Senator Kennedy was a fighting liberal; a passionate and exuberant lion to the very end — often among timid cubs. He will be remembered as the best and most effective Senator of the last century. Kennedy helped shape every major piece of legislation, with his powerful commitment to civil rights, labor rights, and women’s rights — always fighting for equality, always standing with the underdog, the poor, the most vulnerable, who he believed deserved lives of dignity.
The Nation, August 26
Unhappily, he mistook power for wisdom, and he very often left things worse than he had found them. He meddled in Northern Ireland to no good end, contributed mightily to the politicization of the federal courts, sought to regulate and restrict political speech, appeased the Soviets, contributed to the American defeat in Vietnam, and attempted to apply the Vietnam template to Iraq. A child of privilege, he worked energetically to deny school-choice scholarships to poor black children in Washington, D.C. His ideas on taxes, immigration, and social welfare were reliably counterproductive.
–National Review, August 27