Senator Edward Kennedy, liberal lion, lawmaker icon, passionate politician, touchstone in the country’s collective memory of the Kennedy years, has died of brain cancer. He was one of the most articulate and committed of contemporary legislators on health-care reform, a passion of his for decades based on political philosophy and personal experience. Video after the jump.
His input and influence, as well as his vote, on any health-reform legislation to emerge in the coming weeks will be especially missed. Immediate future plans to fill his seat in the U.S. Senate remain unclear.
Unless Massachusetts passes a quick amendment to its constitution, the successor to the late Ted Kennedy will be chosen in a special election held, at the soonest, 145 days from now. John Gizzi has the most optimistic Republican spin on the race, keying off of the Democratic primary that will pit most of the House delegation against each other: “If Democrats are going to wage a political holy war, whoever emerges as the nominee is unlikely to recover fully from the wounds inflicted in a primary for a special election a few months later.” The candidates he’s hearing floated: failed 2008 U.S. Senate nominee Jeff Beatty, former Lt. Gov Kerry Healy, former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan, Carruth Capital President Chris Egan, and former state GOP chairman Jim Rappaport.