Say what you will about Ted Kennedy. He was the last of a dynasty, he was the "lion of the senate", chappaquiddick, etc...
the fact is, he got more legislation passed than any of his brothers ever did.
I, like much of my generation, was raised to worship John and Bobby, but at the end of the day, they died before they ever got the change to make the difference they wanted. As a professor I had once stated, JFK never came close to LBJ when if comes to civil rights legislation. that's a fact. Even Bobby (my favorite of the bunch), never got the chance.
While Teddy didn't have the clime to have the same impact that his brothers dreamt of, he still accomplished more than they ever would. The guy reached colossal levels of influence (and I can complain as much as anyone the reasons that put him there), and he made the most of it. when he got sick a couple of years ago, everyone expected him to lie low and expect him to go gentle. But no, he decided instead to work through things. This isn't as common in the US Senate as you would think it is. So stop and give him a moment of your time. Believe me, regardless of your beliefs, he deserves it. I'm sure the next few days, he'll receive a lot of glad-handing, and her deserves it, but remember that he was more important to the Democratic party than anyone since Tip O'Neill. Which says far more than I can put into words than ever after just getting home from the bar. But if you care about bipartisanship, if you care about Irish-Americans, if you care about the little guy, shut up and respect for a minute.
He was always that great combination of the influence and te smarts/influence that we've sought in a leader, with the real background desired of a policy maker. He was never perfect, but always there for us over 37 years, and I like to think he was the one who made more of a difference than anyone else.
We like to think that the President is who gets things done. While he (so far) is who guides policy, it is the stalwarts in the Senate who really have a say. In that regard, there are few in US history who've had the impact of TK. He was there through the bulk of if, and though he wasn't there for everything I wish he was, he was still there. He is of that generation that made for the greater good. and I promise you that both sides will miss him.