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So long, Teddy; it’s been a helluva ride.

It's nice to remember him as he was; young, drunk, and with his father's connections at his fingertips.

It's nice to remember him as he was; young, drunk, and with his father's connections at his fingertips.

Despite his personal quirks, the deposed Democratic senator from Massachusetts did something that most people don’t do — he made a difference. He reaffirmed my conviction that well-connected, affable mediocrity is the key to political success. Edward Moore Kennedy came from a powerful family. All three of his elder brothers — Joe, Jr., Jack, and Bobby — charged at life from the outset (even if they all ended up meeting with premature finales). It took their baby brother a while to catch up, and with a few hiccups along the way, but in the end he made good use of his pedigree and got things done. That’s more than can be said for our old pal W, but then, where was the disparity between the two of them? Was one man better than the other? Probably not by most measures, but one man — the New England Irishman — picked better people with which to surround himself. Kennedy’s staff was renowned for its competency (as was the cabinet of JFK, nepotism notwithstanding, and RFK’s campaign staff), and he must have listened to them, because he managed to stay in office for 46 years, regardless of the Chappaquiddick drama.

The man, the myth, the legend, the Kennedy that didn't die until much, much later.

The man, the myth, the legend, the Kennedy that didn't die until much, much later.

Depending upon your beliefs, Kennedy’s next chapter will either be spent in some intangible nether world or as a host for worms and vermin, but regardless of that, he is done answering for Mary Jo’s watery demise. And after all, lesser (and greater) men have wreaked more havoc upon peoples’ lives and deaths without so much as batting an eyelash. So today, in deference to his accomplishments and his love of drink, let’s all raise a glass to the genial senator who was simultaneously loved and despised by so many. A toast to the late Edward Kennedy.

It happened long ago, and we can finally put it to rest.

It happened long ago, and we can finally put it to rest.

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