Obama's Kennedy Eulogy

by Michael Crowley | August 29, 2009

It was not one of his more epic speeches--to me Obama's remarks seemed intentionally understated. Obama knows he's capable of stealing any show, but this was a day for the family to shine (and Teddy, Jr. was the clear star). I also thought it immensely wise, if not terribly surprising, that he resisted flicking at the politics of health care reform. (While other Democrats, most surprisingly including HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, have been explicit about turning health care into a Kennedy crusade, the White House hasn't gone anywhere near that theme.)

This was my favorite part:

Through his own suffering, Ted Kennedy became more alive to the plight and suffering of others - the sick child who could not see a doctor; the young soldier sent to battle without armor; the citizen denied her rights because of what she looks like or who she loves or where she comes from. The landmark laws that he championed -- the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, immigration reform, children's health care, the Family and Medical Leave Act -all have a running thread. Ted Kennedy's life's work was not to champion those with wealth or power or special connections. It was to give a voice to those who were not heard; to add a rung to the ladder of opportunity; to make real the dream of our founding. He was given the gift of time that his brothers were not, and he used that gift to touch as many lives and right as many wrongs as the years would allow.

Source URL: http://www.newrepublic.com//blog/the-plank/obamas-kennedy-eulogy