The Magazine


Not one, but two hagiographies of Edward Kennedy.

Mar 30, 2009, Vol. 14, No. 27 • By PHILIP TERZIAN
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Here is where the Globe's ingenuity is put to the test. Instead of recognizing that Kennedy's political future perished with Mary Jo Kopechne, and that's that, Last Lion argues that the death of his presidential ambitions "liberated" Kennedy to dominate the Senate--and by inference, his times.

This is complete nonsense.
Kennedy's rear-guard warfare against a resurgent conservatism in the 1980s and '90s--most notably his personal assault on Judge Robert Bork--was purely reactionary. There is no major legislation, certainly nothing resembling a political philosophy, associated with Kennedy's name. And for all his passion in repeating Theodore Sorensen's sonorous prose, his most famous pronouncement is his incoherent response to Roger Mudd's innocuous question, "Why do you want to be president?"

Philip Terzian is the literary editor of THE WEEKLY STANDARD.