August 26, 2009
Posted: 01:16 PM ET
By E.J. Dionne Jr. via The Washington Post
Ted Kennedy was treasured by liberals, loved by many of his conservative colleagues, revered by African Americans and Latinos, respected by hard-bitten political bosses, admired by students of the legislative process, and cherished by those who constituted the finest cadre of staff members ever assembled on Capitol Hill.
The Kennedy paradox is that he managed to be esteemed by almost everyone without ever becoming all things to all people. He stood for large purposes, unequivocally and unapologetically, and took hard stands. Yet he made it his business to get work done with anyone who would toil along with him. He was a friend, colleague and human being before he was an ideologue or partisan, even though he was a joyful liberal and an implacable Democrat.
He suffered profoundly, made large mistakes and was, to say the least, imperfect. But the suffering and the failures fed a humane humility that led him to reach out to others who fell, to empathize with those burdened by pain, to understand human folly and to appreciate the quest for redemption.
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