An Era Passes

Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Watching Senator Kennedy perform his last ditch soliloquy yesterday, in full dudgeon, clearly playing to the Nan Aaron, Kate Michelman, Ellie Smeal, Ralph Neas set I was struck by the sadness of the occasion. His face was red, his words were hot. In his mind, his cause was just. But he was doomed to failure and he knew it.

Here was a man in his mid seventies. Thirty five years before, he was the young last son left to carry out the improbable dream of his ambitious father, an ex-bootlegger who devoted his considerable skill and fortune to elect his second son President. But in his youth, beset by tragedy, this elderly Senator had squandered his inheritance much like the prodigal son, and never realized his potential because of his responsibility for the death of a young female staffer.

But he was then forgiven by a generation of followers because of his eloquence, hard work and skill as a Senator, and his bonhommie.

Yesterday, he paid back those who forgave him, and it reminded me of an old song which was popular in his heyday:

Once upon a time there was a tavern
Where we used to raise a glass or two
Remember how we laughed away the hours
And dreamed of all the great things we would do?

Those were the days my friend
We thought they'd never end
We'd sing and dance forever and a day
We'd live the life we choose
We'd fight and never lose
For we were young and sure to have our way.
La la la la...Those were the days, oh yes those were the days

Then the busy years went rushing by us
We lost our starry notions on the way
If by chance I'd see you in the tavern
We'd smile at one another and we'd say

Those were the days my friend
We thought they'd never end
We'd sing and dance forever and a day
We'd live the life we choose
We'd fight and never lose
For we were young and sure to have our way.
La la la la...Those were the days, oh yes those were the days

Just tonight I stood before the tavern
Nothing seemed the way it used to be
In the glass I saw a strange reflection
Was that lonely woman really me

Those were the days my friend
We thought they'd never end
We'd sing and dance forever and a day
We'd live the life we choose
We'd fight and never lose
For we were young and sure to have our way.
La la la la...Those were the days, oh yes those were the days

Through the door there came familiar laughter
I saw your face and heard you call my name
Oh my friend we're older but no wiser
For in our hearts the dreams are still the same

Those were the days my friend
We thought they'd never end
We'd sing and dance forever and a day
We'd live the life we choose
We'd fight and never lose
For we were young and sure to have our way.
La la la la...Those were the days, oh yes, those were the days

And so they were.

19 comments:

Peter UK said...

Indeed,the end of an error.

Knucklehead said...

And good riddance.

Eric Blair said...

We hope.

RogerA said...

Jim--you do wax poetic at times! I do have a question for you as a member of the bar: I can't remember where I saw it, but there was a piece on some blog somewhere about the ABA exercising some angst about the way Justice Alito was treated in light of the ABA's well qualified ranking.

And it seems to me there is something in their angst--Should the ABA continue to produce such analyses and judgments about a candidates record if the entire tenor of opposition implies the ABA's analysis is bogus? At least, given the responses of the Democratic Senators to Justice Alito's ability and character, it would seem the Senator's think the ABA are a bunch of hacks.

Any insights?

terrye said...

One thing Fred Barnes said about Kennedy not so long ago struck me as strange coming from someone so different in his politics than Kennedy.

Barnes said that there was a time when Kennedy was a hard working Senator. Even when you don't like a guy there is something pathetic about seeing this.

It is like watching some old fighter way past his prime slugging it out with a younger stronger man. And getting creamed.

Pitiful.

Peter UK said...

Terrye,But Kennedy could retire.

Rick Ballard said...

Peter,

But if he retires he might turn to drink....

RogerA said...

Teddy has always been the politician--most people probably dont remember but the last president to really put forward a singler payer insurance plan (what would have been national health insurance) was none other than Richard Milhouse Nixon.

Guess which democratic senator opposed that plan? Yes--none other than Teddy Kennedy--

RogerA said...

oops--and make the Milhous not Milhouse

Buddy Larsen said...

Here's some more history: over 60% of democrats opposed the Civil Rights Act, over 90% of republicans supported it.

Buddy Larsen said...

RogerA--I've heard that question from time to time--if Alito's record justified the oppo's rhetoric, then where the hell was the oppo during Alito's career to-date?

Not a note, a memo, a remembered complaint--*anywhere* ?

RogerA said...

Buddy--I do recall seeing a blog entry that made a lot of sense--havent been able to bring it up by google--but the whole democratic senate approach really undercuts any legitimacy the ABA might have (OK OK--I KNOW thats an easy target)

vnjagvet said...

rogera:

I have been involved in the leadership of the ABA Litigation Section since 1990, after many years of my benign neglect.

From my experience, the lawyers who participate in the leadership of the ABA represent all points in the political spectrum, but currently are, like most large firm attorneys are in the left center of the spectrum. The younger they are, typically, the more left they lean.

Since the ABA leadership is heavily weighted in major lawfirms, they tend to be from major metro areas, with NYC, Chicago, DC, LA, SanF, Phoenix, Boston, Phila., Dallas and Houston predominating. Again this is blue state territory for the most part.

Nonetheless, because Alito was so well qualified, there was no whisper of controversy within the ABA in his being judged "well qualified" by the committee.

This made it problematic for the Dems on the Judiciary Committee, because several years ago, they chastized certain Republican Senators who were making noises that the ABA was just another lobbying group so far as judges are concerned and that it should no longer even be consulted for its opinion for SCOTUS nominees.

I think the ABA got the message and has been quite responsible in its Committee Reports since then, with no hint of ideological litmus test in its evaluations.

Sorry for the long winded answer.

terrye said...

rogera:

Yes, I remember something about that. It might have worked then, but who knows? Nixon also imposed price and wage freezes.

Times have changed.

Buddy Larsen said...

Here's another swan song: "It Was A Very Good Year", written by Ervin Drake, whose real name--kid you not--is Ervin Druckman. For present porpoises, pasted in farewell to the pond-famous currently feather-ruffled quack senator.

When I was seventeen
It was a very good year
It was a very good year for small town girls
And soft summer nights
We'd hide from the lights
On the village green
When I was seventeen

When I was twenty-one
It was a very good year
It was a very good year for city girls
Who lived up the stair
With all that perfumed hair
And it came undone
When I was twenty-one

When I was thirty-five
It was a very good year
It was a very good year for blue-blooded girls
Of independent means
We'd ride in limousines
And their chauffeurs would drive
When I was thirty-five

But now the days grow short
I'm in the autumn of my years
And I think of my life as vintage wine
From fine old kegs
From the brim to the dregs
And it poured sweet and clear
It was a very good year...

(back to me) Senator, please, will your next number ever be "Sounds of Silence" ?

terrye said...

buddy:

Many Republicans did support the Civil Rights Act, but Goldwater did not and so the GOP got a bad rap they really did not deserve.

I don't think Goldwater was a bigot, he just wanted a different approach.

Buddy Larsen said...

That song was written in 1961--obviously long before pepper spray and Mace came on the market--sheesh!

Buddy Larsen said...

Terrye--right--the same with the ERA. Cartersky tried to cast it as a vote 'for or against women'--when it was actually a vote for or against putting the entire nation into a hundred million tort actions and one giant bread-line.

RogerA said...

Jim--thanks--I know its easy to make jokes about lawyers (whats the dif between a dead skunk and a lawyer on the road?--Ans: there are skid marks in front of the skunk)

but as one of my lawyer buddies said, when you drop all pretenses about lawyers when you really need one.

I really do hope the ABA takes note of the position the Senate Democrats have put them in--it isnt pretty.

And no, your answer wasnt at all long winded. I think the ABA is genuinely doing the American people a service by analyzing the record of judicial nominees--too bad the Senators (of both parties) are trashing their efforts.