began his career as an assistant district attorney in Suffolk County, Massachusetts.
Kennedy was 30 years old when he first entered the Senate following a November special election in Massachusetts to fill the vacant seat previously held by his brother John, who had taken office as the president.
The Chappaquiddick incident in resulted in the death of his automobile passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne , as well as physical injuries and mental anguish to Kennedy. He pleaded guilty to a charge of leaving the scene of an accident and later received a two-month suspended sentence. The incident and its aftermath hindered his chances of ever becoming president. His only attempt, in the election , resulted in a Democratic primary campaign loss to the incumbent president, Jimmy Carter.
Kennedy was known for his oratorical skills. His eulogy for his brother Robert and his rallying cry for modern American liberalism were among his best-known speeches. He became recognized as "The Lion of the Senate" through his long tenure and influence. Unabashedly liberal, Kennedy championed an interventionist government that emphasized economic and social justice , but he was also known for working with Republicans to find compromises.
Kennedy Serve America Act. During the s, he led several unsuccessful immigration reform efforts. Over the course of his Senate career, Kennedy made efforts to enact universal health care , which he called the "cause of my life. Kennedy died on August 25, of a malignant brain tumor , and was buried near his brothers John and Robert at Arlington National Cemetery. Edward Moore Kennedy was born on February 22, , at St. Margaret's Hospital in the Dorchester section of Boston , Massachusetts.
John asked to be the newborn's godfather, a request his parents honored, though they did not agree to his request to name the baby George Washington Kennedy Ted was born on President George Washington 's th birthday and instead named him after their father's assistant.
James's , in London, England. Between the ages of eight and sixteen, Ted suffered the traumas of Rosemary's failed lobotomy and the deaths of Joseph Jr. Fitzgerald , was the Mayor of Boston , a U. Congressman, and an early political and personal influence. Like his father and brothers before him, Ted graduated from Harvard College. In June , Kennedy enlisted in the United States Army and signed up for an optional four-year term that was shortened to the minimum of two years after his father intervened.
Kennedy re-entered Harvard in the summer of and improved his study habits. Due to his low grades, Kennedy was not accepted by Harvard Law School. In October early in his second year of law school , Kennedy met Joan Bennett at Manhattanville College ; they were introduced after a dedication speech for a gymnasium that his family had donated at the campus.
By the s, the marriage was in trouble due to Ted's infidelity and Joan's growing alcoholism. Kennedy was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar in Following his victory in the presidential election, John resigned from his seat as U. Senator from Massachusetts, but Ted was not eligible to fill the vacancy until his thirtieth birthday on February 22, In the U. Senate special election in Massachusetts , Kennedy initially faced a Democratic Party primary challenge from Edward J.
McCormack Jr. Attorney General , "Don't you think that Teddy is one Kennedy too many? Kennedy was sworn into the Senate on November 7, On November 22, , Kennedy was presiding over the Senate —a task given to junior members—when an aide rushed in to tell him that his brother, President John F.
Kennedy , had been shot. His brother Robert soon told him that the President was dead. On June 19, , Kennedy was a passenger in a private Aero Commander airplane that was flying in bad weather from Washington to Massachusetts. The plane crashed into an apple orchard in the western Massachusetts town of Southampton on the final approach to the Barnes Municipal Airport in Westfield. Senate election in Massachusetts ,  and he defeated his Republican opponent by a three-to-one margin.
Kennedy was walking with a cane when he returned to the Senate in January He also played a role in creation of the National Teachers Corps. Following in the Cold Warrior path of his fallen brother, Kennedy initially said he had "no reservations" about the expanding U. Ted initially advised his brother Robert against challenging the incumbent President Lyndon Johnson for the Democratic nomination in the presidential election.
My brother need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life; to be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it.
Those of us who loved him and who take him to his rest today, pray that what he was to us and what he wished for others will some day come to pass for all the world. As he said many times, in many parts of this nation, to those he touched and who sought to touch him: "Some men see things as they are and say why.
I dream things that never were and say why not. Daley and some other party factions feared that Hubert Humphrey could not unite the party, and so encouraged Ted Kennedy to make himself available for a draft. After the deaths of his brothers, Kennedy took on the role of a surrogate father for his 13 nephews and nieces.
Following Republican Richard Nixon 's victory in November, Kennedy was widely assumed to be the front-runner for the Democratic nomination. Long by a 31—26 margin to become Senate Majority Whip , the youngest person to attain that position.
The reluctance was in part due to the danger; Kennedy reportedly observed, "I know that I'm going to get my ass shot off one day, and I don't want to. He was hosting a party for the Boiler Room Girls , a group of young women who had worked on his brother Robert's ill-fated presidential campaign.
Driving a Oldsmobile Delmont 88 , he attempted to cross the Dike Bridge, which did not have a guardrail at that time. Kennedy lost control of his vehicle and crashed in the Poucha Pond inlet, which was a tidal channel on Chappaquiddick Island. Kennedy escaped from the overturned vehicle, and, by his description, dove below the surface seven or eight times, vainly attempting to reach and rescue Kopechne.
Ultimately, he swam to shore and left the scene, with Kopechne still trapped inside the vehicle. Kennedy did not report the accident to authorities until the next morning, by which time Kopechne's body had already been discovered. A week after the incident, Kennedy pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and was given a suspended sentence of two months in jail. In January , an inquest into Kopechne's death was held in Edgartown, Massachusetts.
Boyle, concluded that some aspects of Kennedy's story of that night were not true, and that negligent driving "appears to have contributed" to the death of Kopechne.
In February , President Nixon proposed health insurance reform—an employer mandate to offer private health insurance if employees volunteered to pay 25 percent of premiums, federalization of Medicaid for the poor with dependent minor children, and support for health maintenance organizations.
In October , Kennedy made his first speech about The Troubles in Northern Ireland : he said that "Ulster is becoming Britain's Vietnam", demanded that British troops leave the northern counties, called for a united Ireland ,  and declared that Ulster Unionists who could not accept this "should be given a decent opportunity to go back to Britain" a position he backed away from within a couple of years.
The death of Mary Jo Kopechne in the Chappaquiddick incident had greatly hindered Kennedy's future presidential prospects,  and shortly after the incident he declared that he would not be a candidate in the U. In , Kennedy's year-old son Edward Kennedy Jr. On several occasions, she entered facilities for treatment of alcoholism and emotional strain. In addition, she was arrested for drunk driving after a traffic accident. In the wake of the Watergate scandal , Kennedy pushed campaign finance reform ; he was a leading force behind passage of the Federal Election Campaign Act Amendments of , which set contribution limits and established public financing for presidential elections.
Kennedy had initially opposed busing schoolchildren across racial lines , but grew to support the practice as it became a focal point of civil rights efforts. Arthur Garrity ordered the Boston School Committee in to racially integrate Boston's public schools via busing, Kennedy made a surprise appearance at a September anti-busing rally in City Hall Plaza to express the need for peaceful dialogue and was met with extreme hostility.
Kennedy Federal Building and went so far as to push against one of its glass walls and break it. Kennedy was again much talked about as a contender in the U. He defeated a primary challenger who was angry at his support for school busing in Boston.
As a candidate, Carter had proposed health care reform that included key features of Kennedy's national health insurance bill, but in December , President Carter told Kennedy his bill must be changed to preserve a large role for private insurance companies, minimize federal spending precluding payroll tax financing , and be phased-in so as to not interfere with Carter's paramount domestic policy objective—balancing the federal budget.
In May , Kennedy proposed a new bipartisan universal national health insurance bill—choice of competing federally regulated private health insurance plans with no cost sharing financed by income-based premiums via an employer mandate and individual mandate, replacement of Medicaid by government payment of premiums to private insurers, and enhancement of Medicare by adding prescription drug coverage and eliminating premiums and cost sharing. Kennedy finally decided to seek the Democratic nomination in the presidential election by launching an unusual, insurgent campaign against the incumbent Carter.
A midsummer poll showed that Democrats preferred Kennedy over Carter by a 5-to-3 margin. Kennedy's campaign staff was disorganized and Kennedy was initially an ineffective campaigner. Patrick's Day Parade in Chicago, Kennedy had to wear a bullet-proof vest due to assassination threats, and hecklers yelled "Where's Mary Jo?
With little mathematical hope of winning the nomination and polls showing another likely defeat in the New York primary, Kennedy prepared to withdraw from the race. For me, a few hours ago, this campaign came to an end. For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.
The Madison Square Garden audience reacted with wild applause and demonstrations for half an hour. The election saw the Republicans capture not just the presidency but control of the Senate as well, and Kennedy was in the minority party for the first time in his career.
Kennedy did not dwell upon his presidential loss,  but instead reaffirmed his public commitment to American liberalism. In January , Ted and Joan Kennedy announced they were getting a divorce. Kennedy easily defeated Republican businessman Ray Shamie to win re-election in Senator John Tunney —a friend and former college roommate of Kennedy's—visited Moscow that month and conveyed a message from Kennedy to Andropov.
Kenneth Adelman, a deputy ambassador to the United Nations under Reagan, has asserted that the Reagan administration knew of back-channel communications between various senators and the Soviet Union and were unconcerned about the practice. Kennedy's staff drew up detailed plans for a candidacy in the presidential election that he considered, but with his family opposed and his realization that the Senate was a fully satisfying career, in late he decided not to run.
Although Kennedy was an accomplished legislator, his personal life was troubled during this time. After again considering a candidacy for the presidential election ,  in December Kennedy publicly cut short any talk that he might run.