Ted Kennedy: always a liberal

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By Bruce B. Brugmann

I liked Ted Kennedy for lots of reasons. But I think I liked him the most because, in carrying the Kennedy family torch for all these decades, he was the most liberal of the Kennedys and he never backed down from calling himself a liberal, even when the word went out of fashion and lots of "liberals" were ducking for cover. To me, a liberal is someone who tries to make things better.

Kennedy spent his Senate career working tirelessly and effectively to make things better, for all of us, and applying his liberal voice to a breathtaking range of issues from health care reform, to civil rights, to opposing the Gulf and Iraq wars, to backing Obama at the right moment.

If Kennedy had not been stricken in the middle of his greatest battlle and his greatest cause ("health care for all is the cause of my life"), I'm certain that single payer health care would not have been taken off the table so cravenly and there would at minimum be a real public option with real public support and without a lot of cowering Democrats and Republicans. And there would be real health care reform, perhaps a version of Medicare for all, with a liberal Ted Kennedy imprimatur. He was the one politician in all these years and all these battles who could have made it happen. Alas. Alas.

The Boston Phoenix, the liberal alternative newsweekly of Boston and New England, has covered the Kennedys and liberal Ted since Steve Mindich founded the paper in l966.

Click here to view its splendid coverage, updated regularly.