We were told Ted Kennedy, who's battling advanced brain cancer, had mere weeks to live. We were told there'd be a macabre video salute to the man in lieu of an actual appearance in Denver. So when he actually showed up on stage at the DNC to deliver a genuinely rousing speech, well, it was an emotional moment. So emotional that the major tabloids of both New York and Boston could not come up with original headlines. The Post raves!
Sen. Ted Kennedy brought the Democratic faithful to cheers and tears last night as he emerged from a summer of treatment for brain cancer to vow that he'll be in Washington when a new president is sworn in.
And the Herald!
Bay State Sen. Edward M. Kennedy shook off the effects of cancer treatment and stood tall on the stage of the Democratic National Convention last night, declaring himself buoyed by a "new hope" for the nation and vowing to return to the Senate in January as thousands of delegates erupted in cheers and tears.
And most of the reviews were similarly ecstatic. It was an impressive performance. Kennedy seemed positively youthful, not like a man battling advanced brain cancer. And his speech was a welcome return to the stirring outward-looking rhetoric of yore, in an age in which most Democrats rely on personal tales of relatability and hardship ("I was born of a single mother and met an iron worker once" vs. "we're going to the fucking MOON"). Michelle was charming and capable, and she's smart as hell, but selling the rubes on the Democrats as the party of both the little guy and the party of grand ambition is more impressive than selling the people on the Obama Family as Just Like Us. When it looked, for a time, that Ted Kennedy might be our next president, Kennedy family gadfly Gore Vidal said, "every country should have at least one King Farouk." And that was, basically, the official line on Teddy for most of his political career-the least of the Kennedy brothers. The dumb one. But somehow, after his undeserved ascent to his Senate seat, the Chappaquiddick tragedy, and his failure to win the presidency, he's become, against the odds, a respected statesman. That the right wing attempts so often to make him either a cartoonish villain or a dismissive fat joke might be a sign that he's actually a threat to their world-view, as an old-school '60s Senate liberal. We don't care for the family or the idolatry, but Ted's won our respect for actually building an impressive resume as a legislator and a deal-maker who wins victories for liberalism in the most undemocratic and depressing political institution of our United States.