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In the wake of yesterday's announcement that Sen Edward Kenney (D-Massachusetts) has a malignant brain tumor, the vast majority of the news coverage has seemed to be closer to a premature obituary. Which perhaps is appropriate, since it is unlikely that the nation will see anyone like him again; the combination of family history, political pedigree, enormous appetites (both positive and negative) and genuine goodwill toward him from both sides of the political aisle do seem like something from another era.

There will be much time to debate Kennedy's long-term impact on government, social policy and the nation's history. Included in that discussion, quite appropriately, will be consideration of the extent to which his personal failings – largely unmentioned in the news coverage yesterday, which also seems appropriate – diluted his impact and potential.

However, I have to say that I can remember like it was yesterday when Kennedy gave his concession speech at the 1980 Democratic convention, having been bested by incumbent President Jimmy Carter for the nomination. Regardless of how one feels about his politics, one can appreciate when words and intellect and emotion find confluence, which is what happened when Kennedy ended his speech thus:

"For me, a few hours ago, this campaign came to an end. For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die."

I got goose bumps then, and get them now.

KC's View: